How to Drive E-Commerce (Indirectly) from Instagram

We at Sircle Media provide an in-depth audit and social media plan for each client and the question that always comes up is “are we on the right platforms?”, “are there platforms we are not on we should be on?” “which platforms drive sales?”. The biggest platform that drives e-commerce is Facebook, as well as Pinterest. Twitter can be included as well. Instagram, however, which you might have recently read is bypassing Facebook with it’s popularity and user base, does not drive sales. There is no link back to the website, but it is a very good platform for branding and engagement. If your number one goal as a brand is to drive e-commerce, Instagram is not where you want to put your time, although it is very important. Although Instagram has yet to come out with a way to drive sales, some retailers have figured out  a way to drive sales indirectly from the app.

Retailers like West Elm and Bauble Bar are using widgets to drive conversion from user photos. The widgets will pull in Instagram photos that are tagged with a determined hashtag to the retailer’s site, where it can be linked with a product for sale.


For example, BaubleBar uses the widget on it’s front page to show customers Instagram selfles displaying their products. As you click on the photo, a pop-up window shows the jewelry within the photo and links to a page where online shoppers can buy.

“Thirty to 35 percent of our online traffic engages with that widget on the homepage or on the product page,” said Daniella Yacobovsky, co-founder of BaubleBar. “We see conversion about four to four-and-a-half times higher with these people than from people who don’t engage.”

West Elm uses the widget to organize pictures on a subpage, called #MyWestElm. Consumers can sift through, room by room to see how other West Elm customers arrange their homes with West Elm merchandise.

Screen Shot 2014-02-27 at 8.30.38 AM

Pau Sabria, the co-founder of Olapic, which provides Instagram widgets, recently told the New York Times that brands using the widget on average see visitors that turned into buyers increased by 5 to 7 percent and the average order value rose by 2 percent.

So, is Instagram creeping up on other social platforms in regards to e-commerce? We wouldn’t jump to yes, but there is potential. Instagram will grow and continue to be a driving force in branding and e-commerce in the future.

Add a comment

Tags: , , , ,

Instagram Actively Growing Over Other Social Networks

Twitter and Pinterest might be among the top social networks, but the platform to watch out for is the fastest-growing, Facebook-owned Instagram. The mobile platform has doubled it’s user base since the beginning of 2013 to more than 200 million active accounts. Even with it’s increasing active user base by 23% in the last six months (the largest of any social network last year), Facebook, YouTube, Google+, Twitter, and Linkedin are still top in the industry, in terms of penetration.

One of the reasons Instagram is actively growing at such a torrid pace is that it is really a social network only used on mobile devices. Smartphones are now the most popular form of access, giving Instagram the edge.


“One of the more interesting findings of the survey is that on the whole, social networking is most popular among 25-34 year-olds — 29% of Facebook users, 31% of Google+ users, 32% of Pinterest users, and 31% of Twitter users fall into this category. However, when it comes to Instagram (39%), Tumblr (45%), and YouTube (32%), the biggest users are aged 16-24.” ©AFP/Relaxnews 2014 To power it’s growth, Instagram made it’s Windows phone debut, and introduced the direct-message feature. Today, brands recognize that Instagram is one of the most powerful platforms for branding and reach.

It is crucial for brands to work and take advantage of this massive platform. Brands can post images or videos of products, special offers, fan photos, etc., which is a very useful way to engage with consumers in a direct way. It allows businesses to create highly shareable graphics that consumers will want to interact with.

Are you taking advantage of all that Instagram has to offer?  You should be…

Add a comment

Tags: , , , ,

Facebook Custom Audiences


Facebook has just launched a new retargeting tool called “website and mobile app custom audiences.” It allows a business to show Ads to people who have either visited their website or their mobile apps. All businesses have to do is affix a tracking system to their website and apps. and they are ready to roll. The great thing about this new update is it gives the business access to their mobile inventory rather than only having Ads run on the right side of the audiences desktop news feed.

On top of that, it now allows a business to specifically target people based on their gender, geography, age, and marital status. This wasn’t possible for Facebook Exchange, or FBX. The new custom audiences will also be able to remind users that they considered buying a certain item and then link them back to the site where they can shop some more and complete a purchase.

Although this new custom audience tool is great, it’s important for a business to not get rid of FBX just yet. FBX is still the only tool that has “predictive buying,” which means that if a customer was looking at pink dresses, then they might be shown an ad for red shoes. To get the full benefit of targeting an audience, it would be wise to use both the custom audiences and the FBX together. An example of how they could be used together is: “A travel client will use FBX to retarget people who’ve gone searching for hotels and then show them that exact hotel [they saw]. They’ll use custom audiences to reach people who are searching for hotels, but have not downloaded their mobile app on iOS 7 on iPad.”

There also will be an option for users to opt-out from targeting based on its own tracking of website and apps visits. To find out more about Facebook’s new retargeting tool here.

Add a comment

Tags: , , , ,

The Evolution of Instagram

Not too long ago Instagram announced that users would be able to upload 15-second (filtered) videos causing uproar on all social media platforms (and war with Vine). Guess what, the game changing app wasn’t quite done! On August 7th, 2013 Instagram 4.1 was introduced to the world.

instagramFor Vine and Instagram users part of the frustration was that all videos had to be uploaded in real time, rather than being able to upload video from your media library. Instagram has provided the aspirin for your virtual headache with version 4.1! This updated version allows users to upload 15 seconds of previously recorded video. In addition to that, users now have the ability to square-crop footage, and the automatic image straightening feature for iOS users allows Instagrammers to rotate and adjust video footage to their liking.

As IG keeps improving it will make it harder for apps like Vine to compete!

Add a comment

Tags: , , , , ,

Foursquare Opens Its Self-Serve Ad Platform to Small Businesses!


Foursquare, the location-based social networking website for mobile devices, has just launched its self-serve ad platform. In the past advertising on the website was dominated by big food chains and retailers. With this change, thousands of small businesses will have the same powerful advertising as these larger players.

On their blog post on July 23rd, Foursquare said: “the idea behind these new ads is simple—connect people looking for somewhere to go with businesses that want to drive traffic to their stores”. This is great news for smaller businesses since Foursquare is so popular. According to the website, seventy-eight percent of people who search locally on their app actually make a purchase. Those are great results and hopefully these ads will show the same results for small businesses.

Foursquare targets their users based off of two factors: their location and their past searches. The ads will only appear to users who are actually likely to become customers. Therefore, the ads will be relevant for users. Foursquare is also only charging for the ads when users click on them or when they visit the location being advertised. This is a great deal for both the users and the businesses.

This is a great way for Foursquare to gain revenue and also help small businesses gain traffic. We will keep an eye on this as businesses start to report back on actual results.


Add a comment

Tags: , , ,

Instagram Video


Instagram, the social media platform that allows you to capture pictures, upload, and edit them so you can share them with the world, came out with Instagram Video this month. Instagram Video allows you to capture a moving picture that is up to 15 seconds long (longer than Vine) and you can start and stop recording as many times as you wish within the 15 seconds! Instagram is allowing the world to capture and share the non stationary moments that are meaningful to them and they instantly became an even stronger powerhouse in the mobile device game.

A cool feature of Instagram Video is you can chose from 13 different filters that change the effects on the video! You can also choose which scene you want as the cover photo making it a very customizable app.

Many brands have already been getting in on the action. Here are some great examples put out by Complex Magazine. Video is allowing companies to flex their creativity on Instagram and it seems that the possibilities are endless!

Add a comment

Tags: , , , ,

Facebook Home


Facebook announced last week that it would be introducing a new product that would change the mobile experience of The Social Network forever. In his announcement, Mark Zuckerberg talked about their “mobile best” strategy (as opposed to the common mobile first strategy for interactive software). The platform looks to be very exciting for Facebook fanatics such as myself.  Here are some main features:

  • Replacing the lock-screen with Timeline updates and Photos from your Facebook account.
  • Chat Heads – Their new feature that keeps the communication portion of SMS and Facebook Messenger in the forefront of your phone experience.
  • People First, Apps Second – The user interface that highlights “the people in your life” and let Apps take a back seat.

They are also about to launch their first ever television campaign across the US and you can see one of a series of new spots promoting Facebook Home here:  WATCH HERE

If you want to hear more in-depth discussion about what these updates mean for developers of Android and Facebook applications on the web, CLICK HERE 

Add a comment

Tags: , , , ,

Is Your Marketing Mobile Friendly?

mobile marketing devicesHaving a mobile strategy is no longer a nice to have, it is indeed a must have component of your marketing strategy. This can be a frustrating reality for business owners as it always seems that just when you finish one project a new one creeps up that is mission critical for your survival.

My general recommendation is that it is not wise to be first with market changes as you should learn a little about how to do things right.  First generally rushes in and paves the way to for the rest of us. More importantly they can show us what does and does not work and we can adjust our plan accordingly.  I am a proponent however, of being an early adopter so that you can get out ahead of the curve.

With mobile we are very deep into the revolution and non participants are now considered late to the game. Walk the streets and you will see the mobile madness everywhere you go. In a place like Manhattan you are likely to be walked into at least once per day by a passerby deeply engaged with their little screen.  This is where the eyeballs are and more importantly this is definitely where people turn to for information on the fly. Not being there at this point is just plain irresponsible.

Aside from the strong recommendation of having a mobile or better yet a responsive website, you need to think specifically about your actual marketing promotions to make sure they are sound.  If a visit to your campaign is likely to come from a mobile device then the onus is on you to ensure that the user experience is a good one. If it is not, the value will be lost AND more importantly that user will likely not come back. Don’t let that happen!

Dave Kerpen a thought leader in my business and someone I respect very much recently wrote this piece on this topic for Fast Company.  Give it a read!

Add a comment

Tags: , , , ,