The 'Shoppable' Social Opportunity
Global social media use has exploded during the pandemic, with platforms like TikTok (38 percent growth from 2019-2021, according to Statista) and Pinterest (32 percent growth) leading the way. People are using social media to engage with friends and family, as well as to learn about brands, products and services. In fact, social media is on the rise as a preferred way to begin the purchase journey, rivaling other offline and online channels — even your native website — especially for Gen Z. The rising openness to buy from social platforms drove the value of global social commerce sales to $732 billion in 2021, and is expected to reach $2.9 trillion by 2026 (Statista).
How can brands embrace this trend and convert consumer intent on social media into sales? Many brands are leveraging “shoppable” social media opportunities. These social experiences help consumers shop by highlighting — within ad units — information they need for purchase decisions, such as price or stock availability.
Shoppable social provides a seamless, cohesive experience and pathway to buy, from off-site to on-site. It shortens the purchase journey by giving consumers what they need and want before they even make it to your website. Furthermore, in combination with targeting abilities on social platforms, brands can customize shoppable experiences during certain moments, especially when the shopper is close to or ready to buy.
From Instagram Shopping tags to Facebook Dynamic Ads, to TikTok, Twitter and Pinterest Shopping, brands now have many opportunities to transform their social campaigns into engaging experiences.
Recent integration between commerce technology (Salesforce, Shopify) and social platforms makes shoppable social planning, buying and optimization more seamless for brands. For instance, Salesforce recently announced that its Commerce Cloud users can now set up and launch TikTok ads directly. Brands can seamlessly combine customer audience segments (unknown, known, converted, loyal) from the Salesforce Marketing Cloud Customer Data Platform with Commerce Cloud to activate TikTok advertising experiences to shoppers within stages of the purchase journey.
Commerce Cloud also integrates with Instagram Shopping, enabling brands to upload product catalogs, tagged with information like price, to Instagram ads and Facebook Dynamic Ads, enabling retargeting to consumers who engaged with your brand on your website. Re-engaging these prospects with more shoppable experiences could lead them to complete a purchase, buy again or leave a review for others. Similarly, Shopify integrates with Instagram and Facebook, as well as a recently launched TikTok integration, helping brands create a more seamless experience from TikTok ads to native site checkout.
As back-to-school and holiday 2022 quickly approach, brands should make social advertising more shoppable. Ensure your ad units showcase information like price, as well as how to buy, shortening the number of clicks it takes for shoppers to land on your checkout page. Leverage your existing technology, whether Salesforce or Shopify, coupled with integration with social platforms, to activate shoppable experiences. Focus on understanding where audiences are in the shopping journey, from top-of-funnel to conversion, to better customize and personalize shoppable social ads to their exact needs. And never stop testing and optimizing on-site conversion experiences to ensure that you’re getting the highest return from your investment in paid social.
“Seamless” is the overall theme for shoppable social media. Shoppers want a more seamless experience from off-site social to native site purchase, and are more likely to convert when they get the information they need within ad units. In response, through integration and connectivity, the commerce platforms are enabling brands to more seamlessly activate shoppable social experiences. From technology to media, brands now have more opportunities than ever to make their social media more shoppable, increasing return on investment and boosting performance.
Dan Malachowski is the vice president of performance at Astound Commerce, a digital commerce agency.