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Social Shopping Is Taking Off, and Facebook Is the Biggest Beneficiary

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The percentage of users shopping directly in social media apps increased 69% last year.

People are getting used to the idea of shopping on social media.

22% of consumers say they bought something directly from a social media app or website in the fourth quarter, according to a CivicScience survey. That’s up from 13% in the fourth quarter of 2018.

Much of that growth seems to be driven by Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), which continues to invest in its Marketplace platform and shopping on Instagram, and is also working on a nascent mobile payments platform in WhatsApp. Instagram, in particular, with the introduction of Checkout, new features in the Explore tab, and the ever-expanding presence of “influencers,” has had a big influence on shopping habits.

While other social media platforms like Snap‘s (NYSE:SNAP) Snapchat and Pinterest (NYSE:PINS) have tried to edge their way into consumers’ shopping patterns, Facebook has been the biggest beneficiary so far.

Three screenshots depicting Checkout on Instagram.

Image source: Instagram.

The biggest effect so far

Two Facebook products have had the biggest effect on social shopping so far.

Facebook Marketplace, which is Facebook’s answer to Craigslist, launched a little over three years ago, and it’s now available in over 100 regions. Founder Mark Zuckerberg says Facebook sees millions of interactions between buyers and sellers every day on the platform.

Facebook is continually taking steps to improve Marketplace, from tools that help local sellers list items and buyers find them to expanding the platform to include inventory from e-commerce companies. The moves have made shopping on Facebook Marketplace a much different experience from Craigslist or other online classified advertisement sites.

Facebook’s big push into shopping on Instagram may be even more noticeable. Instagram is one of the social media platforms users go to specifically to discover new products. Influencer advertising has become an entire sub-industry of digital advertising. And influencers on Instagram have more … influence … than most other social media platforms. 42% of daily Instagram users have made an influencer-based purchase, according to another CivicScience survey. That’s up from 34% in 2018.

There was a noticeable increase in respondents saying they’ve shopped directly on social media after Facebook introduced Checkout on Instagram. Checkout enables Instagram users to seamlessly buy items they see on Instagram without navigating to a merchant’s website. The product is still limited to select retailers, which means there’s a lot of potential for growth as the number of participating merchants expands.

Competitors in social shopping

Facebook’s biggest competitor in social shopping may be Pinterest. Many Pinterest users use the platform exclusively for discovering things to buy.

There’s strong potential for Pinterest to copy Instagram Checkout. It already offers retailers Shopping Ads (as does Facebook), which provides users with details about items and then sends them to a checkout page on the retailer’s website. Developing a more seamless checkout process like Instagram Checkout could help Pinterest increase the value of those ads through higher conversions and increased engagement.

Meanwhile, Snap has been trying to edge its way into social shopping by using its advanced camera and image recognition capabilities. It partnered with Amazon in 2018 to offer visual search capabilities within its app, sending users to Amazon’s marketplace whenever they Snap an item they’re interested in buying out in the wild. Pinterest offers a similar feature, as does Amazon’s app.

Importantly, Snapchat’s user base doesn’t use the app to discover items they want to buy like they do on Instagram or Pinterest. As such, the company has wisely shifted to investing in areas where its users have already made a habit of opening Snapchat — consuming content and connecting with friends.

Facebook, with its massive and highly engaged user base and head start in social commerce, sits in the catbird seat when it comes to capitalizing on the growing trend of shopping directly on social media apps.

As always, management is thinking long-term. “We are optimistic on the timeframe of years, right, not driving next quarter’s business,” Zuckerberg said on Facebook’s third quarter earnings call. And with just 23% of social media users actually shopping directly in apps like Facebook and Instagram, there’s good reason to take the approach of expanding the reach of its products instead of trying to monetize them quickly.

Adam Levy owns shares of Amazon and Facebook. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Amazon, Facebook, and Pinterest. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Two Billion Users — Connecting the World Privately

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We are excited to share that, as of today, WhatsApp supports more than 2 billion users around the world.

Mothers and fathers can reach their loved ones no matter where they are. Brothers and sisters can share moments that matter. Coworkers can collaborate, and businesses can grow by easily connecting with their customers.

Private conversations that once were only possible face-to-face can now take place across great distances through instant chats and video calling. There are so many significant and special moments that take place over WhatsApp and we are humbled and honored to reach this milestone.

We know that the more we connect, the more we have to protect. As we conduct more of our lives online, protecting our conversations is more important than ever.

That is why every private message sent using WhatsApp is secured with end-to-end encryption by default. Strong encryption acts like an unbreakable digital lock that keeps the information you send over WhatsApp secure, helping protect you from hackers and criminals. Messages are only kept on your phone, and no one in between can read your messages or listen to your calls, not even us. Your private conversations stay between you.

Strong encryption is a necessity in modern life. We will not compromise on security because that would make people less safe. For even more protection, we work with top security experts, employ industry leading technology to stop misuse as well as provide controls and ways to report issues — without sacrificing privacy.

WhatsApp started with the goal of creating a service that is simple, reliable and private for people to use. Today we remain as committed as when we started, to help connect the world privately and to protect the personal communication of 2 billion users all over the world.

The post Two Billion Users — Connecting the World Privately appeared first on About Facebook.

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Facebook, Instagram and YouTube: Government forcing companies to protect you online

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Although many of the details have still to be confirmed, it’s likely the new rules will apply to Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp, Snapchat, and Instagram

We often talk about the risks you might find online and whether social media companies need to do more to make sure you don’t come across inappropriate content.

Well, now media regulator Ofcom is getting new powers, to make sure companies protect both adults and children from harmful content online.

The media regulator makes sure everyone in media, including the BBC, is keeping to the rules.

Harmful content refers to things like violence, terrorism, cyber-bullying and child abuse.

The new rules will likely apply to Facebook – who also own Instagram and WhatsApp – Snapchat, Twitter, YouTube and TikTok, and will include things like comments, forums and video-sharing.

Platforms will need to ensure that illegal content is removed quickly, and may also have to “minimise the risks” of it appearing at all.

These plans have been talked about for a while now.

The idea of new rules to tackle ‘online harms’ was originally set out by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport in May 2018.

The government has now decided to give Ofcom these new powers following research called the ‘Online Harms consultation’, carried out in the UK in 2019.

Plans allowing Ofcom to take control of social media were first spoken of in August last year.

The government will officially announce these new powers for Ofcom on Wednesday 12 February.

But we won’t know right away exactly what new rules will be introduced, or what will happen to tech or social media companies who break the new rules.

Children’s charity the NSPCC has welcomed the news. It says trusting companies to keep children safe online has failed.

“Too many times social media companies have said: ‘We don’t like the idea of children being abused on our sites, we’ll do something, leave it to us,'” said chief executive Peter Wanless.

“Thirteen self-regulatory attempts to keep children safe online have failed.

To enjoy the CBBC Newsround website at its best you will need to have JavaScript turned on.

Back in Feb 2018 YouTube said they were “very sorry” after Newsround found several videos not suitable for children on the YouTube Kids app

The UK government’s Digital Secretary, Baroness Nicky Morgan said: “There are many platforms who ideally would not have wanted regulation, but I think that’s changing.”

“I think they understand now that actually regulation is coming.”

In many countries, social media platforms are allowed to regulate themselves, as long as they stick to local laws on illegal material.

But some, including Germany and Australia, have introduced strict rules to force social media platforms do more to protect users online.

In Australia, social media companies have to pay big fines and bosses can even be sent to prison if they break the rules.

For more information and tips about staying safe online, go to BBC Own It, and find out how to make the internet a better place for all of us.

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Facebook Launches Digital Literacy Programme for Women in UP

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In a bid to provide digital literacy training to 1,00,000 women across seven states, Facebook on Tuesday launched its ‘We Think Digital’ programme in partnership with the National Commission for Women (NCW) and Cyber Peace Foundation on the occasion of Safer Internet Day.

“We are focusing on trying to create digital leadership amongst women and help them use technology for empowering themselves, enable them to make smart choices and secure from online risks. The training looks at transforming the learning process and bring about systemic change,” NCW Chairperson Rekha Sharma said in a statement.

Starting from the state of Uttar Pradesh, the programme will be expanded to other states including, Assam, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, and Bihar through the year.

“The Internet has become a driver for change in the current age. These training modules will open doors of equal opportunities for women of Uttar Pradesh and together with Facebook we want to equip and educate people and help make a positive impact,” said Uttar Pradesh Women Welfare Minister Jai Pratap Singh.

The programme has been designed with a focus on digital literacy and citizenship, addressing issues around privacy, safety, and misinformation.

It was attended by 300 women trainees from across the state and also included workshops by the NCW and Cyber Peace Foundation.

NDTV Gadgets360.com

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