When it comes to conversion-boosting e-commerce selling channels, there is no shortage of ways to achieve a solid ROI and grow a business…
When it comes to conversion-boosting eCommerce selling channels, there is no shortage of ways to achieve a solid ROI and grow a business. Between direct traffic, organic search, paid media and social media marketing, online brands have both the luxury and horror of balancing their marketing spend across diverse mediums to reach and engage as many consumers as possible.
While three of these four channels are rather straightforward, executing and measuring social media marketing performance is extremely difficult. Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter are commonly referenced with effective ROIs. Instagram is too often absent from the discussion.Is Instagram a Viable eCommerce Selling Channel?Click To Tweet
Is Instagram a viable e-commerce selling channel? Let’s dig in below.
A Platform of Engaged Users
According to July 2018 data, Instagram has the sixth-most monthly active users (MAU) of all social media platforms with one billion accounts. Facebook has nearly 2.2 billion MAUs. They are followed by YouTube and chat apps Messenger, WhatsApp and WeChat.
Though Instagram has less than half the MAUs of Facebook, 68 percent of Instagram users regularly engage with brands, compared to 32 percent of Facebook users. Unlike other popular social media platforms, Instagram is still mostly comprised of user-generated content. This allows savvy, creative marketers to stand out if they can compel users with high-quality creatives.
But do these things solidify Instagram’s effectiveness as an e-commerce conversion driver? The jury’s still out.
Like its parent company, Facebook, Instagram implemented an algorithm update in 2016 to offer users more personalized feeds. Instagram would show posts out of order, based on the relevancy of the post to the user. Co-Founder and CEO of Instagram, Kevin Systrom, was quoted at the time, telling the New York Times:
“On average, people miss about 70 percent of the posts in their Instagram feed. What this is about is making sure that the 30 percent you see is the best 30 percent possible.”
This development, aimed at ensuring users don’t miss the best and most relevant content based on the accounts they follow, undoubtedly creates a better user experience. This forces brands to offer top-notch content if they want to be shown on their followers’ feeds.
User-Generated & Influencer Content Grows Your Reach
In today’s choice-heavy, on-demand market, it takes more than a company mission and use cases to captivate customers. That’s where adequate social proof, behind-the-scenes brand storytelling and influencer marketing come in handy. A brand’s Instagram account that is littered with sales-focused product photos will be ignored.
User-generated content and influencer marketing works because audiences resonate more with custom, organic messaging. Imagine a brand is selling custom furniture online. Would posts showing the furniture in an obviously staged home intrigue you more than someone candidly lounging ? Probably not.
When that person happens to have a plethora of followers and a seemingly great life, aka an influencer, even the simplest association with your brand can result in strong ROI.
To increase the amount of user-generated content you have to draw from, state in your business’ page description that you might feature posts that tag your brand. The process of collecting user-generated content on Instagram requires very little time and effort for the potential impact, as users love when brands feature their posts.
For influencers, the debate rages on, but it’s wise to start by experimenting with micro-influencers that have specific, targeted followings. Macro-influencers can be effective as well — but their loyalty comes with luxury price tags due to their vast audiences. Think of micro-influencers as helping your conversions. Macro-influencers as spreading brand awareness, as the latter will have much lower engagement rates than the former.
There’s no guarantee that Instagram will do wonders for your e-commerce conversions. Highly engaged users that love to browse and shop. Plenty of opportunities exist for brands that can go beyond generic self-interested content. Showcasing their brand through high-quality images, user-generated content and the right influencer partnerships.
Once you have your audience’s attention, it’s easy to include mobile-optimized landing pages to accomplish a variety of goals. Goals ranging from building an email list to driving traffic to category pages. When deciding if Instagram is a viable e-commerce selling channel, be sure to experiment with your content. Always track performance and iterate from there.