Recent figures show that worldwide social media users exceeded 2 billion last year – that’s roughly a third of the world’s population. While social sites were historically a place to catch up with friends and share news and pictures, the landscape is rapidly shifting towards e-commerce. In the push to monetize their sites, social networks now offer retailers more advertising opportunities than ever before. They’re also busy testing out buy buttons to reduce sales friction even further for users.
This emerging trend offers e-retailers a huge opportunity to boost their bottom line, so it’s essential to keep up with all the latest social developments. Here’s a quick rundown of the latest social trends retailers should know.
Facebook continues to dominate the global social media landscape, with the network reaching a milestone of 1 billion users accessing the social network in one day a few weeks ago. The platform recently introduced dynamic product ads in a bid to increase revenue. These retargeting ads can help you promote your products to Facebook users, by targeting your shoppers based on their behavior on your website.
Retargeting ads appear directly in the news feeds of shoppers who recently viewed a product listing on your site — or placed the order but abandoned the purchase. Ads can also be used to target shoppers who bought a particular product and so may be on the market for similar or complementary products. Facebook also recently rolled out a new buy button on desktop and mobile to a larger number of retailers. The buy button can show up in Facebook page posts and promoted post ads.
Pinterest has long looked like a natural fit for expansion into e-commerce. A new Pinterest survey found that 87% of users make purchasing decisions based on what they’ve discovered on the site.
Pinterest is where users can upload, save, sort and manage their images — called pins — through virtual collections termed boards. Users can create wish lists and find inspiration from others. ‘Rich pins’ are pins that allow you to include further product information on the pin itself. The extra detail and accuracy allow you to make your items stand out from other retailers. You can also alert users if a product they’ve pinned goes down in price.
‘Promoted pins’ allow you to promote specific pins to a targeted audience so they show up in relevant search results and in users’ home feeds. You pay for each engagement — e.g., when someone clicks on the ad to see it close up, if they repin it, or if they click through to your site. Pinterest reported that initial research showed that advertisers experienced a 30% increase in earned media from their promoted pins campaigns.
Pinterest also recently rolled out their ‘buyable pins’ in the US, which we caught a first glimpse of. These pins allow browsers to make purchases without having to leave the site and they will appear on home feeds, on boards and in search results.
Twitter is still popular despite the rise in new media sites. It claims 316 million monthly active users with 500 million tweets sent per day. Twitter’s new buy button launched in September 2014 to a select number of retailers. If the test is a success, a rollout could see Twitter becoming a big e-commerce player of the future.
Current ways to advertise on Twitter include using Product Cards that attach to tweets to showcase your products with an image and description plus a few key product details. They can be especially helpful in driving traffic to a website. Amazon has taken a different route by partnering with Twitter to allow customers to seamlessly add products to their Amazon cart without ever leaving the Twitter platform. AmazonCart is another relatively new development that allows consumers to use the #AmazonCart hashtag in part of a reply to product tweets. This then automatically adds the product to the user’s cart to purchase later at Amazon.co.uk.
What Else to Consider
Emerging social sites to be aware of include Wanelo, Polyvore and Houzz. Wanelo is essentially a digital shopping mall, which features over 550,000 stores where visitors can follow, search for and purchase products. Houzz is a platform catering to the home design and renovation market, while Polyvore is a fashion-based platform that also focuses on interior design and encourages users to create and share product-image collages with each other. With sales revenues topping $66.75, Polyvore is currently the most lucrative social site for sales.
We hope you found this social media ‘catch-up’ worthwhile. We’re constantly scanning the marketplace for the latest developments, so check back soon for more social media updates.