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How social commerce will succeed and shopping as entertainment will become big

How social commerce will succeed and shopping as entertainment will become big

Social Commerce: Traditional ad formats on social channels will face a jolt as Facebook and others aggressively test new ad experiences to drive purchases without leaving the platform.

Social Commerce: From cars to TV to the Internet, changes in consumer social behavior are leading to changes in buying behavior and increasingly towards social commerce. The reason many brands dismissed or underestimated Amazon's disruptive power early on is because they misjudged the magnitude and speed at which these social changes are now influencing business decisions in the Internet age. What has become clear over the last decade or so is that while consumers still like to touch and feel physical products, modern e-commerce sites have changed their ability to discover, compare, read reviews and get recommendations on new products - and they like it that way.

Today, it's estimated that the amount of time U.S. adults spend on their mobile devices surpasses the amount of time they spend watching TV, and social platforms take up large portions of that time. For brands that don't want to get caught flat-footed again, it's important to lay the groundwork for making social commerce a reality.

This requires a strategic mindset that reflects the future of the shopping experience, which you can generalize by proceeding in four distinct phases:

  1. Comfort
  2. Shopping as a game
  3. Shopping as a discovery tour
  4. Shopping for entertainment

Today's ecommerce channels mainly deliver on points 1 and 2, while 3 and 4 are more forward-looking trends to build on. Social commerce delivers on both fronts much more easily than traditional e-commerce channels, as it is a much more natural extension of existing consumer behavior.

As Mary Meeker pointed out in her recent Internet Trends Report, the ongoing shift in how consumers spend their time online has already introduced them to newer transaction methods. Purchase buttons, mobile payments and P2P transfers - features that have only recently become widespread - are already capturing significant portions of transaction activity.

While brand names are still meaningful, consumers are increasingly seeking external validation of product quality, fit, design, etc. E-commerce and social platforms have opened up access to influencer endorsements or reviews, the latter of which are more commonly used by consumers of all ages to evaluate products and are particularly popular among younger demographics.

This preference for external validation, combined with changing media consumption habits, means that consumers are increasingly discovering and later buying products they first saw on social channels.

Brands looking to capitalize on these trends have had to operate in a number of relatively traditional direct-response style ad formats on social channels to target specific groups of consumers who are likely to be interested, and hopefully get them to purchase on a separate outlet. But Facebook and other channels are aggressively testing new ad experiences on their platforms, including the ability for users to move from viewing a post to purchasing an item without leaving the platform.

On Instagram, these tests have so far been relegated to pre-selected clothing brands. Among the brands my employer has worked with these experiments, feedback has been positive so far, but Instagram is understandably moving cautiously before rolling out these promotional products across the board. Use this as an opportunity for brands to work with paid media contacts you have on Instagram and other social channels. Get a better handle on when your brand might be eligible to test these ad units, and prepare your internal organization to execute the front- and back-end elements these ads need to be successful. This also applies to marketing budgets, which should be allocated based on the intertwining of commerce and brand marketing in order to use them more effectively on these new channels. Contact us and let an expert advise you.

Original article: Marketing Land