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Adding "Buy Now" to the Online Conversation

Imagine spending 3 hours walking around town on a freezing cold winter’s day, looking for a Christmas present for your niece. She specifically wants a pink Disney doll house, but you’ve left it too late (as usual) and it’s sold out everywhere. You head to Twitter to complain and to try find any hope whatsoever that it could be in stock. Somewhere.  Anywhere. You hope for a Christmas miracle.

Almost like magic, an ad from Smyths Toys pops up offering the exact pink Disney doll house. Excited, you click ‘Buy Now’ and confirm. Job done. The product is on its way to your house. Just in the nick of time for Christmas, before you make your niece upset for not getting the exact toy she so badly wanted.

I bet you are thinking, "Surely that's not possible." Soon it will be.

And it may just change the way social networks operate.

Both Facebook and Twitter have been open and honest about testing a ‘buy now’ button on their respective platforms. But there are still many questions left unanswered: "How much will this cost? Will it benefit my customers? How can I target consumers at the moment they wish to purchase the product?"

Putting a Price on Convenience

One of the burning questions for agencies like us is the pricing model which will be used, and how it will benefit our clients. Facebook have historically charged advertisers on a bidding basis; bidding for engagement, bidding for website clicks etc. With this in mind, it is most likely that Facebook will charge on a bidding for conversion model, while also still potentially charging a set fee per sale. Whatever the pricing model, brands will flock to Facebook if it can provide direct sales.

Twitter, in contrast, operates a different pricing model. On Twitter, advertisers are charged on a cost per engagement model, so we only pay once the engagement occurs. Recently, Twitter has kept this pricing model the same throughout their new products; cost per app download/engagement and cost per video view being two of the recently launched products. We can assume Twitter will maintain this with the buy now button, so a cost per conversion model will be expected, with advertisers only paying once the conversion has taken place.

How do we target individuals with the buy now feature? Target moments.

Targeting will always be the difference between a campaign performing well and not so well. There is no benefit to using broad targeting on either platform when trying to sell anything; from socks to rock climbing gear.

On Facebook, there are two targeting options that excite when it comes to the buy now button: Geo location targeting and income targeting. These two can be used together in order to create a huge number of conversions. We will be able to target people in a very specific location, who can actually afford the product, and not to mention have shown prior interest in the product/similar products.

obama twitter

Though not an ad, the Obama campaign capitalised on a moment in time.

However, Twitter might have an ace up its sleeve. The real benefit of Twitter is targeting moments. This is how Twitter is built as a platform, and how it could win the battle with Facebook for the buy now feature. Twitter has many stand out moments, from astronauts live tweeting in space, to Obama’s famous ‘four more years’ Tweet. Recently, brands have started to join and engage with these moments, none more evident than the tweets which followed the famous Oscar selfie.

brad pitt

Justeat.ie captured this audience perfectly.

Twitter structures its platform around moments.

Reaching users in the same way Google does: Search.

Much like how Google works, Twitter can also be used to reach individuals who search for a particular word or phrase through its use of hashtags. If an individual searches for a particular product, chances are they are either thinking about or planning to purchase the product, or a similar product. Google and Twitter can use this consumer data to highly target specific individuals with specific creative in order to drive sales. This keyword targeting will perform extraordinarily well in the run up to Christmas, with people struggling to find a particular product in stock or that perfect gift for their spouse. Advertisers will be eagerly waiting to capture this audience.

Consumers join the conversation with brands, brands know how to talk to consumers.

Twitter users go onto the platform to ‘join the conversation’ with others, with brands being able to join into the conversation which is happening already. With the release of TV Conversation targeting, and the soon to be released movie targeting, Twitter will be best placed for brands to implement the buy now button.

We all have the same problem every Saturday night. Sitting down, deciding if you’ll watch The X Factor or Strictly Come Dancing, thinking about what to have for dinner. (It's not just me, surely?) You’re too lazy to cook; the only other option is a takeaway. But here is another problem, there is too much choice: Indian, pizza, Chinese, chipper. The list is endless. You check Twitter to take your mind off what feels like an important, life defining decision. (Again... surely not just me?)

Thankfully, you notice a Tweet from Domino’s pizza, offering a ‘Meal Deal’ at a discounted rate. Before you even think about it, you have ordered dinner in 2 clicks, and it’s on its way to you already. And you never even leave the app. You’re straight back to checking Jedward's latest tweets before you know it.

From a consumer point of view it’s perfect. You get offered the right product, at the right price, at the right moment.

From an advertiser point of view, it’s perfect too. You create your campaign to target consumers, knowing exactly how and when to reach them by using a mix of TV, movie and keyword targeting. You offer them a great price that’s only available for their Twitter followers. If you really want, you can put in a vine or a quick video to entice your consumers even further.

Twitter is better than Facebook at real time marketing

This isn’t possible on Facebook due to the updates in its algorithm. Facebook lags behind Twitter in real time marketing. Yes, it still serves a purpose. But by the time users on Facebook see the Dominos offer, the moment will be gone due to the lag in the ad going live, and the mess of what is the Facebook newsfeed. Selling a jumper or theatre tickets will still work really well, and Facebook will still have the upper hand when it comes to long, planned out campaigns. But when it comes to direct response campaigns and being ‘in the moment’, Twitter will always win.

snickers twitter

The highest sales will come when users are emotionally involved in a ‘moment’ whether this is a football match, that new documentary you’ve been waiting to watch all year, or simply a world event that has captured the imagination of the public. The emotional involvement people put into Twitter far surpasses the emotion they put into Facebook. On my first day in college we were taught the basics of marketing, with the underlying function always being to engage with an individual’s emotion. This is what drives the highest conversions. And this is why Twitter will drive an enormous amount of sales through its use of the ‘buy now’ button.

Whatever the product being sold, the key to the success of the ‘buy now’ feature on both platforms is the dynamic use of targeting, and how to successfully capture your audience with the right product at the right moment.

If you have any burning questions about this or anything else to do with social, please tweet us at @iprospectirl.