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What does Twitter’s ‘buy’ button mean? We Are Social, Havas Media, SocialBro, MG OMD and The Social Partners comment

Twitter has finally announced the testing phase of its ‘buy now’ button, with brands such as Burberry and charities such as (RED) to test it out.

A long time in the making, The Drum caught up with experts in the industry to discover exactly what this will mean for social marketing.

Pete Durant, head of social planning, The Social Partners

This is a very positive move by Twitter.

Clients who can capitalise on the heightened use of platform-specific product launches, flash sales & special community offers will see the biggest return on their investment.

In-app purchasing will naturally benefit a lot of “loose-change” products (lower value, FMCGs), sites like Etsy and ASOS, the digital entertainment industry (downloads, books, streaming service sign up) & charities.

However, it's unlikely to really impact day-to-day business for brands with either higher value products (e.g. designer clothes or glasses, holidays, flights, cars, electronics, home furnishings), shared experiences (e.g. tickets for events, travel) or those needing further research (e.g. insurance, banking).

Twitter will continue to play a role in the decisioning process but last click ROI will remain off-platform.

Robin Grant, global managing director, We Are Social

None of the major social channels have really cracked e-commerce. Pinterest has made promising developments but still lags behind Facebook and Twitter in terms of adoption and investment. Facebook has retired Gifts and brands have struggled to make F-commerce work for them.

Twitter’s partnerships, such as Starbucks’ 'tweet a coffee', demonstrate the viral power of the platform. The Buy Now button is a logical next step, and will give advertisers an easily measurable ROI; a sought after figure on social channels.

At the moment I don't see consumers adopting Twitter as an everyday shopping destination. Flash sales and one-off promotions could perform well; sustained sales are a very different ball game. When marketers tire of Buy Now, it could well end up alongside Facebook Gifts in the social commerce graveyard.

Amy Kean, head of futures, Havas Media

A few years ago when the social media industry was singing and dancing about ecommerce applications on Facebook, Havas Media discovered through our consumer research that real people just didn't fancy buying products through a social platform.

This is largely because a significant proportion of the population are continuing to get their heads around buying on THE INTERNET and still have privacy and personal data concerns, especially where social networks are concerned. Because of this we should expect Twitter purchasing to grow over time, but not for it to be an overnight success.

However, the important difference between old-school Facebook apps and now buying through Twitter is that this latest move could potentially (shock horror!) benefit both advertiser and consumer... Twitter's mantra of 'in the moment' marketing is based on genuine human insights, and allowing purchases to be made in-tweet could fuel a lot of the consumer spontaneity that makes social media (and Twitter) so exciting – so linking tweets to TV activity, offering exclusive music downloads and beauty limited editions for example makes a lot of commercial sense.

So yes, we'll absolutely be recommending it to our clients, as long as we can find a way to add value to either brand or consumer, but hopefully both.

Tim Pritchard, head of social media, Manning Gottlieb OMD

Twitter is all about bringing you closer to the things you love, and if one of those things is shopping then Twitter's latest move is likely to be of interest. Following hot on the heels of Facebook's trial of a buy button, the notable difference here is that this will be trialled predominantly on sought after and emotive purchases. How much mainstream brands can learn from this test therefore remains to be seen.

Most efforts at social commerce within the platform to date have focussed on the value exchange of spreading a social signal when purchasing, from using hashtags to trigger a discount to more direct tweet to pay mechanics, and without that this feels predominantly like an instant mobile payment system rather than a social marketing tool.

Playing to their strength as a barometer what is interesting and exciting people 'now' it makes sense for Twitter to go one stage further and attempt to get payments as close to hyped product conversations as they can. However, it should also be remembered that when selling exclusive and sought after products, brands are often keen to leverage as much value from these as possible rather than simply deliver a simple transaction so this will still be weighed up by marketers among a variety of other digital routes to sale.

Javier Burón, co-founder and CEO, SocialBro

Twitter’s new ‘Buy’ button demonstrates a big move into the ecommerce sector and will help brands monetise Twitter further by directly connecting them with buyers, simplifying the purchasing process. With the number of brands already signed up for testing it's clear to see there's a strong demand for ecommerce on Twitter, and we’re excited to see how brands will take advantage of this opportunity.

It will undoubtedly make ROI more transparent, and justify further investment in Twitter marketing, although just adding the button in will not be a magic bullet in itself and could switch people off if used badly.

For maximum effectiveness companies will need to pair the ‘Buy’ button with analytics and granular Twitter segmentation tools so they are able to target the right person in the right moment with the right message. Adding a ‘Buy’ call-to-action at that point could be a very powerful addition to the marketing toolkit.

Rakhee Jogia, director of display, Rakuten Marketing

Twitter, like Facebook, has gradually been making waves into ecommerce so this is the natural next step. However, online shopping is not as impulsive as it used to be, and retailers shouldn’t forget the complex journey a customer goes on before they buy.

Customers are just as likely to shop around for the best deal and research numerous products; the ‘buy’ button is unlikely to eradicate that. Retailers will need to ensure they don’t disconnect with Twitter users during the discovery phase of shopping. They should harness the social experience, using interactive content and dynamic ads, to ensure that Twitter engagement continually comes back to the brand.

This interactive experience will be integral to converting the shopper on their Twitter journey.

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