Back in May of this year, Facebook rolled out Facebook Shops in the US. This is an area within the Facebook app where, as a business, you could put your merchandise up for sale. Then in July they expanded Shops to include Instagram, and added some more functionality to allow greater customization.
In an August 25 press release, Facebook announced that they were creating a new Shops tab within the Facebook app to allow for greater visibility and discovery of brands, and they are expanding Instagram Checkouts.
Why Did They Do It?
For a while now Facebook has been moving along a path to become an all-encompassing ecosystem, an ecosystem where people can discover, browse, and purchase products without ever having to leave their family of apps. And these latest releases are just a few more steps toward completing this journey.
All of these moves help to secure Facebook’s continued dominance in the social media space by creating more diverse revenue streams for the company. This is especially important as digital advertising revenue continues to fall under scrutiny, and there is looming threat that many browsers are going to remove tracking pixels altogether. The latter of which would greatly interfere with Facebook’s data collection which is critical to its advertising insights and in turn the company’s financial success.
What Does This Mean For Brands and Marketers?
Well first off, this means that it has become even more important for brands to get their Facebook and Instagram shopping pages created and loaded with products. With a whole new tab devoted to this channel and the increased ease with which people can buy, thanks to Instagram Checkout, it seems like a no-brainer when looking to increase revenue.
The next thing to consider is your marketing mix. I understand that this is going to sound a little self-serving coming from an influencer marketing agency, BUT these new features increase the value of having influencers in your marketing mix.
Now hear me out on this: with your customers now being able to go from discovery (via influencers) to checkout directly on the app, traditional off-site retargeting and paid social ads designed to drive people to your website are no longer the only game in town when it comes to pushing people through your funnel.
Now, I’m not saying in the least that you should get rid of these other channels, but what I am saying is that you should start re-evaluating your budget distribution leading into Q4 if your customers don’t need to leave the comfort of their favorite shoppable apps in order to buy everything in their feed (and on their holiday shopping lists).
As Facebook rolls out more features like this, and rolls them out to other regions beyond the US, having these highly engaging visual assets and fully-integrated strategies in place are going to become increasingly important. Don’t be the last one to get to this party, and get stuck trying to use the last dill pickle-flavored chip to scrape out the corners of the off-brand salsa. Be the early adopters, make your mark, and go attack that full bowl of guacamole with a nice full-sized Tostito.