Social vs search for ecommerce acquisition
Search engine marketing is relied upon to some degree by nearly every ecommerce merchant. By default, ecommerce platforms like Shopify and WooCommerce are designed to be read by robots and found via search engines. Google's preferences for how sites should be structured standardize the way platforms deliver sites on the frontend.
It's tough to rank for common phrases and many smaller ecommerce merchants focus on long-tail keywords. These still generally take time to see results, and are only good for bringing in people already searching for a specific phrase.
On the other hand, social marketing provides more opportunities for discovery. Potential markets can be targeted via demographics, and new products can be made specifically with that audience in mind. Rather than waiting for users to search for a solution, this is a more active approach to developing an audience.
It's impossible to gauge the success of any ecommerce stores solely on one channel. Many sites with almost no search traffic drive enormous traffic, and sales, via social marketing channels. There are stores that dominate google product listing ads, and have nearly no social presence.
We've developed a project listing some of the top shopify stores, based upon social media metrics, as well as search traffic. Social media data from Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and TikTok is included for each site, while Alexa search traffic is also measured. Take a look at the early version of list now. More Shopify stats coming soon.