Facebook announced on Tuesday that it’s updating its Pages to offer brands enhanced call-to-action (CTA) buttons and improved layout. Now brands will be able to incorporate new CTA and messaging buttons to capture followers’ attention. Plus, Facebook is adding new sections such as “Shop” and “Services” sections that will help make Pages more organized on mobile devices.
What Brands Should Do
The social network company has been making strides in forging a more brand-friendly platform, and this update will no doubt make brand Pages more accessible on mobile devices. The inclusion of a Shop section would allow businesses to sell more of their products right from their Page, dovetailing nicely with the recent rise of social commerce, which retail and CPG brands should definitely pay special attention to.
Almost a year ago, Facebook entered the ecommerce space with a test run of adding “buy buttons” in its sponsored posts. Now, the social network seems ready to dive deeper into ecommerce by building out shops within Facebook Pages, essentially mini retail sites that will bring entire shopping experience from product discovery to checkout inside Facebook.
Social ecommerce has been gaining tremendous momentum lately, as major sites like Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube all jumping to launch their own respective versions of the “buy buttons.” Just yesterday, Google officially unveiled its “Purchase on Google” feature, which will add e-retail options to its mobile search ads. As all social media site rush to monetization, we expect to see this kind of ecommerce integration continues to improve.
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Following the roll-out of “buy buttons” last fall, Twitter continues to dive deeper into social ecommerce by testing a new feature that allows a “limited group of brand partners” to curate product pages and collections. The new pages will include related tweets and additional information about the products, as well as links to third-party destination sites that will help enable purchasing. Among early adopters, popular consumer electronics review site The Wirecutter stands out with a collection of travel gears. Other notable examples so far include a collection of Game of Thrones-related products, and a page of product recommendations from pop star Demi Lovato.
This new ad feature came right on the heels of Twitter’s announcement of its event-focused “Project Lightning” last week, and an underlying similarity between the two seems clear. Whereas the new “lighting” event page is looking to re-organize and curate disparate tweets to form real-time news coverage, this new “Product Page and Collection” feature aims to leverage editorial curating to create a browse-able shopping experience on Twitter. Whether or not this approach would actually further Twitter’s entry into ecommerce remains to be seen.
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Upholding the promise of expanding its platforms made at the Facebook F8 Conference (read event recap here) back in March, the social network has now officially added the first mobile game app on its Messenger platform app list, making “Doodle Draw Game” the first true game available since the platform launched in April. Messenger app has been logging a healthy growth rate, adding 100 million users in the last three months.
Meanwhile, Facebook is also accelerating the rollout of its in-stream “Buy Buttons”. Up until now, Facebook has only been testing the “Buy Button” with a few selected test merchants, but is now opening it up to any retailer on Shopify‘s ecommerce platform. The speed-up came just days after Pinterest unveiled the new “Buyable Pins”, and it almost seems like a reactionary move from Facebook to keep up with the race of social ecommerce.
Still, all things considered, Facebook is doing a great job, arguably the best among all social media platforms, at expanding its platforms with new features, be it in-line video player, Instant Articles, messaging apps, and games, all working to keep users inside its own cyber ecosystem and never need to leave.
It all started last summer with Facebook testing “buy buttons” in newsfeed ads, which Twitter quickly followed by rolling out its own “buy now buttons” in September. Neither really gained much traction in the following months, and the race towards social commerce dominance seemed to cool down a bit—until last month. During May, Mondelez International, Google Search, and YouTube all announced their plans to insert their own version of “buy buttons” into their respective digital ad products.
Flash forward to today, both Pinterest and Instagram are making a big push into social ecommerce. Just one day after Amazon “ripped off” its visual layout for its new product curation page Stream, Pinterest has fought right back with “Buyable Pins”. Partnered with Shopify and Stripe, Pinterest will soon let its app users to browse products and make purchases with a few clicks. Not to be outdone, Instagram is also beefing up its ad tools with the addition of “Shop Now” buttons, along with buttons for app installs and sign-ups. Instagram’s API for ad campaign management is also updated to add “interest and demographic targeting” to make it more appealing to marketers and brands alike.
We have long expected social networks like Instagram and Pinterest to enter the commerce market directly, instead of just driving traffic to retailers’ websites. Now that Facebook seems finally ready to scale up the ad offerings on Instagram, as does Google on its search platform and YouTube, brands need to figure out the platform(s) that best suits their needs among an increasing number of viable platforms. Brands should also start developing strategies for social ecommerce in order to translate the convenience of “buy buttons” and the network effect on social platforms into actual sales. And although it’s in its early stages, social commerce will be an important aspect of attribution, finally allowing brands understand how their marketing converts to sales.
Editor’s note: This marks the first entry of our new publishing series “Partner Spotlight”, where we profile a startup that the lab has been closely working with. Stay tuned for more weekly updates.
Social commerce provider Soldsie has been in the news recently for all the right reasons. First, they raised a new round of funding from leading VC’s, then they forged a partnership with eBay backed e-com provider Magento. We’ve been monitoring Soldsie closely since 2013 and it’s time for their close-up.
What is social selling?
The concept is as simple as it sounds: it brings commerce to social media platforms. All social media are jumping on this: Twitter is teaming up with Amazon while Pinterest is using Browsy to make its platform shoppable. In Soldsie’s case, this means Facebook and Instagram, with rumors of Pinterest support swirling. Social selling is increasingly appealing today because search as a discovery tool is declining while social is on the rise. For e-commerce companies who have primarily relied on traditional search to drive sales, this shift is troubling.
How does Soldsie work?
Soldsie powers e-commerce on Facebook and Instagram using comments. Users who register with Soldsie can then add products to their Soldsie shopping cart by commenting “Sold” or other branded terms. Users then receive a confirmation email that links them to a checkout process to purchase the products they selected. Is it an ideal frictionless in-stream payment experience? Not quite, but it’s good start.
Is social selling the future of e-commerce?
Media publishers have already acknowledged and taken advantage of the power of social to drive eyeballs (see BuzzFeed), and we’re betting e-commerce companies are not far behind. That positions Soldsie and other competitors in the social selling space on a path to have a positive outcome. Influencer marketing, make way for influencer commerce: friends are becoming store fronts!
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