Tag: E-commerce

How WhatsApp is Streamlining In-App Shopping

In May, Facebook Shops made its debut streamlining the process for businesses to set up a single online store for customers to access on both Facebook and Instagram. In order to best facilitate the new on-platform shopping experience, the platform has also expressed its interest leading the path for customers to message businesses from their shop listings, via its family of apps including WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram Direct.

While consumers can’t yet view a business’ shop and make purchases directly from within a messenger stream, as of today they can select the items they wish to purchase and share their list from within a WhatsApp messenger stream.

How to use WhatsApp Carts

When you are visiting a business’ catalog on WhatsApp (tap on the shopping button icon listed next to their name), you can use the ‘Message Business’ to start a conversation or use the ‘Add to Cart’ button if you’re ready to place an order with the business about a product that you’re viewing. As users find the items they want when interacting with a business in the app, they’ll now be able to tap “add to cart” as they go.

Once you’ve finished shopping, you can then send your Cart as a message to the business to submit your full order. You can access the details of your order by tapping on the ‘View Cart’ button in your chat window with the seller.

What this ultimately enables is an easier process for brands to keep track of requests and help create a more seamless way to deliver personalized responses. Shopping might not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of Whatsapp, but it’s become an increasingly popular space for small businesses eager to sell their products.

Per The Verge, more than 175 million people used the service to message a WhatsApp Business account each day as of late October. Further, the WhatsApp Business app reached over 50 million users worldwide as of July this year.

Supercharging the shopping experience

This isn’t WhatsApp’s first foray into e-commerce. To date, it’s launched QR codes, dedicated shopping buttons, and the ability to share catalog links in direct chat messages. It also opened up free storage to merchants to host their business’s messages.

“Catalogs have allowed people to quickly see what’s available and helped businesses organize their chats around particular items. With more and more shopping happening through chats, we want to make buying and selling even easier,” the platform explained.

WhatsApp’s growth and the future of shoppable social media

Many of the old ways in which people and businesses communicate are not working. Per Shopify data, a whopping 92 percent of U.S. consumers have shopped online since the start of the pandemic, compared to 65 percent who have shopped in-store. In addition, over half of consumers have shifted more of their spending online since March, particularly young consumers between 18 and 34. These younger consumers are also more likely than other age groups to find products and shop them via social media, utilize new commerce tools, and prioritize shipping.

Stats aside — what’s key here is: With an acceleration towards apps for personal commerce and e-commerce, the time is now to consider Alternative shipping options, conversational commerce, and shoppable social media.

Consumers are starting to consciously cut back on mindless scrolling or mindless following. If a brand wants to cut through the noise and truly resonate, they must stay true to their personality, while delivering value through their content. Understanding specific wants and needs and diving deeper into the consumer’s motivation versus relying on predictions based on prior purchase patterns will be instrumental in e-commerce strategies in 2021 and beyond.

Join 100,000+ fellow marketers who advance their skills and knowledge by subscribing to our weekly newsletter.

The post How WhatsApp is Streamlining In-App Shopping appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2020/12/how-whatsapp-is-streamlining-in-app-shopping/

How Instagram’s New Redesign is Driving Short-Form Video and In-App Shopping

Instagram launched Reels in August after a year of testing, and now the platform is getting serious about its leadership in the e-commerce space, and more specifially competing with the likes of TikTok, through some bold real estate changes that give it direct exposure on the main screen.

Here’s a look at some of the updates brands and marketers can expect on their feeds and how to lean into them as a way to connect with their audiences.

Prioritizing the short-form video feed

In the new redesign, the Compose button and Activity tab are relocated and now accessible at the top-right of the home screen, while the center middle button now belongs to, you guessed it, the Reels icon. Previously, Reel videos were mixed in with other photo and video uploads found on the Explore page or in your feed if someone happened to share onee. This led to the platform testing new layouts over the past couple of months as early users dubbed the content hard to find. Now, the Reels button takes you to a dedicated page of curated content organized by people you follow and your previous engagement patterns and interests.

As far as if we can expect ads to pop up in Reels soon, the quick answer is yes. Instagram Head Adam Mosseri shared in a statement to CNBC, “I think that we can leverage the story ad format [for Reels] because it’s the same immersive experience, so that’ll be helpful because you don’t need to get advertisers to create a bunch of new creative.” This may pave the way to more welcomed advertising opportunities for brands especially amongst younger demographics who crave experiences from the content delivered to them.

If 2020 has underscored any actionable learnings, a top one to pocket is that consumers want to be engaged with in the spaces they’re already interacting. This is what translates into successful, genuine action and loyalty needed to rise about the clutter.

Fueling inspiration, commerce and support of small businesses

By some estimates including those from analysts at IBM, COVID-19 has accelerated the shift to e-commerce by at least five years. Instagram has been virtually shoppable since 2018, but to stay abreast of the current evolution of e-commerce and consumer behavior patterns, the platform wasted no time taking drastic measures to pivot accordingly.

Earlier this summer, Instagram began testing the Shop tab in place of the Activity tab in July, directing users to an updated version of the Instagram Shop. Here, they had the capability to filter by brands they followed on Instagram or by product category. Most recently, the platform is displaying this tab more prominently upon seeing an uptick in younger demographics looking to influencers for buying inspiration.

“…We’ve seen an explosion in short, entertaining videos on Instagram. We’ve also seen an incredible amount of shopping move online, with more and more people buying online and young people looking to their favorite creators for recommendations on what to buy,” Instagram head Mosseri shared in the official announcement.

Specifically, with the push users can more easily access personalized recommendations, shoppable videos, and new product collections as well as browse editors’ picks curated by the @shop channel.

Finding a balance between speed and simplicity

The overarching goal with the design revamp as explained by Director of Product Management, Robby Stein, is an expanded suite of products underpinned by simplicity and seamlessness. Put differently, there’s a clear and a designated spot for posting your own content, a specific spot to go when you want to be entertained, and a distinct hub for making purchases.

In the announcement, Mosseri also reiterated the platform’s biggest risk is not the pace at which it evolves, but that it remains stagnant and inevitably becomes irrelevant. This is a particularly relevant point when taking into consideration how people create and enjoy culture has fundamentally changed and what this means for marketers. Adaptability is inevitable and a necessity in order to foster long-term relationships. The key, however, is doing so purposefully and with a bias toward simple, easy actions driven by authentic digital experiences.

Join 100,000+ fellow marketers who advance their skills and knowledge by subscribing to our weekly newsletter.

Feature image credit: marketingland.com

The post How Instagram’s New Redesign is Driving Short-Form Video and In-App Shopping appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2020/11/how-instagrams-new-redesign-is-driving-short-form-video-and-in-app-shopping/

How Pinterest is Helping Retailers Through Enhanced Discovery and New Ad Options

While COVID-19 may have closed brick and mortar stores, it also has proven the efficiency in e-commerce when it comes to scaling sales and setting up shop and platforms are finding their role in the shift. Pinterest, most recently introduced including a new storefront profile, faster Catalogs feed ingestion, collections as a shopping ad format, video for collections, automatic bidding, conversion insights and analysis, and an improved product tagging test. This follows a new finding, that is, the number of Pinners engaging with shopping surfaces on Pinterest has grown over 85 percent in the past six months.

Here’s a recap of the latest updates and how you can put them to work for your bramd.

Transforming Shop Tabs to Storefronts

In the absence of the physical in-store browsing experience, discovery is everything. Pinterest is supporting merchants in this regard by giving the storefront profile an overhaul complete with “featured in-stock products organized by category, featured product groups and dynamically-created recommendations.”

With more ways to present their products on the tab, the goal is to encourage more online shopping behavior that nods to the in-store experience. Pinterest is also working on a product tagging option which would allow retailers to tag their products in scene images further instilling a sense of inspiration users of the platform notoriously crave. Finally, when searching for shopping-related ideas users will be shown recommended merchants based on the particular category. For instance, if you search ‘wool coat’ an option for Bluxome would appearch in addition to the product description including a link to purchase and the retail price.

Catalogs feed ingestion and video

Pinterest is also improving its catalog ingestion process. For brands, having an intuitive way to connect their product listings directly to their Pins is tablestakes and the platform is eager to streamline this to take the hassle out of uploading catalogs and shorten the time required to activate shopping ads. Further, merchants will have the option to designate a main asset and a corresponding product image in their uploads to create a multi-image ad unit.

Beyond these more basic updates, the company is also using this opportunity to lean into video, a format that continues to be top of mind. With this feature, brands have the option to apply video as a hero in a Collections ad unit to share their store in more innovative and compelling ways that drive inspiration to action.

As part of its Q2 update, Pinterest revealed that catalog ingestion had grown 10x in the first half of 2020. Chances are this will increase even further as merchants look to add more shoppable Pins to augment sales on the platform and capitalize on the rise of e-commerce.

Automatic bidding & conversion analysis

A primary concern for marketers is ensuring their ad bids align with their objectives.At a high level, automatic bidding taps into internal insights including key metrics to map campaigns to the right users based on their interests, habits, and history.

Pinterest specifically introduced automatic budding for shopping aimed at maximizing sales for brands on the platform in an easy, automatic, and effective way. Advertisers keep control over an ad group’s bid and can adjust as necessary to aim for the maximum number of results while promotions are geared towards users with a history of buying or displaying purchase intent.

“On average, advertisers who tested Automatic Bidding for Catalog Sales saw 28 percent more conversions when optimizing for the ‘Conversion’ event and nearly 29 percent more clicks when optimizing for ‘Click’ event for the same budget,” the company shared.

Lastly, in today’s environment adaptability and a willingness to experiment is a core element of any strategy small or large. To help brands test and see how their campaigns are performing across different objectives Pinterest rolled out a series of new “Conversation Analysis” visualization tools that illustrate how a consumer is completing their path to purchase. By having these fundamental pieces of information presented in a familiar funnel, marketers not only gain a clearer picture of future expectations but immediate new ways to prove impact including comparison of multiple attribution views.

Shoppable Product Pins has increased by 44 percent in 2020, while the number of Pinners engaging within shopping surfaces across the app has grown over 85 percent in the past six months. At 416 million monthly active users, Pinterest’s reach is also expanding. It’s worth a look, and these new tools could further enhance its offering.

Join 100,000+ fellow marketers who advance their skills and knowledge by subscribing to our weekly newsletter.

The post How Pinterest is Helping Retailers Through Enhanced Discovery and New Ad Options appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2020/11/how-pinterest-is-helping-retailers-through-enhanced-discovery-and-new-ad-options/

How TikTok and Shopify are Fueling Shoppable Videos

Earlier this year, TikTok announced a $200 million creator fund with a goal of helping more leading creators in its community sustain themselves financially solely through TikTok. More recently, the platform announced a partnership with Teespring allowing creators to sell merchandise they design and create directly to fans via the app itself.

As social commerce continues to proliferate, brands and retailers are recognizing that to rise above the noise they must tap emerging spaces with highly creative and engaged audiences. In this spirit, TikTok and Shopfiy announced a global partnership geared to help more than one million merchants reach highly engaged audiences and drive sales by tapping into TikTok’s global scale.

Helping Shopify Merchants Engage TikTok Users

“The TikTok channel means Shopify merchants—even those without a strong TikTok following of their own yet—can connect with these new audiences using content that feels authentic and genuine to the TikTok experience,” said Satish Kanwar, Vice President of Product at Shopify, in a statement about the new partnership.

At a high level, the partnership enables merchants access to TikTok’s key business features and software as part of its Business Ads manager including the ability to designate which product they want to spotlight. They can also access a variety of TikTok’s ready-made templates to help customize their campaign with their brands’ images, and videos. The tools are already designed for commerce and compatible for “merchants of any size,” so any heavy lifting is removed from the equation.

As a perk, they can claim a $300 ad credit to put toward their first TikTok campaign. Beyond launching ads, merchants can use the software to target specific audiences and track ad performance so they can more easily track for what they’re doing well versus what they can improve on in their next ad.

#ShopBlack Challenge

Prior to its latest push, TikTok had toyed with allowing users to drop e-commerce inks in their bios, launched ‘Shop Now’ buttons for brands to incorporate into their videos, and introduced shoppable components to hashtags with Hashtag Challenge Plus, it’s e-commerce feature.

Along the vein of hashtags as a commerce function, as part of the partnership TikTok and Shopify are hosting a co-branded #ShopBlack challenge scheduled to run from November 10 to November 15. The effort will feature products from over 40 merchants in a powerful testament to the responsibility and meaningful opportunity for today’s social platforms to support the notion that societal issues like racial equality and business growth are connected efforts. Specifically, by serving as an outlet through which Black entrepreneurs can share their stories and inspiration as business owners within the larger TikTok community.

Separately, Shopify released its own Black Business Directory through which users can discover and buy from Black Shopify merchants. The platform also recently announced its partnership with Operation Hope to create one million Black-owned businesses by 2030.

Simplifying social commerce

This partnership is just one example that speaks to the growing social commerce movement, a trend that has been accelerated by the coronavirus. As the physical stores closed in 2020 and sent massive traffic to online destinations, platforms spanning Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest rushed to update their shopping features. Mobile-apps are the shopping malls of the internet.

Content can be moved more cheaply and quickly than ever before and there are new ways to make it to ensure it stands out above the crowd. The influx of social channels as retail avenues doesn’t come without its own challenges, however.

“One of the concerns brands have with [the] growth of e-commerce across social, retailers and their own .com is that it requires managing multiple retail streams,” shared Jess Richards, EVP and Managing Director of Commerce at Havas Media Group. “The connectivity with Shopify for Merchants can simplify the approach.”

In an era of empowered consumers, experiences should be the primary focus for brands — and these have to be easy-to-navigate, streamlined, and delivered in hyper-relevant formats that match the space and flow of communication. Video is one of these expanding areas worth watching.

Join 100,000+ fellow marketers who advance their skills and knowledge by subscribing to our weekly newsletter.

The post How TikTok and Shopify are Fueling Shoppable Videos appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2020/10/how-tiktok-and-shopify-are-fueling-shoppable-videos/

How Google is Helping Marketers Navigate Shifting Shopping Behaviors

The 2020 holiday season will undoubtedly look a little different this year, but one thing that is unchanged: it is still a time of peak demand and a critical time to connect with consumers. With just under 70 days until Christmas, brands are scaling their efforts as best they can and learning along the way as they reinvent and maximize opportunities.

In support of this, Google launched a 27-page guide on evolving shopping patterns and how to prepare for them including some case studies brands can emulate in their own approach. Here’s an overview of some of the key trends extracted from the findings.

Extended period of shopping and deal-hunting

COVID-19 has led to an increase in shoppers looking for value in terms of quality and price. More specifically, 62 percent of U.S, shoppers are planning to start holiday shopping earlier this year to avoid missing out on items. “This means retailers will need to rethink the usual timelines for Cyber Monday and Cyber Week to help shoppers already looking for special offers and deals this October,” says Google. In short, it isn’t only about peak days anymore.

A growing number of people are recognizing the efficiency and other benefits of ordering online. While deal-seeking certainly isn’t a new concept, the emphasis on value and quality are higher than ever as people turn to their devices to research, browse, and purchase. In fact, searches for “best affordable” are up 60 percent year-over-year and just under half (46%) expect brands to offer discounts.

The takeaway to note from these shifts in behavior: Maximize the exposure of your sales and holiday deals. The report points to a case study from handbag company Dagne Dover who delivered 4X return-on-ad-spend (ROAS) over two months using Google Smart shopping campaigns.

Preparing for a surge in first-time online shoppers

A whopping 69 percent of U.S. shoppers are planning to shop online for the holidays more than they have in previous years. Further, over 50 percent of surveyed US shoppers tried a new shopping service for the first time this year and more than one in ten surveyed reported trying a new shopping app for the first time.

“Due to this overall trend toward online shopping this year, retailers will need to be ready to offer helpful, frictionless shopping experiences for more first-time online shoppers,” the report states. This is critical as stores shift to mere transaction points while the majority of the decision making happens online whether the item will be picked up in store, at the curb, or delivered to someone’s home.

Simplicity, streamlined, and speed are key terms in this vein to keep in mind. Accuracy is another important element where ensuring relevant search terms and fully complete online listings are a make or break in the eye’s of today’s shoppers. If you’re in need of fresh ways to enhance your online shopping experience, Google suggests checking out Grow My Store and testing your mobile site speed with Test My Site. Petco, for example, upped investment in Search, Shopping, and local inventory ads and saw a 100 percent lift in their e-commerce business, along with a 10x increase in new e-commerce customers.

The purpose-driven consumer

With more choices around brands and products than ever before, people are taking a beat and identifying ways to use their purchasing power for good. 2020 has been a testament to the various ways consumers can align their purchase decisions with companies with shared values and support local causes that are important to them.

Roughly half (46%) of surveyed U.S. shoppers “make a deliberate effort to shop at businesses that align with my values.” What’s more — 66 percent of U.S. consumers who plan to shop this holiday season said they will shop more at local small businesses. During an age of social distancing, consumers crave a sense of community and preserving local shops and cafes is one way to maintain a sense of normalcy and empowerment amid the uncertainty. Just since last year searches for “support local businesses” grew by over 20,000 percent.

Google also notes that many shoppers are trying new brands for the first time. Specifically, over 70 percent of viewers say YouTube makes them more aware of new brands. Sportswear brand Ariat took these insights and launched YouTube TrueView in-stream ads and increased investment in Shopping ads to help drive online sales and engagement with its customers in new ways. The result? A 700 percent lift in sales year-over-year and a 300 percent boost in online conversions year-over-year.

This isn’t to say all shoppers are testing the waters — some will prefer what’s already familiar to them. Regardless if you’re engaging with new or repeat customers, actionable formats will be differentiators this holiday season. To best prepare, embrace these tough questions including what do we stand for and how do we leverage social media appropriately to serve our customers and community. Your consumers will reciprocate the mindfulness and authenticity with loyalty and trust.

Join 100,000+ fellow marketers who advance their skills and knowledge by subscribing to our weekly newsletter.

The post How Google is Helping Marketers Navigate Shifting Shopping Behaviors appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2020/10/how-google-is-helping-marketers-navigate-shifting-shopping-behaviors/

What You Need to Know About TikTok and Teespring’s Partnership

A few weeks ago TikTok launched a $200 million creator fund with a goal of helping more leading creators in its community sustain themselves financially solely through TikTok. Fast forward to today, creators will soon be able to sell merchandise they design and create directly to fans via the app itself thanks to a new integration in partnership with realtor commerce platform Teespring.

This isn’t TikTok’s first foray into e-commerce, however. Last year it tested social commerce links in videos and piloted an advertising format with a call-to-action button that links marketers to social influencers. More recently, it introduced its ‘Small Gestures’ digital gift-giving program as a gentle reminder to practice digital empathy and not overlook the power of a small act, especially in these uncertain times.

A move towards non-apparel

As TikTok accelerates its e-commerce plans it wants to make clear its community will be at the center of its decisions and efforts.

“We believe, based on the current trend, that non-apparel items will be outselling apparel by this time next year,” Teespring CEO Chris Lamontagne told The Verge. “Layering in really smart commerce opportunities is key, so it could be physical merchandise or it could be something more digital…we as a collective need to think about creators in this way where they’ve got super engaged fans who love them — there’s already this connection.”

According to the official press release, creators will have a choice from over 180 different products in addition to having the opportunity to create bespoke products uniquely catered to their personal brand. Think beyond your typical t-shirt and hoodie and more along the lines of Skateboard decks and smartphone covers for instance.

Roughly 7,000 TikTok creators in total are part of the initial program though details surrounding which creators will be eligible to participate is still being hashed out. Another outstanding question — how will the products appear in the videos themselves? While details are still worked out the platform knows one thing: it wants to ensure a full shop functionality to make things as streamlined and simple as possible.

Tapping into underrated features

Amidst all of the conversation and social chatter around what TikTok’s future has in store, including the possible $30 billion price tag being discussed, former CEO of Vine, Rus Yusupov, used the opportunity to give TikTok some of his own advice in a CNN op-ed reflecting on the learning lessons garnered from his experience in the short-form video space.

“TikTok hasn’t stopped innovating. They’ve made bold moves we should have made. Specifically, its algorithm-driven distribution model is extremely accurate and effectively surfaces new personalized content. And allowing creators to monetize their content through live streaming is an underreported, underrated feature, and is key to their success.” In short, where he feels Vine failed is in not fully embracing new challenges and opportunities to experiment. It is one thing to become popular very quickly, but another to sustain yourself by constantly pushing the boundaries.

The growing role of exclusive merchandise

During an age of social distancing, e-commerce and exclusive merchandise continue to surge in popularity. Artists and creators enjoy leaning into digital experiences like shopping as a way to connect with their fans, gather feedback, and get creative in ways they haven’t before and are using various platforms to achieve these ends.

Earlier this summer YouTube dropped a feature that lets users include a virtual “shelf” underneath their videos displaying their merch. In June, Instagram opened up its own commerce platform for creators. Finally, late last month, TikTok took this trend a level further by hosting its first shoppable livestream in collaboration with Ntwrk — a home shopping network targeting Generation Z — and artist Joshua Vides. These are just a few of many examples.

With current findings showing that e-commerce is now five years forward due to the global pandemic, there is no shortage of white spaces to consider. The brands that will ultimately stand out above the crowd, however, will be those that can hit a sweet spot of premium content and experiences driven by gaming, shopping, and other means of engagement that feel fresh and accessible.

Join 100,000+ fellow marketers who advance their skills and knowledge by subscribing to our weekly newsletter.

The post What You Need to Know About TikTok and Teespring’s Partnership appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2020/09/what-you-need-to-know-about-tiktok-and-teesprings-partnership/

Instagram is Making it Easier to Kickstart your Small Business

With eCommerce sales rising amid the COVID-19 lockdown, platforms are working every angle to make their interface friendly to brands and businesses looking to build a digital presence in the absence of a traditional brick-and-mortar experience. Leading in the space is Instagram and its parent company Facebook.

Specifically, Instagram has recently introduced a number of ways it’s committing to achieve this underlined by themes of discovery, monetization, and driving conversations around specific products and services.

Making Content Discoverable via the “Shops Tab”

Originally introduced in May as part of a larger announcement of Facebook and Instagram Shops, more users can now expect to see the new “Shop” tab within their bottom navigation bar. At a high-level, users who use the tab will be driven to the current shopping experience in the app which consists of a list of postings with Shopping Tags attached. They can filter by specific categories, including Beauty, Clothing & Accessories, Home, and Travel, much the same way they’re able to via Instagram Explore. Ultimately, additional purchase options will be added as parent company Facebook onboards more companies and introduces more selling options.

Per TechCrunch, the new tab will be indicated with a “Shop” icon that will replace the heart icon (Activity) in the app’s main navigation though the Activity feed will still be available either by toggling to an icon in the top right corner, beside the icon of a ‘Direct’ paper plane, or by going to their profile and tapping the heart icon. For more general insights into set up a Facebook shop, check out this new Blueprint education course the platform recently unveiled.

Maximizing Your IGTV Efforts

Earlier this Spring Instagram shared several key changes to its IGTV app including an important cross-promotional update whereby the first 15 seconds of the video will play with the rest of the content available via a ‘swipe up’ link, as opposed to a freeze-frame from the clip. In addition to this, the platform introduced a broader overhaul of the IGTV display options within the Discover tab. The intent was primarily to highlight top creators but, more importantly, allow users to have more specific control over what they see as opposed to limiting search options solely based on content they’ve already engaged with.

In this vein of ‘control,’ more recently Instagram introduced additional options allowing creators and brands to edit the preview images and thumbnails of their IGTV videos that are displayed in the feed. The app is also unveiling capability for IGTV creators to cross-post to Facebook Watch, serving to increase the exposure of their uploads. With the roll-out of IGTV monetization including ads and Bages through which users can donate to their favorite broadcasters, this is a significant incentivizing factor for companies looking to double down on e-commerce efforts amidst the global pandemic and boost their digital presence.

Put differently, marketers want a reason to put resources against yet another digital app. With further options to generate income from IGTV, they’ll naturally find more reasons to make it a consistent focus. For context into just how much live-stream viewership has increased in recent months, Instagram reported a 70 percent uptick between February and March alone.

Pinning Post Comments

Following a test in May, Instagram is announcing that users can now pin up to three comments within a comment thread. To do this, swipe to the left and tap on the icon resembling a thumbtack. Each of the three posts you designate to pin will appear underneath your photo with a “Pinned” label beneath.

Per Instagram’s VP of Product Vishal Shah, the option is designed to enable brands and users to control the tone of conversations. “By highlighting positive comments, you can better manage the tone of the conversation,” he shared on Twitter. From an e-commerce standpoint, this stands to be a useful way for those building their e-commerce presence to promote great reviews of their product and learn more about new purchasing behaviors by boosting relevant questions and feedback.

Though still up for debate, many experts in space anticipate that such trends will hold beyond the pandemic. Why? As more consumers experiment with online buying options and recognize the convenience and efficiencies of shopping from the comfort of their home, they won’t go back. This will ultimately exacerbate the current growth in e-commerce. Pivoting, in this case, is not necessarily only about a change in direction, but much more directly correlated with moving the needle of a business.

The post Instagram is Making it Easier to Kickstart your Small Business appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2020/07/instagram-is-making-it-easier-to-kickstart-your-small-business/

How YouTube Is Helping Marketers Capitalize on Online Video

COVID-19 has fast-forwarded several prominent consumer behavior trends in the marketing space — a major one centering around online shopping where tech giants are shifting their investment dollars in the hopes of propelling their growth on the other side.

Earlier this spring Pinterest introduced new ways to shop from pins, from pin boards, and directly from search results. More recently, Facebook and Instagram rolled out “Shops,” essentially converting business profiles into online storefronts and tested shopping tags in captions. Separately, Snapchat unveiled an expansion of dynamic ads for e-commerce retailers in June.

Building a stronger e-commerce presence through video ads

Looking ahead, YouTube unveiled several updates to its platform in a push to help marketers capitalize on the growing trends of e-commerce and online video. Primarily, a new ad format called “Direct Response” will enable brands to add browsable product imagery to their videos to make them more actionable and shoppable.

“As businesses begin to reopen, they have an opportunity to use video to drive both online and offline actions on YouTube, where 70 percent of people say they bought a brand as a result of seeing it on our platform,” YouTube’s parent company Google explained in the official announcement.

As a result of using the new format in a test phase ahead of its spring 2020 campaign, Aerie, the underwear company owned by American Eagle, reported sales conversions 9x higher than that garnered by its traditional media stack. The company also reported a 25 percent higher return on ad spend compared to 2019.

To use the ad format, retailers will need to synchronize their Google Merchant Center feed to their video ads, per the announcement. Ultimately, they will also be able to place greater emphasis on certain products through an expanded call-to-action button.

A more cost-effective way to boost conversion rates

Limited marketing budgets and other key resources have put significant strains on marketers these past few months but this hasn’t kept them from seeking more simple, cost-effective ways to drive reach and convert demand. As part of the update, YouTube announced Video Action Campaigns that will automatically distribute video ads “that drive action” to the YouTube home feed, watch pages, and Google video partners, all within a single campaign.

“In the last few months, Mos saw 30 percent more purchases for their service at a third of the cost compared to their previous YouTube benchmarks,” Google stated of the startup that seeks to help students find funds for college to avoid large debts. As a newer company, it was eager to test the campaigns to gauge how quickly it could scale.

Adding transparency around a consumer’s path to purchase

Beyond building an e-commerce presence, YouTube is cognizant of the fact that in the digital age the process for tracing the exact origins of a conversion and keeping tabs on a consumer’s full path to purchase isn’t always clear. To address this, brands will be able to evaluate their efforts on YouTube directly from their Google Ads attribution reports. There are two major benefits of this including having a better understanding of how to allocate ad budgets and what new tools to consider in addition to enhanced transparency around your Google ads campaigns.

Overall, the effort is not only one to create an even playing field around emerging formats like video, but more importantly, to help marketers save valuable time to put against broader strategic initiatives such as aligning creative with the right message for a particular audience.

Join 100,000+ fellow marketers who advance their skills and knowledge by subscribing to our weekly newsletter.

The post How YouTube Is Helping Marketers Capitalize on Online Video appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2020/07/how-youtube-is-helping-marketers-capitalize-on-online-video/

Why TikTok is Partnering with Brands to Promote Gift Giving During COVID-19

During this continued period of social distancing technology fulfills an extraordinarily important role. It’s helped us adapt our lifestyles around remote work and finding the balance of personal and professional lives that comes with this, how to self organize to help those in need, and most importantly, letting loved ones know you’re thinking of them while the coronavirus pandemic keeps us apart.

“SMALL GESTURES”

TikTok is embracing this through a new collaboration with its brand partnerships, a program titled “Small Gestures.” Small Gestures offers the connectivity in demand through the small act of sending a gift to someone who may need a simple boost whether that be creative inspiration for a video, exercise ideas and ways to support their mental health during this time of crisis.

TikTokers can use the Small Gestures feature up to three times apiece to send gifts to loved ones and friends free-of-charge.

HOW IT WORKS

  1. Search for ‘Small Gestures’ on the Discover Page
  2. Click on the purple banner at the top of the page
  3. Browse through several partner offerings and select the one you want to send
  4. Tap on the offer and send it via message

The gifts available in the app cater to a wide variety of interests and passion from food to podcasts, to fitness to learning new languages and how to make videos, and more. Here are the highlights:

  • A 90-day subscription to Adobe Premiere Rush
  • A 1-month free DashPass subscription from DoorDash
  • A 90-day trial for Pandora
  • A two-month premium membership for Skillshare with unlimited access
  • A $120 credit towards Talkspace’s online and mobile therapy sessions
  • A 30-day trial to Alo Moves’ on-demand yoga, fitness and mindfulness classes
  • A 90-day trial to for the elite personal training platform Fitplan
  • A free 90-day subscription to the language-fluency app Fluent Forever
  • A $30 discount off any purchase from The Bouqs Co. for any flower arrangement or plant
  • A code for 15 percent off online purchases of any Rebbi coconut-milk-based beverages
  • A limited offering of game tiles including Lara Croft Go, Hitman Go, and Deus Ex Go from publisher Square Enix

THE NEXT PHASE: E-COMMERCE

Per TikTok, the stated aim of the Small Gestures is to “provide comfort and “thinking of you” reminders to friends and family while we’re apart.” However it’s worth noting that another significant element at play here is a push into the e-commerce space. Recently, the platform unveiled a set of tools and external linking options within bios and uploaded videos in order to provide more revenue generation options for creators. In tandem, TikTok also launched an influencer marketplace.

YouTube is carving its space in the territory with ‘Shorts‘ its own take on short-form to exist inside the current YouTube app. Details remain scarce but the platform shared it will allow creators to take advantage of YouTube’s catalog of licensed music and create clips similar to those seen on TikTok.

Much like Pinterest, TikTok amidst COVID-19 is eager to expand on the activities that users can undertake within the app — more specifically be a destination for shopping and discovery. The hurdle is, of course, starting virtually then transitioning to a shopping experience that feels more like ”real life.” Making this seamless will translate into habitual behaviors that will feel genuine and provide context to time spent within the app itself.

Join 100,000+ fellow marketers who advance their skills and knowledge by subscribing to our weekly newsletter.

The post Why TikTok is Partnering with Brands to Promote Gift Giving During COVID-19 appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2020/04/why-tiktok-is-partnering-with-brands-to-promote-gift-giving-during-covid-19/

WEBINAR: Prepare Your Brand for e-Commerce Success This Holiday Season with MikMak

Shoppers spent $120B online in the U.S. during the 2018 holiday season, and analysts predict that this 2019 holiday season will see continued growth.

In the spirit of helping your brand prepare early, MikMak CEO Rachel Tipograph and Social Media Week have teamed up to host a webinar Thursday, September 19th, to answer all of your 2019 Holiday eCommerce key questions based on results MikMak saw last holiday season with Fortune 1000 brands:

Topics to be discussed during the webinar include:

  • Fundamental insights for your September – December planning guide across creative, media and merchandise
  • Identifying which social platforms yield the highest conversation rates
  • How you can optimize your brand creative for eComm
  • How you can grow and gain more control over your brand presence on Amazon

You can download the full MikMak holiday e-commerce guide here. As a high-level overview, here are a few of the key findings:

  • Instagram saw the strongest add-to-cart conversion rates (9.5%), while Snap had the lowest (0.9%)
  • The highest add-to-cart rates and time spent on product details pages occurred before Black Friday underscoring a trend to get ahead of the holiday shopping curve
  • Add-to-cart rates were higher in early December versus Black Friday and Cyber Monday indicating people are opting to invest early.

Don’t miss your chance to attend the free webinar taking place on Thursday, September 19th, at 1pm EST. Fill out the form below to join.

Join 100,000+ fellow marketers who advance their skills and knowledge by subscribing to our weekly newsletter.

WATCH THE SMWLDN 2019 PROMO

The post WEBINAR: Prepare Your Brand for e-Commerce Success This Holiday Season with MikMak appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2019/09/webinar-prepare-your-brand-for-e-commerce-success-this-holiday-season-with-mikmak/

PODCAST: How Video Can Drive eCommerce Conversions with Rachel Tipograph, Founder & CEO of MikMak

This week’s episode of Social Media Week’s Leads2Scale podcast features Rachel Tipograph, Founder & CEO, MikMak, a next generation eCommerce platform.

Before founding MikMak, Rachel was the global director of social media at The Gap overseeing strategy, implementation and measurement.

During her career she has received a number of accolades including being named one of Forbes’ “30 under 30 Who Are Changing The World” and was one of AdAge’s “Most Creative People of The Year.”

During the conversation, Rachel discussed:

  • Her time at GAP and some of the strategic initiatives she led during her time
  • The journey between leaving GAP and starting MikMak
  • How brands are leveraging the MikMak platform
  • Her thoughts on Facebook’s recent announcements and what Instagram’s new checkout feature means for eCommerce companies

Listen to the full episode below:

Subscribe to Leads2Scale on Anchor, Apple Podcasts, Breaker, Google Podcasts, Pocket Casts, RadioPublic, Spotify, Castbox, Overcast, or Stitcher.

If you have suggestions for who we should interview or what topics you would like us to cover, please reach out to us at leads2scale@socialmediaweek.org.

Join 100,000+ fellow marketers who advance their skills and knowledge by subscribing to our weekly newsletter.

WATCH OUR 2019 PROMO

The post PODCAST: How Video Can Drive eCommerce Conversions with Rachel Tipograph, Founder & CEO of MikMak appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2019/03/podcast-how-video-can-drive-ecommerce-conversions-with-rachel-tipograph-founder-ceo-of-mikmak/

Shop Now: Your Guide to Native Ecommerce on Social Media

As brands like Instagram and Pinterest have learned, it doesn’t take much to drive a customer from inspiration to purchase. And their growth has depended, in part, on making that purchase part effortless. Instagram took the latest step toward its transformation into your personal digital mall with Instagram Checkout. The feature will allow aspiring shoppers to make purchases without leaving the app. Over time, more brands will be added and new companies will be able to take advantage of this seamless shopping experience.

In honor of this announcement, we figured we’d provide a roundup of the many existing ecommerce options available on some of your favorite social media platforms.

Instagram

In addition to the forthcoming Checkout feature, brands have had the ability to “tag” products on Business accounts since 2017, with these tags serving as links to the product on an external site for purchase. Brands not selected for the Checkout feature will continue to have the “tag” option to fuel their own ecommerce, though it will direct users away from the app to make purchases.

Pro: For selected brands, Checkout will afford an opportunity to connect users to your brand without pulling them away from the Instagram app- keeping your feed in their sights through it all.

Con: At least for the time being, this immersive shopping opportunity isn’t available for all brands in equal measure.

Facebook

Businesses wishing to sell physical items on Facebook can set up shops on their business Pages. There is no minimum transaction amount to host this online store, and all transactions are conducted inside Facebook- so no worries about directing buyers away from your Page. And as with other features of the platform, there is ample support and guidance on how to run a successful shop- so be sure to take advantage of these resources, should you choose to host an online store here.

Pro: For small businesses, Shop for Pages provides a low-cost method to expose your products to a dedicated audience.

Con: For businesses with a more expansive inventory, it could become unwieldy or time-consuming to offer it all in this type of environment.

LinkedIn

Given the considerable bias toward physical products for ecommerce, it shouldn’t surprise you that LinkedIn doesn’t have a presence in this market at the moment. Their only sellable product, educational materials through the Learning collaboration with Lynda, can’t be sold a la carte, instead requiring a monthly fee which provides access to their full library of courses.

Pro: For organizations aiming to offer their teams training in an affordable and accessible fashion, LinkedIn for Learning is an affordable option.

Con: Obviously, it’s not an effective commerce option for anything else.

Pinterest

Prior to Instagram’s meteoric rise as a brand-booster, Pinterest wore this crown with bombast. And ahead of its IPO, it’s still hoping to maintain its hold on shoppers who so often use the platform for inspiration. Its latest shopping tools, announced earlier this month, utilize “product pins” to allow shoppers to buy many of the items inspiring their aesthetic. These product pins join their buyable pins (originally introduced in 2015), as well as the capability for all businesses to post Shopping Ads. For visually inspired shoppers, Pinterest is a natural destination that brands should take advantage of.

Pro: The platform is well suited to help “pinspired” shoppers complete their vision.

Con: While product pins allow seamless in-app purchases, buyable pins and Shopping Ads would pull shoppers away from the platform.

Tumblr and Twitter

While other platforms seem to be leaning toward making in-app purchases simpler, Twitter is leaning away.

Previously developed and deployed products like “Buy Now” buttons for individual tweets, Product Pages that would collate product-oriented tweets into an easily shoppable page, and Twitter Cards, have all been discontinued. The result? The rise of third-party tools like Shopify, which have stepped in to make shopping options on the platform more straightforward.

Tumblr is another platform that, while promising as a space to generate leads for niche products, has also declined to develop native ecommerce tools. Third party tools like Shopify and BlkDot have stepped in to fill in the void.

Pro: It’s not strictly impossible to sell on either of these platforms, and they are fertile for finding passionate and dedicated consumers.

Con: The methods to set up viable commerce experiences can be less intuitive with the help of a third party than they might be with a native tool.

A strong ecommerce presence on social media helps to grow your audience and build strong relationships with customers. Which ones are you using? Which ones have you not yet considered for your brand?

Mastering your presence is essential in a crowded marketplace, and we hope to help you do it at Social Media Week New York. Passes are still available, so register to join us today!

Join 100,000+ fellow marketers who advance their skills and knowledge by subscribing to our weekly newsletter.

WATCH OUR 2019 PROMO

The post Shop Now: Your Guide to Native Ecommerce on Social Media appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2019/03/shop-now-your-guide-to-native-ecommerce-on-social-media/

Pinterest Crosses Key Milestone In Quest To Be a Truly Global Business

Pinterest, the online bulletin board for images of fashion, food, and furniture, took a while to start making money. It took and even longer to build a truly international business. On Thursday, Pinterest revealed that more than half of its users are from outside the U.S., signaling a major step in the company’s transformation into…

http://fortune.com/2016/04/28/pinterest-international-users/

Does your website work for you? – If not engage with a Website Consultant

Does your Business or Company have a Website that works well for the business?

Is it;
Attracting new business enquiries,
Engaging with existing customers, Selling your business strengths,
Making you Stand out in your Industry,
Converting as well as it can be?

If the answer to any or all of these questions is no, and you would like to get your website working better for you, then it is time you engaged with a website consultant.

What is a Website Consultant?

A Website Consultant is someone who can review your website and analysis whether it is fulfilling your objectives and working well for you.

How can a Website Consultant help you?

A website consultant can ensure your website carries the right message for your business. They can ensure that your website is generating the enquiries that you require and that you are converting those enquiries.

A Website Consultant can help your business to achieve business goals and objectives and can ensure that you start standing out, in your sector or beyond.

How do you get a Website Consultant to give you a free consultation?

For a free 1 hour consultation (in South Wales or the South West) with a Website Consultant call: 07517 024979 or email: maconsultancy1@gmail.com

Outside of South Wales or the South West, I can perform an initial consultation online or via phone.

Our Website Consultants can advise on SEO, Website Content, Content Marketing, Blogging, Social Media Marketing, E-commerce, Web Design, Web Functionality, Website Platforms, CMS Systems (Content Management Systems), Website Upgrades, Adwords and other Website Marketing options and many more website related services.

The Does your website work for you? – If not engage with a Website Consultant page was posted “By Mike Armstrong”

IMG_0153.JPG