Digital Dash: Shopping in Facebook Live & more

1. Facebook test spotted in the wild: “Live Video Mode for Sellers”

Social commerce is a recurring topic here in Digital Dash. We’re often highlighting new features but the overall sentiment is always the same: nobody is nailing it. At least not yet.

A couple weeks back, we talked about Instagram and Snapchat’s new shopping tools. This time it’s Facebook’s turn.

“Live Video Mode for Sellers” is a feature currently in testing, spotted in the wild by Social Media Today contributor Jeff Higgins. It allows businesses to use live video as a (kind of) direct sales channel.

Here’s how it works:

  • Viewers watching a live broadcast message you with screenshots
  • You can then request payment through Inbox

Not too much is known about the technical details of this right now, except it looks like an expansion of Facebook’s current Shop feature.

It would be really good to know more about the payment requests and how they actually play out.

In terms of the sharing screenshots part, it’s been suggested that users will be able to do this by simply clicking a button on the video itself.

The more automated and intuitive this feature ends up being, the more chance I think this has of catching on.


2. BREAKING: organic Carousel Pins in testing for early access profiles

Just over a month ago, Pinterest launched Promoted Carousel – a new ad format that lets you add up to 5 static images to one Pin, that users can then scroll through.

We can now exclusively confirm that Pinterest is testing the carousel format for organic pins too.

How do I know? Because I’ve seen it with my own eyes – some accounts have gained early access to the feature.

As with the ad unit, each image has its own text and URL fields but you can elect to apply the same to all by toggling on the option.

Not too sure if this is only going to be available for businesses or if all accounts will eventually be included.


3. Survey: UK Christmas shoppers want to be done by December

We all know someone who gloats about having all their Christmas presents purchased, wrapped and stashed away by like, April (okay, maybe November).

We also all know someone who thinks about the above people in awe as they desperately sprint around packed shopping centres on Dec 24th, scouring empty shelves for full-priced products they’re only half convinced the person will like.

So what’s the norm? Let’s find out.

A recent study of 2,000 UK shoppers by Aptos analysed purchase behaviour during retail’s “golden quarter” (Oct – Dec).

The majority of women surveyed aim to have all their Christmas shopping (both online and in-store) done by 30 Nov. Men felt the same in relation to online shopping, but when it came to in-store, the general deadline was… wait for it… Christmas Eve.

Here are 5 more interesting findings:

1. 71% prefer the physical experience of browsing and buying gifts

2. 50% of online buyers rate speed of delivery as critical

3. 64% don’t wait for discount days (interesting!)

Photo: Aptos

4. 54% don’t trust retailers to provide their best deals on discount days

5. 33% of 18-24 year olds use Instagram for gift inspiration (compared to just 8% of 35-44 year olds)

Clearly this study is small scale and UK relevant. Last week, we reported record-breaking Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales in the US – so I’d love to know more on how consumer behaviour differs across the globe.


4. Facebook imitates Pinterest, gives users new way to share gift ideas

Snapchat, breathe easy. For once it’s not you Facebook’s copying.

A newly-announced Facebook feature could see you using the platform more like Pinterest.

For about a year now, we’ve all been able to save Facebook content to a “collection” to view again later. Posts, ads, videos, and even Marketplace listings can all be tucked away in categorised folders. E.g. “Outfit Inspo”.

You can already see the Pinterest link here, but up until now, the big difference has been your Facebook collections were private. As of this week though, that’s all changed.

You can now share your collections with family and friends, and even collaborate.

Facebook thinks it’s the perfect timing for the update as you’ll be able to share holiday related collections, e.g. gift lists.

Photos: Facebook

This all makes a lot of sense. Why keep collections behind closed doors when they can potentially open up another channel of engagement?

However, what we don’t know is how well used collections are. Because obviously activity hasn’t been visible until now.

Also, are Pinterest users really going to start duplicating ideas/inspiration lists? I doubt it.

It’s possible that Facebook will have some success with this, but I predict It’ll be with an older, non-Pinterest-savvy demographic if so. Either way, I’ll be watching with interest.


5. Instagram now lets you show Stories to “Close Friends” only

Remember back in the day when every Facebook profile had a Top Friends chart that was the source of endless drama?

Well, while that was retired long ago, the 2018 equivalent has just landed on Instagram.

Both individual and business profiles can now create a list of Close Friends (much less provocative wording!).

When publishing a story, viewability can be limited to this select group.

The reason behind this? Instagram found users wanted more control over their audiences – especially in relation to Stories.

It adds up: posting something everyone can see means it has to be suitable for all your followers, which may restrict what people feel they can publish.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the lists feature broadens if this feature is well received – you could have future lists of “Work people” “Family” etc. as well as close friends.

It’s exciting that businesses can take advantage of the new feature too. There are a few potential ways I can think of this being used really creatively. But I’ll keep those for SMSW clients’ ears only for now…


Bonus bite: Instagram tests side scrolling for regular posts

You can’t deny Stories have changed the game.

From originators Snapchat to Facebook, the mighty Instagram and now even YouTube and LinkedIn, social media users can’t get enough of the short, ephemeral vertical snippets.

And, nodding to the format’s insane popularity, Instagram is now testing side-scrolling within the main feed for regular non-Stories content.

Essentially, the current vertical swipe to advance feature would be replaced with a horizontal equivalent, called “Cards” – making the feed function much more like Stories.

We heard some very early mumblings about this several months ago, but the update has now been officially spotted in testing by WABetaInfo.