Over the last few years, brands and marketers have seen drastic changes in consumers’ shopping habits, with an overwhelming shift toward online and digital shopping. Just look at the hype surrounding cyber Monday and the increased interest in purchasing items online instead of waiting in line at the store for hours. This move becomes even more noticeable during the fall and winter months when people prepare for holiday shopping.
Last year, we noted a sharp increase in digital shopping both on Black Friday and Cyber Monday when compared to the previous year and we’re expecting to see that activity continue to grow this year. With the convenience of online shopping and the ability to plan purchases ahead of time without leaving your home, it is not a surprise that a survey by the National Retail Federation found that 59% of consumers selected online stores as their preferred shopping destination for the upcoming 2017 holiday season.
This interest in ecommerce gives brands a big opportunity with their influencer marketing and social media campaigns as consumers scroll through endless feeds of clothing, toys, home goods and other products looking for ideas of what to purchase. We’ve already determined how engaging influencers, particularly micro-influencers, can be among their audiences, which makes them very valuable to seasonal marketing campaigns where an influencer recommendation can go a long way in convincing shoppers to purchase certain products. This, coupled with new opportunities for ROI measurement, makes ecommerce even more appealing for influencer marketing planning.
This year, we’re seeing newly-introduced features on multiple social media platforms, each of which can help brands improve the accuracy of their ad-engagement measurements and work more efficiently with the right influencers.
- Embedded Links. Influencers and advertisers can now add embedded links into Snapchat and Instagram stories, which add another level of convenience through a direct path to purchase – allowing shoppers to travel directly from an influencer’s post to the purchase page when they see something they like.
- Consumer Targeting. New targeting features, like those rolled out by Facebook, allow brands to boost their influencers’ posts to hit even more specific audiences. Many already think Facebook’s algorithm suppresses organic content unless it has a paid spend behind it. These tools allow the brands to see real metrics and better reach their audience with their spend.
- New polls for Instagram stories allow users to pose a question for their followers and track responses in real-time. Influencers now have a new channel for tracking engagement and the feedback gained can help brands receive new insights for product and campaign development.
- Snapchat recently announced a conversion pixel that allows advertisers to track specific actions that someone takes after seeing an ad – a big move for direct response marketers looking to assess whether ads seen in the app lead to site traffic. This feature has the potential to be useful for influencer marketing campaigns in the future, as Snapchat is expected to add targeting capabilities to the pixel system by the end of this year.
Features such as these will help brands find new ways to break through the clutter of holiday advertising and really hone in on the customers who would be most interested in their content. Additionally, this evolution of social platforms will likely help brands exert more control over their influencer marketing and social media campaigns. Consumers are very loyal to their favorite influencers and willing to trust their recommendations on products and services. New features on these platforms create more ways for brands to measure this engagement and track ROI for their holiday campaigns.