Navigating the world of social commerce in 2023

By Gianni Casagrande, Managing Director

As social media becomes the new global storefront, it’s no surprise that the term ‘social commerce’ has risen to the top of marketing buzzwords over the past couple of years. But what does it actually mean, and how can retailers adapt the latest performance marketing/content strategies to help fuel their growth during turbulent economic times? 

We’re expecting to see 5 billion active social media users on the platform by the end of 2023, and annual social sales trending past $1 trillion with no slowing down – propelled by content creators and influencers, digital savvy customers and modern culture shifting towards a social first search strategy as traditional search declines. Predictions suggest over the next 4 years, social transactions will reach upwards of $8.1 trillion as more traditional commerce shifts online. 

The question is, how do retailers capitalise on a social reliant population, and stay at the forefront of their customers in a super competitive landscape? With over 2 billion people expected to shop on social media in 2023, the number one success factor for advertisers globally is ‘to be seen’. 

So what does social commerce mean exactly? 

In summary, it’s the process of buying/selling goods directly on social media platforms, from the point of inspiration to transaction. Some of these transactions can happen on the advertisers site, or more recently right inside the social app itself. It’s the combination of seeing your favourite brands/influencers endorsing a product and feeling instantly inspired, to the seamless few taps allowing that product to be delivered straight to your door without even leaving the sofa. 

Research shows that over 33% of the US have made a purchase through social media, and over 60% of many countries including the UK, Germany, Brazil, and Japan follow social media influencers to get inspiration and feel connected. This takes us to our first tactic for keeping your customers engaged and ready to take action. 

Adopting a 2023 video first content strategy. 

We’ve been saying adopt a video first content strategy for a long time, but already that dialogue has changed and shifted. Previously brands would create expensive, high quality production content with their ‘seasonal release campaign’ to showcase their latest products and collections, however things are changing and it’s become easier to get onboard. We’re seeing lower production, user generated content working better than traditional high production content and these results aren’t slowing down. 

With the likes of TikTok taking over the world, users are familiar with vertical video short form content showcasing the product in under 15 seconds. At FUTCOM, we’re encouraging clients to take out their phones and create small short form videos to showcase their products from the comfort of their homes/offices, and guess what… most are performing around 35-67% better than their previous older (expensive) content! 

If you have the budget to work with content creators, search through TikTok to find influencers that can create this content for you. Usually they know the tips and tricks to help drive better CTA and align your activity with current trends.

It’s a new era where people want to get to the point – quick, and it couldn’t be easier to create content that packs a punch in 2023. 

Utilising the latest advancements in ad platforms. 

The likes of Meta, Pinterest and TikTok are investing billions into making their platforms outperform the rest, hold onto users and help them take action. They’re also developing new ways to futureproof your marketing efforts, as analytics get cloudy, legacy solutions become redundant, and the social ecosystem becomes even more crowded. 

Since mid-last year, we’ve been driving success by adopting solutions like the brand new Advantage+ releases into our clients campaigns, helping improve personalisation, budget efficiency, and better all round targeting to help keep our clients ads at the forefront of their customers newsfeeds. We’ve also been looking at new ways to optimise signals, like experimenting with the brand new outbound clicks optimisation on Pinterest, to improve the relevancy of the traffic we’re driving to our clients sites.

Be sure to also adopt your conversion API’s across all these platforms, to help build an even better picture of your marketing efforts, and fuel essential data back into the platforms for optimisation and targeting. 

On average our clients are seeing a 23-54% increase in performance since adopting the majority of the latest releases in Q3-4 2023. 

Now we’re not saying all ‘platform best practices’ and new releases work, but it’s the testing part that’s key! These platforms are evolving to help you as an advertiser succeed, so testing new is essential in your platform growth and performance strategy. 

Cross platform data sharing

For many years, brands and retailers have acted very silo when it comes to their individual marketing channels. Yes they may syncronise on the same promotion, but what about how they can support each other from a data point of view? At FUTCOM, we ensure there’s actual collaboration between marketing channels, including integration between our clients CRM, feed optimisation and sharing data across channels such as Google Ads. 

A common example of this is collecting email marketing data via social media, and sending that customer down a personalised email marketing journey that’s social media related, different to their main welcome flow. 

By doing this, we can personalise the experience with imagery and copy that’s related to social, inspiring the user through different ways for example showcasing UGC imagery, content creator artwork, and even a simple thank you to the customer for discovering them through social media. We would then send certain mailing lists opted in for marketing back through to Meta, for retargeting purposes or use for lookalikes. 

Over the past 6 months, CRM lookalike audiences have outperformed other 1st party data sources on many retailers accounts, overlaying this with value based data like LTV can further enhance the quality and performance of this data too. 

Another example is using purchase data from other channels to help fuel prospecting on social media. A common success story for our clients is showcasing best sellers via Google Ads, to prospective customers on social. By doing this, you can keep products freshed based on what’s trending to inspire new and potential customers. 

Personalisation is key for 2023, and by creating a seamless, syncronised journey between channels can help build that incremental growth this year. 

What are the next steps for me as a brand or retailer?

Social media continues to become a pivotal part of our lives, and the explosive growth in e-commerce this year will create more reasons, opportunities and possibilities for brands to create social commerce experiences. 

The customer today is looking for frictionless shopping experiences, no matter where they are in the world. But to flourish in social commerce, marketers must understand what data they have access to, create content that showcases their offering (simple and fast!) and take advantage of what social platforms are creating to help advertisers succeed.