Changing digital ecosphere: Is commerce the key growth driver for social media platforms?

In the second story of the series on evolving social media platforms, e4m talks with marketing leaders about brands and marketers having a huge playfield to experiment with social commerce

e4m by Mansi Sharma
Published: Nov 25, 2021 8:43 AM  | 4 min read
social commerce

As per the reports, the share of mobile in India’s digital media spends jumped to 76% in FY21 from 45% in FY19, growing at a compounded annual growth rate of 45% to reach 1.9 billion dollars. Further, the growth of the space is pegged at about 25% annually, as against 9% globally, which shows a large number of brands are going to move to mobile marketing soon. Social media, obviously, is going to get a large chunk of this growth. As per industry experts, brands and marketers will have a huge playfield to experiment and smartly target their consumers using social media tools. 

Grapes National Business Head Rajeesh Rajagopalan says, “The opportunities are huge, in fact, these opportunities are a game-changer for a lot of new D2C brands which have built their brands without investing crores, unlike the traditional brands.” 

FoxyMoron Business Director - South Keerthi Kumar notes, “The biggest change is the growth of the DirectToConsumer sector and social media helping in growing these transactions. Social is a huge point of sale for a lot of modern brands and this trend will only continue to grow. The audience's intent on social platforms when it comes to buying has gone from beyond just discovery and research for brand and products to a way of life and sale. Brands on social can with the help of chatbots brands can have more high intent and richer conversations with consumers. This is the way forward for new-age brands and that new-age platforms will only facilitate this more which will keep social media to be on their toes and evolve and be a step ahead.”

Digitas Senior Strategy Director Shashank Rawat feels the same. “For me personally, Social commerce will become what e-commerce was for a lot of people in 2010-11 in India. The tech is already being implemented in apps like Roposo which cater to micro boredom moments of the consumer and will bring the brand and its offerings on to a single page.” 

The industry opines that brands are now also getting comfortable in experimenting with the kind of content they push out on social media. 

Wunderman Thompson South Asia Chief Transformation Officer Manoj Mansukhani highlights, “Brands now have a number of different ways to engage with creators beyond the sponsored content. A brand can partner with influencers to not only promote its product but also sell the product through these creators. Brands can have product placement in the content, custom integration, brand-owned videos produced by or featuring creators, social amplification, working closely with creators for brand-owned content.” 

Rawat adds, “What would be interesting to see is ‘Video’ as a format used in social commerce platforms as conversations will be able to get much more beyond the product itself. For instance, an image of Maggi noodles on Amazon vs a video by a mother influencer on how to make Maggi ramen for your kids as the purchase intent will have flavor in it.” 

However, the brands will also have to face a few challenges now, as sponsored content is getting marked on almost all social media platforms and the algorithms are also changing drastically. 

Brand consultant Rahul Ghosh says that one of the continuing challenges for brands and marketers is how to measure the success of a campaign. He said, “Gauging the effectiveness and impact on sales is not easy.” 

Rawat feels that the biggest challenge for brands, albeit, is going to be the ability to find their voice and a stance which they believe in. “The reason being social media is a world where a person has multiple opinions, facts, events and news flying in front of his eyes at so much speed that his/her attention span is now categorized in terms like ‘micro boredom moments’. And it’ll become mandatory as well as imperative that brands agree internally on what they stand for and then evolve with their consumers not just as opinion sharing pages but also as opinion architects. For eg. Dove has internalized as a brand that shows ‘what real beauty is all about’ and they stand and evolve with their beliefs and will continue to do so.  It is easier for a brand to get likes, what is difficult though is to be liked and remembered when the brand and its content are not visible on their feed.

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