We all knew it was coming and now the wheels are in motion. Facebook has announced they’re committed to building more e-commerce features into its social network. These features will include two new ways for merchants to market and sell their products on Facebook, such as an Amazon-lite shopping marketplace for mobile and more shoppable mobile ads.
Facebook knows consumers are spending a lot of time on their platform and more importantly, doing so from their mobile devices. The social platform strongly believes they can and will be leaders in the mobile space. Their vision includes giving users the seamless experience they’re looking for on mobile.
A Mobile Experience
“The experience of shopping on mobile isn’t great,” said Matt Idema, Facebook’s VP of monetization product marketing. “It’s hard for businesses to reach customers. Occasionally those shopping experiences have long load times, and there’s lots of stuff to check out. And we know that people are increasingly going to Facebook to look for and discover products on the platform.” Facebook figures, if consumers are already sharing, commenting and liking products on the platform, why not give users a full marketplace to shop around and complete their purchases. Better yet, why not let consumers finish the process from a platform they know can deliver a mobile-friendly and efficient experience?
Current testing includes the ability for users to shop and purchase clothes and accessories online without ever leaving Facebook. The testing group includes small businesses who have social e-commerce implemented on their page, and also now have the ability to upload product catalogs right to the Facebook platform. The biggest shocker? Facebook will not take a cut even if consumers complete their purchase right on Facebook, instead of on the company’s website. The implications for this new feature regarding ugc marketing are huge.
How It Works
Users will need to locate and click the “More” tab at the bottom of the Facebook app. Shopping will be one of the options they can select in this area. A Facebook algorithm will play a role in deciding which products to show and not show users, based on previous activity. Running ads will not be an option within in the shopping section, so there won’t be any pay to promote from brands and advertisers.
This doesn’t mean retailers can’t advertise their products on Facebook. In fact, Facebook released something even better for brands by giving them the ability to optimize and personalize their ads and related pages. The new mobile ad format offers a blank canvas for brands to create a page that resembles more of an app than an ad. Facebook would like to see advertisers create an experience for their audience. They can do this by taking advantage of full-screen videos, photo carousels and interactive elements.
What it means for Marketers
This is great for everyone who’s trying to sell products more efficiently through the platform. Ads will load faster for users and keep their attention on an ad longer. People are coming to Facebook to connect with friends and family, but also to view and purchase products and interact with brands.
According to Facebook, “Nearly half of people come to Facebook to actively look for products.” Retailers and marketers have an opportunity to sell their products on a platform that’s already receiving high traffic. People already like and know how to use Facebook, so it’s easy an easy transition for users to shift gears to use the platform to find products they want and shop. It is also important to remember the new feature can be highly profitable when combined with effective infulencer marketing campaigns.
Facebook is a high traffic and trusted site for consumers everywhere. Facebook is no longer just a social platform, but a way of life. Shoppable ads is an opportunity for retailers and consumers to participate in an online and mobile-friendly shopping experience like no other. Let’s be honest, e-commerce has blown up over the past few years and it was just a matter of time before Facebook made the experience even better.