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It's Twitter vs. Facebook in the Battle of the Daily Deals

  |  October 4, 2011   |  Comments

Why Twitter could yield better results for retailers looking to communicate daily deals, even with a smaller audience.

Offering a "deal of the day" is a very, very long-standing convention to drive consumer interest and a call to action to visit one's store and/or site. It's a blunt instrument to drive traffic shaped by the idea that once a consumer is engaged, one could showcase a broader offering and drive additional sales beyond just the heavily discounted item. Deals work to generate revenue and liquidate product in the short term. Deal of the day offers have exploded with the help of new models (e.g., LivingSocial, One Kings Lane, and Google offers) and the distribution power of social networks.

In February, I wrote a piece entitled "Facebook: The Case for Commerce Gets Stronger," which made the case that Facebook has become a meaningful source of referral traffic for e-commerce, as evidenced by Amazon securing 7.7 percent of its traffic in Q4 2010 from Facebook. A meaningful percent of that Facebook referral traffic was realized from click-throughs on daily deals posted on the fan page, and pushed to the stream. Consumers were "liking" brands to get access to deals.

At the same time, Twitter was growing as a consumer favorite for accessing deals. From #Deals to @googleoffers, @Amazondeals.com, and @TargetDailyDeals, consumers are following in big numbers.


Amazon now has close to 250,000 people getting the deal of the day in its Twitter stream.


Target, not far behind, has close to 200,000.


While the audience on Twitter is still much smaller than the audience on Facebook, I would argue that Twitter will still yield better results for retailers looking to communicate daily deals. Here's why:

  • Making it into the Top Stories stream is essential for garnering consumer attention for a daily deal. If EdgeRank (the Facebook algorithm used to determine the relevancy of updates for Top Stories) doesn't push your deal to the Top Stories feed, consumers are likely to miss it. And, with the Facebook changes announced at f8 two weeks ago, it may become increasingly difficult to make it into the Top Stories stream if a consumer has never clicked through on one of your updates in the past, which means you'll miss out on those valuable click-throughs and referral traffic.
  • Unlike Facebook, Twitter pushes all content to the stream and allows consumers to follow only what is of interest to them. Good examples are multiple Amazon Twitter pages: Amazon, Amazon Deals, Amazon MP3. And multiple LivingSocial pages that target locally, like LivingSocialSF.



  1. Just do it! Consumers are looking for deals. Use social networks to distribute your deal of the day message. You will realize referral traffic for relatively low investment.
  2. It's an and not an or. Continue to post daily deals to both Facebook and Twitter, as well as other social networks important to your business.
  3. It's early days in social commerce. Measure your results. Measure the referral traffic coming through the various social networks. Measure the conversion of that traffic. Understand if the customers are first-time or repeat customers. If a first-time customer, tag the acquisition source as that social network. If the customer has purchased before, make sure you capture and store the source code for the purchase as a social network. Over the next six months, measure the value of that customer sourced through a social program, and one that has a purchased via a social program.


Cathy Halligan

Cathy has over 20 years of experience in both multichannel and online retail and a deep understanding of consumer needs and goals. Cathy's proven track record spans a range of industries and companies, from start-up ventures to multibillion dollar operations. Cathy is currently a Board Member at Ulta Beauty (ULTA), the largest beauty retailer that provides one-stop shopping for prestige, mass, and salon products and salon services in the United States. She has served as SVP, marketing & sales at PowerReviews, the world's most widely deployed social commerce platform, where she was responsible for overseeing the company's rapid customer and revenue growth. Prior to PowerReviews, Cathy held executive-level positions at Walmart: chief marketing officer Walmart.com, vice president of market development, global e-commerce, and vice president of product management and multichannel integration. Ms. Halligan has also held executive positions with leading retailers Williams-Sonoma, Gymboree, and Blue Nile, and was an associate partner at Prophet, a leading management consulting firm. She started her career as a marketing coordinator at Lands' End.

For real-time social commerce news and updates, follow Cathy on Twitter at @CathyHalligan.

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