Last week the Content Marketing Institute reported “Visual Content Strategy: The new ‘black’ for content marketers.” In essence it is crucial for businesses involved in eCommerce to understand how to use pictures effectively. Why? Because it just might reveal how to get your share of $1.5 trillion (in eCommerce business).
Photographs are best for driving social media engagement
Consider these data points that illustrate the growing importance of images as the driving force in social media content:
Visually driven social media are growing their user bases by leaps and bounds, led by Instagram. The Pew Research Institute reported that Instagram grew its user base last year by nine percent. This translates to 26% of the US adult population is now on Instagram.
Consider how Facebook has evolved as well. According to Business Insider, Facebook users upload 350 million photos every day, making it the largest photo sharing site on the web, leaving Flickr, Picasa and Photobucket in the dust.
And upstart video-sharing platforms Periscope and Meerkat are growing at an exponential rate as well.
A recent survey from Software Advice and Adobe reports that images and photos are the most important social media tactic.
The obvious conclusion is that photography matters when it comes to engaging people in eCommerce. But how can an online business effectively monetize this trend and grow their business in the process?
There is both an “art” and “science” answer to this question. Let’s first examine the science side of the equation:
Social Media “Buy Buttons”
As TIME magazine reported last month “Social media is no longer just ‘social’ it is fast becoming commercial too.”
Instagram is giving advertisers much more powerful tools according to a report in TechCrunch. These tools include “Shop Now,” “Install Now,” and “Sign up” buttons, interest and demographic targeting, and software for efficiently managing huge campaigns. At this point they’ve stopped short of allowing “buy buttons” but appear to moving fast in that direction.
Facebook announced last month that they are testing a new way to make it easier for users to shop on the social network’s app. Facebook cites the problems user have with their mobile shopping experience: difficult navigation, slow load times and too many steps on the way to check-out.
Facebook is testing immersive mobile ads called Canvas. “After clicking on an ad, people will see a fast-loading, full-screen experience where they can browse through a variety of products before going to the retailer’s website to purchase.”
Pinterest launched “buyable pins” earlier this year, and the Marketing Land blog reports that they are working in terms of driving new customer acquisitions. When users see a pin with a blue price, they will know it is buyable. They’ve created a simple secure checkout using Apple Pay and other experienced payment processors.
An attractive feature of buyable pins is Pinterest does not charge a sales commission. The bad news is there is a waitlist for merchants to sign up for this service.
Twitter has also rolled out “buy now” buttons embedded in its tweets. Twitter is partnering with major eCommerce platforms to offer this service, including Bigcommerce, Demandware and Shopify.
Now is the time to jump on this trend
All the major social media sites are making it easier to directly engage users, and then sell to them in new and innovative ways. This translates into growth for your eCommerce business.
Smart digital marketers and eCommerce sites should take note of this opportunity, and at the very least test one or more of these tactics to see how well it works with their products / services and eCommerce platform.
Like all new things there will be a learning curve, some growing pains and points of frustration, but it should be worth it in the long-run. If this seems daunting, simply think about getting a slightly larger part of what eMarketer expects to be the $1.5 trillion consumers will spend via eCommerce this year, while delivering a better user experience in the process.
To learn more about social media buy buttons, be sure to check out these links: