Electronic commerce is so popular that it has driven the development of new technologies such as BIG DATA that simplify the processing of larger amounts of information. The reasons that drive customers to buy online are very simple, 91% of online shoppers think that effective delivery costs and no surprises are the keys to a successful online purchase.
On the other side of the coin, we have the return process that in many pages is complicated and involves a very long and tedious process, which unlike conventional trade can return instantly. The ‘social commerce’ – the ‘online’ sales driven by social networks – grows to 24% annually and already moves 6.500 million dollars. For brands, it is essential to understand the peculiarities of each network.
The big consumer brands want to draw the attention of the user in social networks. They know what happens there a long time – two and a quarter hours a day, according to the consultancy GlobalWebIndex -, and they want to take the opportunity to contact them. Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or Pinterest can be the scene of the next big battle to win the consumer’s pocket.
The analyzes of the use of networks and consumer behavior point in this line. According to a study by the BI Intelligence consultancy, in 2017 the 500 largest trade companies in the world entered 6,500 million dollars, 24% more than in 2016, with the ‘social commerce’, understood as an ‘online’ sale started in the social networks.
Other consultants have also published reports that reaffirm the growing importance of this sales format. The French company Criteo says in this study that 51% of US consumers know a product on social networks for the first time, and 44% goes to them in search of more information. And according to ViSenze, an artificial intelligence company applied to electronic commerce, a third of online purchases start on social networks.
With these data, it is not surprising that the marketing budgets of consumer companies increasingly take into account social channels, including YouTube. Advertising investment in these media reached in 2017 the 42,000 million dollars, with an annual increase of 32 %. Currently, it is estimated that networks take 11% of marketing budgets, but that figure can rise to 19% in 2022, according to BI Intelligence forecasts.
But not everything is rosy in the ‘social commerce’. The measurement of the impact of campaigns is still a pending issue, and strategists have to be very mindful of the differences in social networks, and their users, to give the spot. These are the four main ones for electronic commerce:
Facebook plays in another league, one where it has little competition, and not only for its more than 2 billion active users worldwide at the end of the third quarter of 2017. In addition, it owns WhatsApp (which is already beginning to appear in the advertising market ) and Instagram, which achieves an almost total penetration among the global Internet population.
Consequently, its strength lies in that it offers sellers ‘online’ the ability to access practically any target or target audience that interests them. Facebook is ‘all over the world’ and is also practically the only social network in which people over 45 participate. In fact, the American demographic that spends more time on Facebook is that of people between 45 and 54 years old.
Instagram users are younger than Facebook users: 59% of Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 use the ‘app’, although its usage among those over 45 is also grown remarkably, according to the comScore specialist firm. With its photographs of dreamy landscapes, sophisticated dishes, and urban fashion, it is a very attractive platform for advertisers, and the brands that are taking advantage of it most are the luxury ones. According to the report of BI Intelligence, 94% of the ‘engagement’ (the commitment of users with the brand) received by the firms of that niche in social networks comes from Instagram.
Another strength of Instagram in social commerce is the importance in the network of the so-called ‘influencers’. Again, luxury brands are the ones that are betting most on these prescribers of social networks.
YouTube has a global audience (1,500 million users) and at the same time local versions for 88 countries, with 76 languages. In 2015, it began to offer brands what it called ‘shopping ads’, in other words, videos in which it linked to the brand’s e-commerce pages, and progressively it has been increasing the options to help sell.
YouTube is also fertile ground for the ‘influencers’ for their ability to influence purchases but, yes, they are much more expensive than Instagram: it is estimated that the publication of someone with more than one million followers on Instagram is an investment $ 50,000, and YouTube about $ 125,000.
Pinterest (the sum in English of ‘pin’ and ‘interest’, a network where ‘pineapple’ or mark with a virtual pin what the user finds interesting) has a more feminine character than its competitors: in the United States 72% of its users are women, and in time of use they represent 86% of the total.
It has several functionalities that facilitate commerce through the social network, such as offering products similar to those that are being ‘pinned’ or the recently introduced search mode ‘ Lens your look ‘, which allows users to find products from combinations of images and text. For example, the user can enter the photo of a jacket and type ‘looks for work’, and so refine the search for similar jackets to succeed in the office. From there to the purchase button there may be only one step.