In order to promote their products and make sales online, savvy retailers do various things: they have powerful ecommerce websites, they make use of channels such as Google Shopping and price comparison sites, and they perhaps dabble in affiliate marketing and consumer retargeting.
But it is becoming easier to facilitate digital commerce anywhere the consumer interacts with your brand: within editorial content, video and social media channels. Making smart use of these touch-points doesn’t just offer new ways to reach consumers, it provides marketers with new methods to measure interactions, gather data for consumer insights, and better prove ROI for specific activities.
The most recent example of connecting content and commerce has been Pinterest’s announcement that it was releasing ‘Buyable Pins’, allowing selected retailers in the US to convert fans of their products into customers in just one click.
As a channel known for inspiring purchases, and a channel used by brands already to reach highly engaged potential consumers through visual, aspirational content, Pinterest’s move to ecommerce has been welcomed by brands and users alike.
Famously difficult for brands to monetise, Instagram now offers solutions for advertisers and - excitingly - the ability to add URLs to carousel ads within a user’s news feed. This is a big step and one we covered recently…
Twitter & Facebook?
Next up, surely, will be the long awaited launches of direct commerce in Twitter and Facebook. With 302 million users on Twitter and 1.44 billion on Facebook, many searching for products and being recommended items by peers, it’s really a matter of time until users can simply search for a product and buy with one push of a button, with brands seeing enormous returns from such opportunities. See our recent post on Facebook product ads.
Blogs & Editorial
If you haven’t heard of ‘shoppable content’... it does what it says on the tin. Asos, Coggles and Mr Porter provide great examples of how to bring together light, soft-touch content - from advice pieces to interviews with style leaders, in magazine-style blogs - with actual products people can buy.
Indeed, many brands are now automating the process, so that every time a new blog is posted, relevant product URLs are added to the copy to encourage a seamless transition from content to basket.
Meanwhile, publishers are struggling to do the same in reverse, turning their online magazines into a selling tool that can be used for additional revenue.
Shorter Path to Purchase
What all of these innovations have in common is that they shorten the path to purchase. While all were previously capable of aiding product awareness, discovery and comparison in the past, recent developments allow marketers to take consumers straight from awareness to purchase, with very few steps. As the battle to improve mobile payment and simplify transactions carries on (and Apple Pay launching in the UK shortly), the importance of strong mobile marketing will also increase.
The Value of Attribution
Although there are more options for ‘monetising’ your content, whether on owned assets, social media or native ads, you need a sensible attribution system in place in order to measure the effectiveness of each campaign, channel and call-to-action. Not only can you test and prove the value of specific content and commerce ideas, you can join the dots between all your digital touch-points, and build a picture of how a Tweet, an on-site resource and then a paid search ad combined to convert a browser to a buyer.
The value of creating great content, on-site or elsewhere, can be huge. Being interesting and useful to your consumers is a great way to build loyalty and interest. But don’t forget that there are plenty of ways to capitalise on that loyalty and interest, and turn website browsers, Facebook followers and Pins into customers.
Contact us today for advice on making the most of your Social Media marketing strategy.