Digital Advertising Agency

Four social commerce innovations in 2021

By Kathryn Green | Paid media director

Tug Agency


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July 27, 2021 | 5 min read

Over the past year, online shopping has become more popular than ever before, with the influence of the pandemic leaving an everlasting effect on how we choose to shop. With this in mind, social platforms have had to adjust their technology to meet the high demands of users, trying to make shopping experiences as simple as possible. From Facebook to Pinterest, e-commerce ads are growing. Learn about the latest features below.


Facebook has been ahead of the game for years when it comes to retail advertising, first beginning with the build of the shopping catalog and feeding it into dynamic remarketing ads, and then developing collection ads.

However, this year the social media giant is taking it one step further and making shop ads even more personalized by displaying products to users based on their previous purchases. There are hopes in the future to present special offers or promotions to select customers, which will encourage users to shorten their purchase journey and buy through the app.

Tug Agency consider the technology changes made by social platforms during the pandemic.

Tug Agency considers the technology changes made by social platforms during the pandemic

Augmented reality is also becoming more prominent on Facebook by taking the need to go to a physical store away and making it possible to try a product in the comfort of your own home, starting with beauty brands and rolling out to other sectors later in the year. Users will be shown products based on their interests. This feature will be made so it is easily implemented into product catalogs, and will be simple to use for advertisers.


Despite the impact of iOS 14, this year Pinterest introduced dynamic product ads. These can be created through a product feed or by uploading multiple assets, and then these will be displayed to users based on their individual user behavior e.g. what they have been searching for in the app. For example, if a user searches for pink curtains the user will be shown the closest results out of your product set.

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TikTok has also introduced more shopping-based formats and features in 2021. Similarly to Facebook, Collection ads are now an option that allow a company to combine big branding videos with relevant product listings, encouraging users to complete their purchase journey.

Dynamic Product Ads will also be added, allowing users to be automatically retargeted with products based on their interests and activities within the app and linked websites.

A new feature of Promo Tiles is also being introduced and it’s pretty clear what the premise is from the name – it is a sticker that will allow advertisers to showcase customizable promotions and discounts to users, encouraging engagement.


As the instant messaging app is owned by Facebook, it comes as no surprise that WhatsApp is also introducing a shopping feature. Viewing a shop via WhatsApp will give customers the option of chatting to a business before purchasing something.

It’s part of an update in WhatsApp for Business, aimed at making the Business arm of WhatsApp more user-friendly for businesses. Although WhatsApp has over 2 billion users globally, only 175 million users message with WhatsApp Business accounts for things like customer support. With so many online shops turning to instant messaging services as their primary method to communicate with customers, this update will no doubt prove popular with consumers and brands alike.

The roll-out has already begun in the US, and although there’s been no news on when it might come to the UK, no doubt the update will arrive on our shores before long.


Twitter has yet to play catch-up compared to the other platforms in regards to e-commerce innovations, and this may be incorporated into their future strategy soon.

Ready to make the most of these exciting new features? Get in touch with Tug today to find out how we can help you with paid and organic social media.

Kathryn Green, paid media director at Tug.

Digital Advertising Agency

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Tug is a performance driven, global digital marketing agency, optimised to grow ambitious brands, through the smart combination of data, media, content and technology.

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