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The following guest blog post is from Accomplice.IO.

Social media is no longer a ‘nice-to-have’ marketing tactic—it’s become an essential tool for eCommerce brands to drive revenue.

While free (organic) social posting is always a good idea to raise awareness of your brand, paid social advertising can help you target highly-specific customer groups and reach people where they spend the most time already. Almost one-third of all online activity is on social channels.

And that’s not all— most social networks are introducing in-app purchasing and direct linking, meaning that you can capture a sale directly within or from the social channel itself. You’ll create a seamless customer journey and convert the sale in the exact moment you hold a user’s attention. It’s now also easier than ever to track the resultant ROI so that you know exactly which campaigns work best to produce real revenue. This technology allows you to take the guesswork out of your marketing and invest in the campaigns that actually generate tangible business outcomes.

Read on to learn about specific social tools and updates that will help you reach your marketing goals.

 

Key Social Channel Updates for eCommerce Marketers

 

Pinterest

Pinterest is a major sales referral tool for online retailers. During the 2014 holiday season, transaction totals for sales referred from Pinterest were higher than those from Facebook.

Pinterest has developed several new ad products to build upon this success for advertisers:

  • Promoted Pins, which look like ordinary organic Pins, but are promoted to the best target audience so that users see your Pin when they are looking for related items.
  • Buyable Pins that allow Pinterest users to buy an item directly within the Pinterest platform, including selecting color, size, and adding their payment information in the app.
  • App Pins that help brands target users to download their app directly within Pinterest as well.

Instagram

Instagram recently announced two features for advertisers:

  • Buttons that allow a user to install an app, sign up, or buy an item  directly from an Instagram post.
  • Direct URL links in Instagram posts to drive users to a brand’s desired landing page.

For both of these new tools, link clicks will open an internal mini-browser within Instagram to allow users to interact with the brand’s website. eCommerce payments will not be processed directly in Instagram right away—they will still be processed on the brand’s own site—but this feature is likely on the roadmap as social networks compete for better direct sale attribution for their advertisers.

 

Twitter and Facebook

Twitter and Facebook have both started to integrate “Buy Now” purchase prompts into their native services so users can complete a purchase directly from a tweet or Facebook post.

Specific eCommerce offerings on Facebook and Twitter include:

  • Product Ads that help brands showcase several distinct product offerings in a single ad.
  • Custom and Lookalike Audiences which allow marketers to reach both their own existing customer base and audiences with similar affinities through anonymized data.
  • Facebook’s Conversion Lift product that specifically addresses advertisers’ desire to track ROI. It uses either an online tracking pixel or uploaded sales data to prove that customers who saw a Facebook ad and then made a purchase are counted properly.
  • Similarly, Twitter’s new Partner Audiences tool allows advertisers to use anonymous offline purchase behaviors to enhance campaign targeting.

Google

  • Google has always led in product ads via their Shopping search tool, but they recently started testing price comparison listings. This tool highlights prices lower or higher than average to help consumers easily see the best price on the web for the item they’re searching for.

As predictive and personalized marketing experiences are increasingly expected by consumers, social channels will play a crucial role in serving relevant ads and purchase opportunities to targeted audiences at the right place and time, driving increased revenue for eCommerce brands.

 

Lior Tamir is the CEO of Accomplice, a digital media optimization platform that connects social & search campaigns with measurable results. To learn more, visit http://accomplice.io