As Human beings, when we want to do something, we first introspectively ask ourselves a question- why? Even more so when we are about to embark on something new to us.
E-commerce and Social media are not new but are definitely toddlers in our culture. We have a vague idea of what they could become but just like the internet itself a few years ago, it’s hard to predict exactly where things are going. Just like toddlers, these fields are learning to walk. Soon they will be running, jumping and learning new things everyday.
If you are in the field of E-commerce and thinking of incorporating Social media as part of your marketing efforts you would again ask yourself the question-“why”?
As our timeline progresses, more and more people are buying online. Parallel to that, more and more people use Social media. Therefore, the amount of people using social media for purchasing is increasing and will continue to increase in the foreseeable future. This means there is a pool of potential clients which awaits you and it’s getting bigger with everyday that passes. In addition, approximately 75 percent of online consumers rely on social media as a tool to inform their purchasing decisions. Roughly, 90% of online consumers trust the recommendations of their online connections, while only 33% trust paid advertisements.
If that isn’t enough, people surfing the web spend more time on Social media than they do on browsing and Emailing combined.
At it’s current stage in it’s life, Social media is not mature and optimized enough for measuring results accurately and with the depth of data (some would say “long term memory”) we are used to from other traffic channels. This is specifically true for measuring converting traffic.
The reason for this is rather simple- when people go on Facebook, the exposure happens on the platform but not the conversion itself, which happens later. So potential customers see the product and continue to fulfill their Social media fix. Later on, the customer will go to a different site in order to make a purchase, even though the inception was made much earlier. The incentive to buy was spurred by Social media but because of timing and the lack of immediacy in the purchasing process it doesn’t show in the metrics.
This means Social media outlets have low conversion rates just because they are not getting full credit for all the conversions they are ultimately responsible for. Other traffic channels are gaining these “phantom conversions”. Because most benefits of Social media are not reflected in the current day metric measurement system, the picture we are getting might not be very flattering but it is certainly not accurate.
This will not go on for long. Social media channels are improving and optimizing themselves for Ecommerce . In the mid of 2013, Pinterest launched Rich Pins which features Product Pins for real time pricing and availability of products. A year later, Twitter announced a limited release of the ‘Buy’ button. A feature which will be added to Twitter ads. Facebook did not want to wait and started testing their own ‘Buy’ button on posts. These features will allow to make purchases without leaving the comfort of your feed.
All these changes are showing us that Social media is only taking it’s first few steps entering the E-Commerce world. Slowly but surely we will see new apps, dashboards and features all aimed at Social media traffic and conversion. These next few years are likely to introduce a paradigm shifting change when it comes to the E-commerce & Social media fusion.
The awaited change will come and it will be yet another “Game Changer” in the ever dynamic landscape of online marketing, but what about now?
Right now, even with everything mentioned above, Social media yields so many positives.
Because social media is not all about driving traffic. The correct use of existing platforms will increase brand awareness due to the immense exposure. It will build brand trust and subsequently customer loyalty through a direct line of communications between business owners and customers. Not to mention the elevated shopping experience from the buyers side as a result of this accessibility.
If E-commerce is your bread, Social media should be your butter. This will only become more true as we advance into the future. It is an amazing supplement, however you look at it, to any E-commerce venture.
Ohad Rozen founded Toonimo with his partner Dan, out of Dan’s one-bedroom apartment. Prior to founding Toonimo, Ohad worked at Wilocity (acquired by Qualcomm) as a senior algorithm and system engineer. He holds M.Sc. and B.Sc. Cum Laude in Electrical Engineering from Ben-Gurion University. Ohad brings a deep knowledge of information technology management and algorithms, and vast experience in sales and marketing management.