The Future of Social Commerce
Jan 26 2021
Social channels have become quite buzzworthy as recent developments have further shopified a number of these channels. Facebook launched Facebook Shops; Instagram introduced an entire ecommerce marketplace; and Snapchat further enabled brands with dynamic ads and brand profiles. The major social apps are becoming commerce hubs through shoppable features and virtual storefronts hosted right on the app. But should brands go all in on social commerce in 2021?
Even with all of these developments, social commerce isn’t going to revolutionize commerce in one fell swoop. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and Instagram Shops won’t take over Amazon instantly either. But the changes to each platform, who’s using them, and commercialization opportunities for brands should force the needle in that direction to some extent this year.
Facebook & Instagram Shops
Facebook and Facebook-owned Instagram have been leading the charge in commercializing social apps recently. Facebook Marketplace has been a success for years, and Facebook recently launched Facebook Shops and Instagram Shops as well. These enable brands to create a virtual storefront directly in the app. Additionally, Instagram has redesigned their entire experience to promote shopping capabilities, with the shopping page button taking the old notification page space.
About 80% of Instagram users follow a brand on the platform and about 90 million small businesses use Facebook’s offerings. That’s an enormous audience to reach through both apps, and brands can take advantage to reach their customers. The combination of virtual shops and being able to offer a direct path to purchase all within the app streamlines the process and increases the ease of purchase.
Brand Presence on Snapchat
Snapchat has also enabled brands with more commercialization opportunities in their app. Dynamic ads, VR and AR cameras, and brand profiles are all now being offered on the platform. With dynamic ads, brands can offer personalized imagery or messaging by using consumer behavior data. VR and AR can enable users to try on apparel or see how certain products would look in their homes. Brand profiles also offer a permanent stay on Snapchat’s platform.
These new offerings are premium opportunities for brands to commercialize on Snapchat. Advertisers are now armed with more social ads options that are typically more affordable and face less competition than on other social platforms.
Shifting Strategies on Social
In 2021, these changes will certainly impact the strategy for advertisers and marketers. Because of the pandemic, 22% of consumers are more interested in shopping on social media than before. People are not only becoming more accustomed to shopping online, but social media is playing a larger role in the buyer’s path to purchase. If anything, it restates the need to continue viewing social media as a strategy for the entirety of the funnel.
Social has traditionally been a top of the funnel strategy: advertise your products on social and they’ll convert on other channels. This is now changing rapidly. More and more people are converting while scrolling on social media so advertisers must consider bottom of the funnel strategies for channels like Instagram and Facebook, too.
Advertisers should focus even more money and time on social media in 2021. Social’s prominence in the commerce journey will continue to grow, and as consumers increase their shopping on social media apps, the role of advertising will grow alongside it. The strongest brands will develop a social ad strategy that focuses on every stage from discovery to conversion.