The Social Commerce Opportunity

February 5, 2020

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If you use the internet, we’re sure you’re already familiar with sponsored content, those pesky ads that initially look like posts your friends have shared. Whether it’s a hotel in the city you’ve just booked a plane ticket to, an oddly specific t-shirt, an Instagram post from your favourite clothing brand, or something you’ve recently googled, forward-looking businesses are already trying to profit from our social media accounts. Dubbed “social commerce”, this trend is likely to grow and intensify in the coming decade. And if you can get out in the vanguard of brands connecting directly with consumers on social, you’ll be poised to have a roaring ‘20s.

The links between social media and eCommerce grow closer with each passing day. And the new synergy between shopping and social is nowhere more apparent than on Instagram, a platform that is attempting to make everything shoppable with its new Instagram Shopping and Checkout features. Instagram is poised to become the hub of the social commerce trend for a variety of reasons. The platform is popular with young people who are constantly online, it is a platform for sharing beautiful photos and short videos (ideal for advertisers), and it has over 500 million daily active users and more than a billion monthly active users. 

Instagram users are also far more open to advertising content than Facebook or Twitter users, who frequently express annoyance with sponsored content. In fact, a third of the most-viewed Instagram Stories come from business accounts, and 60% of users say they enjoy discovering new products via the platform. When Instagram launched its new shopping features, the response from brands that took part in the launch was incredibly positive. The clothing website Natori reported a 1416% increase in traffic within a few weeks, prompting President Ken Natori to say “Instagram has played a major role in helping us build a brand, and we love how the new shopping features allow us to easily showcase our products in a way that feels authentic to the community we have built.”

On Instagram, advertising and content have become essentially one and the same, and the brands utilizing the platform are growing along with the ‘gram. 

Instagram is an ideal platform for clothing, cosmetics, and food-related items. Because of the platform’s focus on photography and short video, it’s a great place to check out the newest styles, get skincare tutorials, and find recipes for your dinner party. By leveraging shoppable content such as videos or recipes, brands can make headache-inducing tasks like back to school shopping, trips to the supermarket and drugstore, or digging through cookbooks easier for their customers. 

But Instagram isn’t the only platform out there, and by devising a strategy for each and precisely targeting your campaigns, you can find ways to reach every type of consumer. TikTok made news last year as its app was downloaded in greater numbers than either Facebook or Instagram. The platform skews younger and is primarily devoted to video content. Videos on TikTok are generally lighthearted and funny, and 15 seconds or so in length. It’s a perfect platform for kid-related content. But remember, if you’re looking to build your brand on this platform, repackaging traditional marketing content is unlikely to yield success.

Facebook still retains the lion’s share of eCommerce dollars spent via social, but most analysts feel that its hold is slipping. Facebook remains a great avenue for referrals, and they have continually worked at building commerce platforms and relationships with brands. 

Meanwhile, Pinterest offers unique opportunities for marketing to families. Comscore reported that in 2019, the platform attracted a whopping 80% of all American mothers who use the internet. Oracle discovered that “Pinterest households” spend 29% more than others. The app is also extremely popular with women planning weddings, a demographic that drops astronomical sums. While Pinterest still doesn’t offer the ability to shop in-app, it drives millions of purchases and has the potential to thrive as social commerce develops.

Another element of social commerce to take into account is the changing nature of searches and search marketing. Forbes recently noted that YouTube has become the world’s second-largest search engine, with an astronomical 3 BILLION searches a month! Because Google owns and promotes YouTube, you can get bang for your marketing buck by creating video content that centers around frequently asked questions and viral trends. And don’t forget to ensure that your content is shoppable.

Remember that when young people want to learn more about a news story, find a recipe, or learn about style trends, they aren’t looking to read a column in The Guardian. They are looking for videos that offer the information they desire, and there’s a strong possibility they’ll find it on YouTube. Make sure you’re there and ready to answer their questions!

Whether you like it or not, social commerce is coming for us all. Technology and social media sites are now ready to offer consumers the opportunity to see a product and buy it without the seams or friction of navigating between websites, filling out forms, or, god forbid, making a trip to the store. We are sure that consumers will fall in love with the ability to make purchases easily, and they’ll be seduced by the infinite variety of products on offer, products endorsed by people they’ve come to trust, whether friends, celebrities, or experts in their fields. Brands like Warby Parker, Revolve, and Larabar which have gotten in on the ground floor have been thriving. If you aren’t building the tools to unlock the power of social commerce, let us help you get yourself in the game! 


On Thursday 27th February Adimo will be hosting a webinar that will address the issues raised in this post. If you are interested in signing up for the webinar click the link below: 


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