Marketing veterans have long understood social media’s place at the beginning of the sales cycle—brand awareness, consumer engagement, and possibly even consideration for the sales-oriented. (And for truly DR-focused clients, third-party integrations were already available to further access the funnel.)
But as the landscape evolved, social channels began challenging their place in the sales cycle, most notably with Pinterest’s buyable pins in 2015 and Instagram’s CTA testing this year (which led to a 45% increase in CTR). Social is beginning to feel lightyears away from the creative IKEA Instagram catalog of 2014, which was a true brand workaround to the platform’s limitations at the time.
Pinterest, for example, now represents 17% of social traffic to e-commerce sites, according to L2, and almost 75% of Pinterest users have purchased something they saw on the platform. Not to be outdone, Pinterest’s competitors are also continuing to evolve in the e-comm space, debuting new abilities to make products more shoppable and buyable. Here’s a brief overview of recent developments in the social space.
Image Source: Instagram
Instagram Adds Shoppable Post Feature
As mobile browsing becomes more dominant over desktop, making it easy for consumers to buy on mobile is critical. As such, one of the most exciting new developments is Instagram’s shoppable posts, which allow retailers to feature their products, with prices, in organic posts and allow users to click for more information or to go to the site for purchase. Shoppable posts won’t be a perfect fit for every retailer, since they require some tech buildouts and integrations. But clients who could benefit by making their products easier to buy and have high Instagram engagement could find tremendous value in the update.
Facebook Expands Ordering and Payment Capabilities
Facebook continues to strike agreements to make Messenger more useful. The inclusion of PayPal payments could be the tipping point needed for people to feel more comfortable conducting transactions with a chatbot. Previously consumers were able to use Visa or MasterCard debit cards to pay through Messenger, but the PayPal addition may add an additional layer of convenience and perceived security for holdouts.
Image Source: Facebook.
Similarly, Facebook is also rolling out the following abilities:
- Order food: Via Delivery.com or Slice, consumers can now place a restaurant order (delivery or pickup) by clicking the “Start Order” button on participating restaurants’ Facebook pages.
- Make an appointment: Book an appointment at spas or salons directly from businesses’ Facebook pages and receive confirmation via Messenger.
- Get a quote: Participating local businesses will feature the “Get a Quote” button at the top of their pages, which allows consumers to request pricing for services.
- Buy movie/event tickets: Consumers will be able to secure event tickets via Ticketmaster and Eventbrite directly from Event Pages on Facebook. Similarly, a partnership with Fandango will allow users to purchase movie tickets directly from the movie’s Facebook page (Fandango itself offers a similar Messenger option).
Bottom Line: Weigh Shoppable and Buyable Opportunities Carefully
Social platforms are on a tear to provide the most valuable bottom-of-the-funnel capabilities for advertisers as possible, but that doesn’t mean any of them is a good fit for your brand. Continue to evaluate financial and resource investments, technological requirements, long-term implications and expected return for each new opportunity that arises.