By Louise Elliott
By Louise Elliott
Amazon may dominate the digital shopping ad space, but other players aren’t resting on their heels. Last week, Pinterest, Facebook, Google and Instagram launched new capabilities that aim to remove the friction of online shopping while taking some wind out of Amazon’s sails.
Pinterest has been testing shopping ads with an exclusive set of brands since last year, and it’s no mystery why. According to a Pinterest study, 90 percent of users say they use the platform to make purchase decisions, and 66 percent say they buy something after seeing a brand’s Pin. Pinterest says shopping ad beta advertisers cited larger basket sizes, more new customers, and faster conversions. Ads were moved out of testing and into public availability last week.
You can create ads automatically by pulling images directly from your product feed. Pinterest plans to continue tweaking ads by testing new designs aimed at incorporating “more visual shopping cues.” Shopping ads are an addition to its already available “Shop the Look” program which suggests products similar to a selected Pin and allows for intra-Pin shopping.
Although Facebook has been in the social shopping game since 2015, it continues to make improvements focused on helping brands access and activate audiences. Last week, it debuted three new ad tools all geared towards driving more retail sales. The first update optimizes in-store sales by leveraging machine learning by showing ads to those shoppers most likely to make an in-store purchase, even if they are not an existing customer. The second tool takes an offline concept and gives it a digital update. Retailers can build ad-to-fullscreen “collection ads” that aim to create the curated, luxurious feel of print catalogs. Finally, Facebook has taken a macro approach to dynamic ads by allowing for categories of product groups instead of just focusing on a single product. Facebook hopes this will drive shoppers into the sales funnel earlier by providing a more generalized shopping environment early on.
Social companies are not the only ones building towards an easier, more integrated shopper experience. Google last week launched its new Shopping Actions program, allowing retailers to place their products as sponsored listings on Google Search, Google Express shopping service, and Google Assistant, which feeds into Google Home and smartphones. Shopping Actions lets shoppers use a universal, cross-platform shopping cart which will follow them across devices. You can add toothpaste from your smartphone and cat food from your Google Assistant and they will live within the same Google Express cart.
Although not focused on paid ads, Instagram also launched shopping capabilities to the US in early Q1 2017. Last week, it rolled out the same capabilities in eight additional countries (United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Brazil) proving the program has been successful and valuable for social marketers. These features can only be added to organic posts at the time, however, promoted posts is the next logical step.
According to its launch announcement, Instagram wants the process to be “less transactional and more immersive.” In other words, Instagram is going for a streamlined transition from social follower to social shopper. You can add shopping labels to up to five products per photo or up to 20 products per carousel. Viewers simply tap the image to reveal clickable links, complete with prices, directing to the retailer’s website.
As consumers continue to spend more time on smartphones, the increase in mobile commerce will drive more calls to businesses. Many e-commerce customers will complete their purchase through your digital shopping cart. However, many will prefer to call you to discuss the product or ask questions before finalizing a purchase — especially for products that are more expensive or complex.
To turn those callers into customers, make it easy to reach your business by phone by providing phone numbers or clickable call buttons on your landing pages, website, and business listings on social. In turn, by implementing call tracking and analytics, you can attribute calls from your shopping ads, website, and social posts and pages to measure ROI and make smarter optimizations to drive revenue.
Interested in learning how to generate more inbound calls from your social and search ads? Download The Facebook Playbook to Call Conversions eBook or the new eBook from the folks at Search Engine Journal on Driving More Calls & Customers from AdWords & Bing.
Download our Facebook Playbook for Call Conversions guide to learn how you can generate more inbound calls from your social and search ads.Get the Guide →
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