Initial information is already coming out of Facebook’s big advertising event this week in New York. The addition of a Shopping application will evolve word of mouth in the online shopping arena. Discussed in an Ad Age article, the application will allow users to ability to add recent online purchases to their Facebook profile. This instant word of mouth creates an interesting addition to such successful tactics as “People who purchase X also bought Y”, which have become popular on many e-commerce sites. However, now instead of seeing what strangers are purchasing, users can be influenced by what their circle of friends are buying.
As stated in the article, according to a recent Deloitte survey, family members’ or friends’ comments about a product are the second-biggest influences on consumer purchases of new products or brands (after the reputation of the manufacturer or supplier). As marketers are all trying to figure out authentic ways of creating the ever-coveted word of mouth buzz, applications like this are enormously exciting.
However, as also discussed, a potential challenge could be the online only nature of the app. With a good number of purchases researched online but still bought in the real world, how can this app be expanded to be more inclusive of broader shopping behaviors? Seems like the addition of a “considering” feature could be a useful plus-up. For example, if a user is on bestbuy.com looking at flat screen TVs, maybe they can add categories or specific products to their considerations. For users this could be a useful tool to gather intelligence from a network of friends.
With more announcements sure to come, we’re very excited about the the future of social networking and the ability of marketers to harness its power in authentic ways. Our VP of Digital/CRM is currently in NY at the conference and we anxiously await his return with more details.