Studies show that 1 in 10 purchases are now made on social media, a clear indication that new digital touchpoints are emerging for online holiday shopping.
Mobile platforms are said to be the biggest driver on social media purchases, with 57% of consumers confirming that they have bought a product on social using their phones and tablets.
In fact, worldwide spend on social media advertising was up 50.3% at the peak of the 2020 holiday season compared with the same period the year before, according to the latest quarterly report based on Socialbakers’ platform data.
Video content, live streaming in particular, holds the spotlight as it propelled newer shopping capabilities on social media platforms. These social media shopping trends are bound to continue during this year’s holiday shopping season.
Social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok are expected to double down on new and exciting eCommerce features as the holiday season nears.
As consumers start to get used to their purchasing decisions in the pandemic, the holiday shopping habits from the year before will become a routine.
This article will explore how brands can capitalize on social commerce through video ads and help them launch their holiday video campaigns on social media.
Social Commerce: What is it?
In a nutshell, social commerce refers to the brand’s ability to buy and sell products through social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, or TikTok.
Brands will typically use social media video ads to promote their products, and shoppers can search and engage with brands directly on their favorite social media platform. Today, these social media platforms are taking a step further regarding a consumer’s online shopping journey.
Not only can shoppers look for their favorite brands on social media, but they can also now buy their products directly with just a few clicks. Social commerce includes an end-to-end online shopping experience from product research and discovery to checkout.
With this feature, online consumers are now equipped to scroll through a brand’s social media page to watch video content, explore their products, and make a purchase without leaving the social media platform.
The acceleration of social commerce since the onset of the pandemic has created an opportunity for brands during this year’s holiday season. Brands can even curate personalized holiday-centric content that is tailored for their online shoppers. It helps increase brand loyalty, boost online sales, and provide personalized customer service for holiday shoppers.
Brands now have multiple opportunities to interact with existing and prospective customers through social commerce.
As such, social commerce is composed of various facets of the entire online shopping journey, which includes:
· Online Discovery – This is how online shoppers discover a new brand on social media.
· Loyalty – This occurs when consumers follow their favorite brands on social media.
· Engagement – This starts when consumers like, share, and comment on the brand’s social media posts.
· Decision – This occurs when online shoppers will read reviews of different brands to influence their purchase decisions.
· Promotion – This happens when consumers discover new products with video ads.
· Social Proof – This occurs when satisfied customers share their stellar shopping experience on social media as they recommend their favorite brand to friends and family.
· Customer Service – This happens when online consumers access customer support through social media by using messenger, tagging brands, or chatbots.
eCommerce VS Social Commerce: What’s the difference?
Social commerce essentially has the same roots in eCommerce as it possesses the same key features and functionalities. Both channels provide the convenience of buying and selling goods through a digital platform.
eCommerce refers to the online shopping experience of a website or an app. In contrast, social commerce refers to the shopping experience that takes place on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest.
Over the past few years, brands have started to leverage the power of social commerce to provide opportunities that will help drive more revenue for the holiday season. With an annual growth rate of 31.4%, the global social commerce market is expected to grow to USD 604.5 billion by 2027.
Studies show that around 30% of online shoppers will more likely make a purchase on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, or Pinterest. In addition, Pew Research showed that over 84% of online shoppers would review at least one social media platform before making a purchase decision.
A key benefit of social commerce is its “social aspect.” It opens a whole new avenue of engagement between brands and consumers.
Online shoppers will typically discover new products through video ads on social media, and they are then redirected to the brand’s website to purchase. With social commerce, shoppers can have a more seamless online shopping experience as social media platforms allows their users to experience the entire journey within the app.
Every brand worth their salt knows that an effective holiday marketing strategy involves an omnichannel approach.
This gives them multiple opportunities for consumer touchpoints – thereby giving holiday shoppers a better chance to engage with the brand anytime across various devices and multiple social media channels.
These social channels need to have one cohesive approach to helping boost brand recognition, generate sales, and create one seamless holiday shopping experience for consumers.
Rise of Social Commerce for the 2021 Holidays: What to look out for?
For brands looking for ways to increase their online sales for the 2021 holidays, social commerce is quickly becoming one of the most effective ways to do it.
From the introduction of Facebook Marketplace way back in 2007, social commerce has grown into such a massive online initiative with shoppable pages, buttons, and product tags. In 2021, most of the popular social media platforms have social commerce opportunities for brands.
Besides creating a seamless holiday shopping experience, here’s what brands can look out for in social commerce integration for the 2021 holiday shopping season:
· Accelerated consumer growth.
The effective use of social commerce channels will help brands reach their target market more effectively during the holiday season. With around 4.2 billion active social media users worldwide, driving consumer growth is essential, especially during the peak of holiday shopping.
· Increased search rankings.
Studies showed a direct correlation between the increased engagement on social media and a brand’s impact on website traffic. In addition, social signals such as likes, shares, followers, and brand mentions have been proven to increase a brand’s organic search rankings. Therefore, driving engagement on social media will also improve a brand’s overall online presence and visibility.
· Drive authenticity, engagement, and brand loyalty.
Social commerce initiatives improve relationships with the target audience and allow brands to sell and promote products to new consumers. Brands can leverage this holiday opportunity to drive awareness to online holiday shoppers and build loyalty for their holiday promotions.
This is also a good opportunity for brands to create personalized and localized content to enhance their customer service experience. Locally relevant ads are perceived to be highly personalized and can dramatically increase local businesses’ consumer engagement. Shakr can help brands connect with holiday shoppers in a whole new meaningful way with their hyper-personalized campaign creative at scale.
· Livestream shopping is changing the game.
Livestream shopping has been booming over the past year. It allows brands to connect with consumers and highlight holiday products and promotions in a manner that cannot be done through conventional eCommerce initiatives. Brands can answer direct questions from viewers, demonstrate products, and sell merchandise live. It’s also an opportunity for holiday shoppers to see the faces behind the brand and foster a deeper connection with consumers.
· AI-enabled social shopping.
With AI on the rise in the tech industry, brands are seeing how consumer data can help inform their holiday social commerce strategy. In addition, AI-powered smart selling tools such as social media automation can help brands efficiently manage their social commerce platforms during the holiday season.
Essential Social Commerce Platforms to Consider for the 2021 Holidays
Instagram is still one of the most popular platforms for social commerce. It’s naturally visual and interactive, making it the ideal platform for social shopping. Holiday shoppers can just follow their favorite brands and discover new products with Instagram Ads.
· New Feature: Limited product release for a certain period
Instagram now allows sellers to release limited quantities of products for a short period of time. It’s a great feature for holiday promotions as it creates a greater demand for the product. By taking advantage of this feature, brands can generate buzz around their holiday products and gift guides during the peak season.
Facebook has been ramping up its social commerce capabilities over the years. This platform has a massive potential for brands in terms of growing their followers and increasing their online sales. Not only are brands reaping the benefits of targeted Facebook Ads for the holidays, but they can also create Shop Now stores to improve sales and support with automated messenger bots.
· New feature: Shopify and Facebook integration
Facebook’s Shopify Integration gives brands the ability to manage the Facebook and Instagram storefront in one place. This integration makes it easier for brands to engage with customers and at the same time manage their eCommerce inventory in one location.
TikTok has had exponential growth over the past year since 2020. The platform has shown great popularity among the younger generation, and it allows users to create short-form video content. Research shows that 36% of the Gen Z audience on TikTok have made a purchase based on the video recommendations on the app. This is an excellent opportunity for brands that want to target the younger generation for the holiday season.
· New Feature: Shoppable Ads
TikTok recently introduced its Shoppable Ads feature along with a feature that allows brands to showcase their product catalog. As one of the most popular social media platforms today, brands need to stay on top of the new in-app shopping or video ad features that TikTok deploys.
Pinterest is not just a social media platform. It also works similar to a search engine like Google and Bing to rank popular content on the platform. For example, whenever a user searches for a product or outfit inspirations, the algorithm determines the best content that matches their search.
· New Feature: Shopping Lists
Pinterest now enables users to save their Product Pins on a shopping list. This feature will easily allow holiday shoppers to find products that they are interested in. Pinterest will even send out notifications that remind consumers about the products that they saved.
Tips and Tricks for the 2021 Holidays Social Commerce Success
TIP 1: Engage with the audience where they are through localization.
Social commerce is the perfect tool for brands to have genuine interaction with their holiday shoppers in real-time. Holiday shoppers want to feel that there is more to just buying the products. They want to be engaged with brands they genuinely care about. Social commerce features can give a sense of community among the brand’s local audience.
TIP 2: Leverage audience engagement and insights.
Social media offers vital insights about the brand and its target audience during the holidays. By exploring a range of features on social media platforms such as direct messages, hashtags, mentions, and location tags, brands can gain valuable information on audience behavior and preferences for the upcoming holiday shopping season.
TIP 3: Invest in festive video ads copy and visuals.
The holidays are indeed a season for gift-giving. As such, brands also need to maximize their social commerce strategy with festive copy alongside eye-catching visuals. Brands need to create one cohesive and identifiable holiday visual identity to help holiday shoppers easily recognize the brand as they explore their feed and browse their product catalog where they can potentially make a purchase.
TIP 4: Consider promotional video ads.
Since social commerce is a relatively new feature on social media platforms, it might be uncommon for holiday shoppers to go directly on social media and purchase specific products. Most purchases made over the holidays on social media are impulse buys from product discovery. Brands need to keep in mind that video ads that showcase holiday promotions tend to sell better on social media.
TIP 5: Leverage shoppable AR tech.
Over the past few years, shoppable augmented reality (AR) technology has been one of the most popular features among social media platforms. With TikTok, Instagram, and Snapchat launching the ability to use AR filters, brands have been using this technology to help enhance the digital shopping experience of their consumers.
Video Ads Strategies to Drive Social Commerce Success for the Holidays
STRATEGY 1: On-brand social media stories
The story feature on social media is being used by hundreds of millions of consumers every day. And there’s a reason why stories are popular – it allows users to share experiences in creative ways. It’s a great feature to keep holiday shoppers engaged and curious in the days leading up to the Mega Sale Days. Brands can make stories a new type of digital storefront where holiday shoppers can have sneak peeks of the brand’s holiday product catalogs and promotions.
STRATEGY 2: A clear and well-thought video content calendar
The Mega Sale Days on social media are filled with product offers, all vying for consumer engagement. A study from Mention revealed that video content gets the most engagement on social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook. It was found that video ads are better at driving views and engagements than photos or image carousels.
Now brands no longer have to spend too much time creating those perfect video ads for the holiday season.
STRATEGY 3: Personalized video ads
The clamor to gain a consumer’s attention has never been as competitive as it was today. This is why personalization and localization make a big difference for brands during the holidays. It’s a great strategy that helps brands cut through the noise of massive online holiday campaigns this year.