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Social Media Opportunities for eCommerce in 2016

With the rise of mobile and eCommerce, social media has in lots of ways started to revolutionise the way we shop online. From ads to buy buttons, social media opportunities for eCommerce will definitely change the way retailers sell their products online in 2016.

Social media ads are becoming much less intrusive and more relevant, which should hopefully equal much greater engagement rates. This will ultimately help boost sales for online eCommerce stores wanting to sell on social media platforms.

So what will this mean for eCommerce stores? Well as users won’t have to leave the app in order to make a purchase, eCommerce websites might see a decline in the amount of visitors they have coming to their website. Websites will now have to become much more active on social in order to keep up to date with the changes and their competitors.

We’ve put together a few eCommerce and social media opportunities which could help to see a rise in online sales over the next year:


After a few tests the site has announced a function which will allow retailers to sell products and digital services within a tweet via a “Buy Now Button”.

At the moment these features are US only, but we should start to see them roll out to the UK in 2016. Twitter has the potential to use geolocation data to create localised content, showing adverts or offers for local businesses.

For example, a Twitter user could be shown an ad for a local restaurant in the morning and a cinema voucher after work. 2016 should see an increase in the number and types of ads, and the ease in which users will be able to make a purchase directly from Twitter.

The Twitter Ads platform also has great opportunities for eCommerce stores as it allows you to:

  • Target new audiences
  • Build creative Twitter promos and competitions.
  • Focus on existing customers
  • Drive traffic and sales through your website

There are campaign types that you could use for your eCommerce store. Before you decide to spend money on Twitter Ads, you should define your target audience, create a realistic goal to work towards and have sufficient tracking to measure it.


Late last year, Facebook announced it was testing ways to make it easier for their users to shop on the social network’s app. Facebook has said that it is adding a new “Shopping” tab which will feature products from companies who have a business page.

Facebook has also been testing a “Buy” button on News Feed posts which will let people purchase items without leaving the platform. Similar to Twitter, this should help to boost sales for eCommerce stores and it will help to keep even more people on the platform.

Carousel Ads is something which is quite new to Facebook. It allows advertisers to upload three to seven still images, add text, links, and set up a slideshow up to a maximum of 12 seconds long. These new Facebook slideshow ads will be up to five times smaller in file size compared to video ads, which are of the same length. This will hopefully draw in more customers who have slower internet connections as they’ll now be able to see the whole ad without having to wait for it to load.


Last Summer in the US, Pinterest introduced Buy it Buttons. Since many people on Pinterest have the intent to purchase it’s the ideal platform for eCommerce stores to expand their business and increase sales.

The Buy It Button will fit right into the news feed and will allow it’s users to browse and purchase products from pins without even having to leave the platform. These types of Pins can be paid for either using Apple Pay or any other major credit card.

Plus the good thing about businesses wanting to try out these Buy It Now Pins is that Pinterest have said they’re not looking to take a portion of the sales. They do however hope that they will see an increase in the amount of Promoted Pins.

Promoted Pins still aren’t currently available for people in the UK but they will hopefully be out sometime this year. According to Pinterest, Promoted Pins see engagement rates of 2-5%, higher than the industry average.

Promoted Pins can help you with your goals whether that’s to increase brand awareness, engagement levels, or to drive more traffic to your website.


According to Forbes, social media users are 58 times more likely to interact with brands on Instagram than they do on Facebook, and 120 times more than on Twitter.

Unlike Pinterest, Instagram doesn’t allow for links to be used on images however you can place relevant URLs in the comment section underneath posts but they aren’t clickable.

In fact the only place you’re allowed to include a URL linking back to your website is in the description/bio on the profile page.

Last year Instagram started rolling out sponsored ads which saw only a few large brands taking advantage. Now, businesses of all sizes have the ability to create Instagram ads to reach their targeted audiences and this year it’s going to be a popular place for advertising amongst eCommerce businesses.

In order to start using Instagram ads you need to connect your main Facebook page to Facebook’s Business Manager. This will allow you to create your ads in Facebook Power Editor tool.

Ad Options

For Instagram ads, you can choose from three ad options:

  • Mobile app installs
  • Clicks to your website
  • Video views which are up to 30 seconds in length

You then get the choice of how you want your ad to look such as:

  • Image ad (standard photo with a click through button)
  • Video ad (same idea as an image just video format)
  • Carousel ad (series of images that users can browse through)

The beauty of Instagram is that it’s a creative platform. The high engagement levels means you can interact with your customers in a way  that you can’t on other platforms.

Of course, due to the nature of Instagram it’s important to be creative.  Not just with your posts but in all respects of the platform, including advertising.

If you know that you should be doing more for your eCommerce store on social media but you don’t know where to start then one of our social media training courses could help point you in the right direction. If you do however have just a quick question then please share in the comments section or send us a tweet at @TeamTillison.

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