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Your 2021 Guide to Social Shopping


Alex, our Head of Paid Social, predicted that e-commerce would be one of the top social trends of 2021. Now he’s back to expand on the topic.

Shopping on Social Media: The New Normal

With the COVID-19 pandemic accelerating the shift to e-commerce by 5 years, we’re seeing that 85% of people globally are shopping online with 43% saying they expect to shop online more frequently after the outbreak is over (“Coronavirus Research April 2020” by GWI, April 2020). It is no surprise that social media platforms have been rolling out tools for brands and buyers to make the process easier. Facebook recently released a survey with Ipsos that showed 50% of people in the UK say social media has allowed them to interact more and deepen their relationship with brands. In this blog post we’re going to touch on the social e-commerce updates that have come out over the last 10 months, as well as how Passion can help brands to set up a social media strategy for e-commerce.

Instagram and Facebook Shops

Back in May 2020 Facebook launched Shops. This was something that they had been planning for a while which seems to have been turbo-charged by lockdown. Not only does the Shops feature allow users to browse a brand’s products, it also enables customers to contact the retailer via WhatsApp, Messenger or Instagram Direct. Facebook have since developed Shops within Instagram Explore and are exploring ways of tagging products for live streams and loyalty/rewards schemes for businesses. All of this demonstrates the importance Facebook have placed on eCommerce and their long-term plans for being an integral part of it.

A more recent update is the integration of Shopify’s Shop Pay with Facebook and Instagram Shops. This is an accelerated checkout solution that allows Shopify customers to access their saved payment and shipping details. This may also help facilitate in-app purchases, as there has been some hesitancy over using Facebook’s own solution, Facebook Pay. It may also draw more businesses to Facebook and Instagram Shops as Shop Pay, according to Shopify, is 70% faster than a typical checkout and sees a 1.72x higher conversion rate.

Pinterest Merchant Solutions

Pinterest have also made updates to make it easier for businesses to set up a storefront, upload product catalogues and tag products. They’ve rolled out features such as automatic bidding, conversion insights and a collection shopping ad format, including using a video as hero content. This is important considering Pinterest have reported that Pinners are 2.6x more likely to make a purchase after viewing brand video content on the platform.

YouTube E-commerce

Building on the video point, we saw in June last year that YouTube added a new eCommerce ad unit to their offering which allowed advertisers to showcase product listings beneath video ads. They also launched Video Action Campaigns and added YouTube to its Google Ads Attribution Report, highlighting that they see it playing a significant part of the conversion journey.

In January 2021, YouTube started testing product tags where a few creators in the pilot scheme can add products to their videos, and viewers can see the list via a shopping bag icon in the bottom left corner of the video. From there, viewers can explore each product’s page to see more information, related videos, and purchase options for that product. It will be interesting to see how quickly they roll this out on a larger scale.

Snapchat AR

As mentioned in our 2021 Paid Social Trends blog post at the start of the year, Snapchat’s AR offering is gaining ground in the ecommerce space. They’ve partnered with Levis, Ralph Lauren, and Jordan to allow people to dress their Bitmoji avatars in branded clothes, with the latter also available to buy on Nike.com.

With the launch of full body tracking in August 2020, I would expect Snapchat to build on the Shoppable AR campaign they did with Gucci in 2020 and start offering users the opportunity to try on clothes virtually, similar to this Ralph Lauren example but with real humans.

Snapchat have also invested heavily in original programming content, part of which includes shoppable shows; The Drop will allow viewers to Swipe to Buy the items being discussed in the episode.

Are you in Need of a Social Media Strategy for E-commerce?

At Passion Digital we have a wealth of experience delivering e-commerce success for our clients on social. We can help with:

  • pixel implementation
  • event tagging
  • product catalogue set up
  • audience segmentation

We also understand the importance of measurement within an ecommerce strategy. It’s one thing to set up for success but it’s essential to be able to know what’s driving that forward to deliver the best possible results.

Get in touch with our Paid Social team to find out more about our experience and our services.