Can Social Drive Footfall?

Twitter and Facebook also appear to have ecommerce front and centre in their strategies. Facebook's planned launch of a "buy now" button would appear to make the most sense because, to borrow a DIY advertising slogan, it does what it says on the proverbial tin. 

Twitter would appear to be in good company with its purchase of CardSpring. Birdback is already empowering shoppers to link deals to cards so they can be fulfilled without needing to remember codes or print out vouchers. The big banks in the UK are already starting to link their loyalty and cashback offers to the cards they issue customers. 

So you could say Twitter is not first, but that would probably be missing the point. While cardlinked offers are already available in the UK, Twitter has a massive global reach and it's hard not to imagine users -- here in the UK and abroad -- not seeing the attraction of clicking a button to assign a deal they have seen in their news stream to their debit or credit card.

The twin moves from the social media giants are, in essence, dissimilar in that Facebook is about the instant buying moment and keeping the transaction online, whereas Twitter is more about a future purchase and taking the purchase in-store, as well as allowing it to be completed online. Buy now is the here and now, whereas card-linked offers are generally being used to convert online interest in to in-store purchases -- remember, despite the hype, four fifths or more of purchases are made within physical shops.

So it will be very interesting to see how the twin strategies play out.

Will Facebook charge more for a "buy now" button? It's pretty hard to imagine that they wouldn't. But will people buy a product just from a post? Would they not want to click on a link to read a bit more about the product and see user reviews? Isn't this what they can already do, just by clicking on a product link from an advertiser's post?

Maybe the call to action will spur people to make lots more purchases and make the new button a runaway success?

I can't help thinking, though, that Twitter's cardlinked offers is the more exciting development. 

For years, social media advertisers have wondered if social can drive footfall. They have unveiled campaigns that say it can, but these typically tend to be for major sales events such as Black Friday, when stores would be packed anyway.I can't help but think people are just joining in the day by tweeting about shopping experiences they were likely to have anyway.

So while Facebook will seek to charge advertisers more, or at least encourage more advertising revenue, from brands for items that could have been bought from a link anyway, Twitter will answer the question that has vexed advertisers for years.

Can social drive football?

Wait a few months and we should begin to get an idea.
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