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What happened to the Twitter Buy button?
by Prasad Dhamdhere | June 1, 2016 | Social Commerce, Social Media, Twitter | 0 comments

It’s not uncommon to see that even predictions and assumptions of mighty trendsetters or pioneers in the industry go astray. The latest casualty is the Twitter Buy button. The writing on the wall is: Twitter’s way towards becoming world’s biggest social marketplace was not as easy and as hurdle free as their leadership had hoped.

The Twitter Buy button launched in 2014 to allow brands, artists, and non-profit organizations sell goods within tweets. They also launched product pages in last year, known as Collections, where high profile users had the ability to curate products and spaces for their fans to browse or purchase. But considering the fact that Twitter has stopped doing any development on Buy buttons and a team of 25 commerce people has been dispersed, it’s quite clear that things didn’t go as per their expectations.

twitter buy button mockup

Though experts have different opinions regarding this shift of Twitter, many believe that “on-the-go,” “live” nature of the platform was not suited for the educated, research-reliant shoppers of today. It is more conducive to brand promotions, referral programs or ads. That’s precisely why Twitter is shifting its focus to the dynamic product ad, which is nothing but a retargeting ad format that displays product images to users based on their previous browsing history. Once you click on the ad, it takes you to the retailer’s website. They are likely to stick with this format, as Twitter’s spokesman has said that these ads have produced roughly twice the click-through and conversion rates of other ads.

What is interesting to note here is that Twitter is not the only one social media platform facing a sales drought. Facebook is also going with “no-direct-sales” approach. They are also focusing on ads that drive consumers to a retail site. These ads appear in customers’ mobile or desktop news feeds. Similarly, it allows retailers to upload their product catalog on Facebook. Then Facebook automatically targets consumers based on their interest levels.

Instagram is a notable exception to this trend. The new Warner Brothers movie, “Me Before You,” is using Instagram ads to let audiences watch its trailer, view showtimes, read movie information, and purchase tickets within the photo-sharing app. In addition, companies are getting new analytics and the opportunities to have business profiles. Since these strategies are so new, we don’t know yet whether or not they’ll pay off. Instagram shopping through solutions like Shoppic.me, though, have shown impressive returns.

However, we digress: it’s necessary to mention that the Twitter Buy button hasn’t been completely abandoned. Retailers who are using multiple e-commerce platforms to sell via Twitter’s Buy button can still insert the direct buying function into their tweets. But there will be no further development of technology for that product. In short, Twitter is not completely shunning the concept of a social marketplace, but this move can be considered as a part of CEO Jack Dorsey’s effort to straighten the company’s resources in service of the platform’s core experience. But efforts to capitalize on social commerce, which began under the leadership of former CEO Dick Costolo were never flexible enough to fit into the current CEO’s plan.

Looking at the larger picture, the untimely death of the Twitter Buy button is a powerful indicator that buyers’ behavior is still a mystified context. Buy buttons on Pinterest have seen huge success, but no one should expect every audience on every platform to behave the same. The truth is, people are not buying on Twitter because it was never made for that. Its whole selling point has been brief, real-time communication…it’s very unlikely that it will become an equivalent of an e-commerce site. After all, there is something called core competency!

The truth is, people are not buying on Twitter because it was never made for that. Its whole selling point has been brief, real-time communication…it’s very unlikely that it will become an equivalent of an e-commerce site. After all, there is something called core competency!

 

This post was written by Prasad Dhamdhere.

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