Retailers Improve Online Discoverability Despite Drop in Paid Social
E-commerce and direct-to-consumer (D-to-C) brands have invested millions in social media advertising to attract new customers. In fact, retailers spent a cool $154 million on Facebook and Twitter advertising in January 2020. Fast-forward to April, through a pandemic-induced economic downturn, and the same companies spent 23 percent less on social ads, according to Pathmatics.
Meanwhile, social media usage is at an all-time high, and the opportunity to gain new audiences is clear. The number of social media users globally has grown more than 8 percent to 3.8 billion since April 2019. However, with less social spend to promote online sales and drive revenue, retailers are seeking more efficient ways to remove friction points from the discovery process and create a personalized path to purchase.
Retailers have traditionally targeted and engaged shoppers organically on social media. Posting on Stories, for example, has been a great way to gain a larger social following, enable easier consumer shopping, build brand loyalty, and help with discovery. Brands use popular hashtags to gain new followers, and post on-brand, perfectly color-schemed creatives to encourage users to tag or DM the most aesthetically pleasing ones to their friends.
Stories can also help with discovery and simplify consumer purchasing. Brands can tag people and locations in hopes of appearing in other local stories, and retailers can use the “swipe up” feature to bring users directly to their online shop.
While organic social media marketing is critical to build brand presence, paid social ads have also become an integral part of a retail marketer’s toolbox as an effective way to drive visibility and customer conversion. In fact, 27 percent of internet users say they find new products through paid social ads. Furthermore, U.S. social network ad revenue is expected to increase to $50.86 million by 2021, a nearly 17 percent increase over forecasted 2020 growth.
However, with most social media budgets decreasing as a result of uncertain economic conditions, retailers will need to find other avenues to increase customer discoverability.
Retail’s Digital Filing Cabinet
Every second of the day, on average, 1,000 Instagram pics are posted, 9,000 tweets are sent, and 82,000 YouTube videos are watched, making it harder than ever before for retailers to be discovered by consumers online.
Retailers big and small typically keep social posts hyperfocused on one product or topic at a time. With only a few seconds to capture users’ attention, including too many links, stickers or words in their social posts will likely make them keep scrolling.
Retailers are now using tools to connect their audiences to their entire online ecosystem on one screen — like a digital filing cabinet that hosts all the important links you want existing or potential customers to visit, whether that’s a new blog, product, service, social page, news story, giveaway, or otherwise.
Retailers are using such tools to highlight their top products, activities, and content in a short, easy-to-read list for users. This is particularly useful in Stories, where retailers can neatly link to a newsletter signup page, their latest blog post, a webinar registration form, social pages, music, and much more.
Some platforms limit the functionality within Stories for certain user segments. For example, Instagram only allows users with a verified profile, or more than 10,000 followers, to use the swipe up function, which links to content. A social media bio tool is a great way for smaller retailers that don’t yet have large followings to still link to multiple pieces of content. We see many retail users saying or including a sticker in their stories to say "link in bio" or "check the bio link."
Take L’Oreal, for example, which wants you to try its new shades online, and promotes its signature program, Women of Worth, via a social media bio tool. Billabong, on the other hand, wants users to visit a local surf shop, shop its custom wetsuits, boardshorts, or even its Dr. Seuss collaboration men’s line.
Social Keeps Retail Connected
Social media is always evolving. Paid social gives brands a way to share timely updates with followers in addition to in-feed posts, and bio linking tools allow for an even simpler route from click to conversion.
Alex Zaccaria is co-founder and CEO of Linktree, a social media bio link tool that allows brands and influencers to share content and page links all on one personalized, easily customizable page.
Alex Zaccaria is co-founder and CEO of Linktree, a social media bio link tool that allows brands and influencers to share content and page links all on one personalized, easily-customizable page.
When Alex Zaccaria co-founded Linktree in 2016, he never guessed influential names like Gary Vaynerchuk and Chrissy Teigen would be among the 5 million brands, marketers, and creators using it to amplify their brand presence and connect followers to their entire online ecosystem within the fragmented social internet. What started as a fix to Instagram’s #linkinbio limitation has become one of social media’s most valuable tools.
Before Linktree, Alex also co-founded Australia’s leading music and entertainment digital agency, Bolster, where he works with musicians and brands like RedBull and YouTube Music. A budding entrepreneur, he recently launched an innovative content and publishing platform, LNWY.CO.