The global pandemic, and the lockdowns and social distancing rules that have come with it, has drastically changed the way many brands need to do business. Even with lockdown restrictions lifting in some places, the limitations that remain in place when it comes to businesses and movement, and modified consumer habits, make online the number one place to reach customers.
In response to these rapidly changing realities, and to help out businesses who may be struggling to reach their customers, social networks have been rapidly rolling out new social commerce features on their platforms.
Here’s a run down of some of the latest social commerce features that have been introduced across networks—and what they might mean in the longer term for advertisers on social.
Facebook & Instagram
Last week, Facebook announced new tools to bring more businesses online with e-commerce features. The biggest new feature launch is Shops: digital storefronts businesses can set up for free on Facebook and Instagram. Shops allow users to easily browse a business’s products, and are designed to turn both Facebook and Instagram into shopping destinations. Businesses will also be able to run ads for their shops, helping boost visibility.
They were also designed with the specific challenges of the pandemic in mind. “If you can’t physically open your store or restaurant, you can still take orders online and ship them to people,” said Mark Zuckerberg in a live stream.
Payment in Facebook Shops is easy: users’ payment information can be stored to make for a more seamless shopping experience. Direct pay on the platform also has some interesting implications for advertisers. Letting users pay directly on Facebook could improve ad targeting, since it gives the platform direct access to shopping data. Having this information will help Facebook’s algorithms better understand the products users are interested in, all while improving the measurement of ad efficiency with clear data on which ads lead to purchase.
In April, Pinterest announced a series of new shopping features to help users discover brands and to help businesses reach their customers on the platform.
SHOP FROM A BOARD
For home decor and fashion boards, Pinners will now have access to a Shop tab that is like a personalized shopping list based on the boards they’ve created. From there, they can see what’s in stock, making it simple to shop based on the looks they’re creating on their boards.
SHOP FROM SEARCH
Now Pinterest has a Shop tab directly on search. This makes it even easier to shop the kinds of items they’re searching for on the platform. Pinterest has also added price and brand filters.
SHOP FROM PINS
Pinterest has made some updates that make it even easier to shop from a Pin directly. Users can simply click “shop similar” to see related in-stock products.
Previous to these newest features, Pinterest recently launched “Verified Merchant” program: a blue check mark available to retailers who have met Pinterest guidelines for a trusted experience.
All of these new features make for a more seamless e-commerce experience for Pinterest users. And the more users shop on the platform, the more interesting it is for advertisers. First, like we mentioned above for Facebook, more shopping means better targeting. Second, being able to reach your customers with ads in the same place they’re shopping has the potential to amplify the power of ads on the platform.
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