Social commerce

Social commerce is where online retail or offline purchases are facilitated through social networks. Marketing techniques include:

  • Integrating buy-buttons into social feeds, particularly where products are featured – see examples below.
  • Ad retargeting and marketing via Facebook and Instagram
  • Social sign-in to E-commerce sites

This example from the ComScore State of retail report summarizes the latest social commerce techniques that are now available in users’ feeds on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat.

In late 2019 AdWeek reported that as new brands join Instagram Checkout social commerce users get notified via email to encourage adoption of the channel.

Kevin Simonson, CEO of Metric Digital, a performance marketing agency, said he’s working on testing out the email tool and seeing if the brand gains any lift.

“After working with Facebook for years, they’re doing what they almost always do, which is testing a new advertising product with select disruptor brands, like a couple of our clients, in what’s free ad inventory for them,” Simonson said. “If history repeats itself, they will continue to send free emails until the new product, in this case curated emails you can shop, is so compelling to users that they can charge for ad placements in the email, unlocking new ad inventory and the advertising revenue that comes with it.”


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Dr Dave Chaffey is co-founder and Content Director of digital marketing advice site Smart Insights. We’re a publisher and learning platform that helps our 150,000 active members in over 100 countries plan, manage and optimize their digital marketing activities by applying the actionable advice in our planning templates, guides and interactive e-learning tools.

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