Facebook Commerce @ Catalyst EU Conference -live blogging May 17, 2011

May 17, 2011

ChannelAdvisor ChannelAdvisor By ChannelAdvisor

I’m live blogging at Catalyst EU and we’re excited to have a Facebook keynote.  These are the live blogging notes from that session.


Gavin Sathianathan is the EU Platform Partner Manager @ Facebook.

Gavin started with some impressive data:

  • Over 32m active users in the UK
  • Average minutes per user – 5hrs 33
  • Half of the users are on FB daily

The web is transitioning rapidly

  • Portals are down 21%
  • Search is up 1%
  • Social is up massively


Industries are being transformed by the power of social.  Gaming, government, entertainment, etc.

Spotify is a good example – my tracks are curated by my friends.

Couple of other examples:

  • Gaming – you used to have these big companies focused on technological solutions.  Facebook graphics are basic and not impressive, BUT by putting people at the centre of the experience, I see my friends, I interact with them more than the game.  Taking games back to social experiences.
  • Photo – You used to have snapfish, picasa, shutterfly.  Facebook had half and engineer add tagging and photos exploded on Facebook.

Gavin revealed four principals of social design:

  1. People first, content second
  2. Make sharing easy and fast
  3. A few can activate many
  4. Your friends are there

Social Commerce

In this section, Gavin went through lots of options available to retailers for leveraging  Facebook.


Shopping has always been social – Tupperware example.  When Gavin walks out of his office, he sees groups of girls going into topshop – we’ve lost some of that in today’s e-commerce 1.0.

Shopping is social – 64% of shoppers look for recommendations.  They want to get info from friends (90% of people trust friends vs. strangers).  They are 67% more likely to buy because of that.

Like button – 2m like buttons out there.  Gavin then walked through how the Like button works.  On average people have 130 friends, so the Like button allows you to publish to the ‘likers’ newsfeed which gives you a huge reach.

Like also adds the product to the Open Graph which can now give FB insight into which products are more popular amongst your friends.

Send button – allows a user to send it to friends privately (not on newsfeed) that replaces ’email to a friend’.

Post purchase sharing can increase conversions 2-3X vs. liking.

For every share @ Ticketmaster, they drive $5.30 in incremental sales.

You used to have a funnel and now you have a virtual loop.

Sponsored stories is designed to amplify these interactions.  You can take an organic newsfeed story and then the retailer can purchase it and turn it into an ad unit to keep it front and centre – this drives 4X the engagement because of the friend recommendation.

Only 5% of your friends see a newsfeed item because of the velocity.  Sponsored stories allow you to ‘pin’ that so that many more see it.  For example, someone checks into Starbucks.  That’s 500k fans, but when sponsored it’s open to 60m friends.

Facebook connect – allows you to ease registration and access the open graph for that person.

Shoedazzle – FB connect users are 50% more to purchase.

Facebook also offers Insights – merchant focused analytics to understand the impact of social activities across sites, apps and FB pages.

When you’ve used social plug-ins, FB insights can show you detail of what’s going on on your site.

Showed a retailer with 1868 like/share interactions that have been seen by 5m impressions which drove ~7000 clicks back to the site.

FB is focused on increasing all of these measures.

  • To drive more like/shares – make sure on all pages, put it high on page near compelling content, eliminate clutter.
  • To drive more sharing – make sure you have implemented the like button well
  • Referral traffic back to the site – use short copy when you surface the copy, when people like/comment, the algorithm will higlight it.

Gavin then highlighted the Levi Friend store.  Women over index on sharing (mens and womens jeans) – social gives you unique insights into how consumers engage with your product.

Another example, Buy.com’s shoptogether implementation – allows consumers to shop together replicating that ‘lets go to the mall’ experience.

Amazon.com – Showed Gavin’s Amazon store with FB connect and how it shows recos for friends and birthdays and what not.  Showing faces increases conversion 8-10X, so they worked with Amazon to show faces around recommended products.

New models of commerce – eBay has their group gifts offering that allows X people to split the cost of a gift across Facebook friends.

In conclusion – the social graph will result in new types of commerce that we haven’t seen before.

Five takeaways for retailers

  1. Add the Like and Share button – We are at the early days and Like is very important
  2. Incorporate open graph tags – Make sure you put products into the OG with metadata.
  3. Add a post-purchase sharing option – The biggest way to get consumers to generate sales.
  4. Track your social integrations – How are people recommending products, where are they being shared, who is coming back?  Who are the most influential?
  5. Measure and optimise using Insights



Q: What do you think about third parties developing store fronts on Facebook, what do you think? 

A: My personal view- we have a new platform for sharing and we haven’t really figured it out – what is conversational commerce? How do you add gaming and social? Yes we see FB page storefronts, we’ll see a lot of innovation.

Q:  Will FB Credits ever be used for non-digital goods?

A: FB Credits are a vehicle for digital goods, we’ve seen companies in the digital space use them to monetize all kinds of digital content (movies, ebooks, etc.). We don’t have plans to launch FB Credits in the physical space – we have a 30% business model that doesn’t work.  At this stage, no. (editorial note – he didn’t rule it out;-)

Now we are going into a panel…

SeekingAlpha Disclosure – I am long Google and Amazon.  Facebook is a speaker at our conference. eBay is an investor in ChannelAdvisor.