Facebook's new attempt at e-commerce - the Facebook Buy Button

Over on sister site, eBay strategies, (where we cover marketplace trends) we just wrapped a three piece exclusive series that digs into Facebook's latest attempt at conquering e-commerce.

Here's a brief guide - if you are interested in the intersection of social and e-commerce, we strongly recommend you follow this new path that Facebook is embarking on:

Part I/II - Introducing 'Buy on Facebook' (here)

To understand where Facebook is going here, you have to look backwards and deeper into where Facebook is as a company today.  In Part I we did just that with a brief history of Facebook's flirtations with e-commerce as well as some amazing datapoints from Facebook's recent Q2 results.  Did you know that Facebook now has over 1.3b monthly active users and 80% of them are using the site through mobile?  Have you heard of Lolly Wolly Doodle?

Part II/III - Tour: Completing a transaction and post transaction flow (here)

In part 2 of the series, we went on a detailed tour of the new Facebook Buy Button functionality. The conclusion - this is a very well thought out, scalable, and consumer friendly solution that could have a significant impact.

Part III/III - What does this mean? (here)

In the final post, we estimated what a successful Facebook 'marketplace' would look like and how big could it be?  When you have 1.3b users it doesn't take much activity - low single digit usage and conversion rates - to create a > $10b marketplace.  What does this mean to the industry? What should you do today?  What will happen to Google, eBay, Amazon, etc.?


We hope you enjoy the series!



Get tips from the top retailers on Facebook as well as the network’s latest changes that affect retailers. Download Q2’s Facebook Commerce Index (FBCI) today!



The 2014 Q2 Facebook Commerce Index (FBCI) Is Hot Off the Press!

Facebook is a living and breathing entity. The online society has become ingrained in over a billion individuals’ lives. One-fifth of the world’s population logs onto the social network at least once a month. And once they're there, the average user spends 40 minutes a day on the platform. Facebook’s population ranges from grandparents to middle schoolers to everyone in between. If Facebook were a country, it would have the third-highest population, behind China and India. Have we gotten our point across yet? Facebook has revolutionized communication and isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Now, how do retailers capitalize on this vibrant community? If the top retailers on Facebook are any indication, you need to generate great content that people want to share. Facebook Icon

Next time you log on to Facebook, notice that your news feed is primarily filled with posts from the users you engage with most. Facebook’s news feed algorithm, EdgeRank, takes note of your every interaction within the network — Likes, comments, shares, page visits, etc. — and serves up similar content in your news feed that it thinks you’ll find interesting. Making its platform valuable to end users — not marketers — is a huge priority for Facebook.

Marketers are often on social media to sell. Consumers, however, are not. Fans rarely return to a brand’s Facebook page after that initial Like. Which means a brand’s content needs to find consumers, since consumers more than likely won’t be searching for it.

It all boils down to the news feed — an open gate to getting your content in front of fans. What shows EdgeRank that a piece of content is great is engagement. The more shares, comments and Likes a post has, the greater the content’s visibility and the more likely it is that Facebook will serve it to fans’ news feeds.

As straightforward as this sounds, it’s still a task most retailers haven’t grasped. In this quarter’s Facebook Commerce Index (FBCI), we’ve taken a closer look at four retailers that have nailed the art of Facebook marketing. You’ll also find explanations of these Facebook changes as they apply to retail brands:

  • Improvements to embedded Facebook posts

  • Facebook’s new mobile ad network, Audience Network

  • Better-targeted Facebook ads

Additionally, you’ll find a list of the top 25 retailers by fan count, fan count growth, and fan percentage growth. Trust us, these are the brands you’ll want to “Facebook stalk.”


Blog post by Jordan Nowlin, social media & blog manager, ChannelAdvisor


Get tips from the top retailers on Facebook as well as the network’s latest changes that affect retailers. Download Q2’s Facebook Commerce Index (FBCI) today!


Takeaways from the 2014 Q1 Facebook Commerce Index


Mark Zuckerberg has maneuvered his way into so many aspects of our lives — both personal and professional. His booming social network accounts for over 1.23 billion active monthly users, and over half of those users click the Like button on their favorite products. We’re past the controversy of whether brands should “do social media.” It now boils down to how well they do it. 2014’s Q1 Facebook Commerce Index (FBCI) highlights 25 companies that have successfully rocked Facebook commerce. Below is a case study that explores American Greetings’ Facebook success in populating and sustaining its fan base. Download the FBCI report in full to read more achievement cases, as well as:

  • How retailers should react to Facebook’s latest changes

  • Top 25 retailers by fan count

  • Top 25 retailers by fan count number growth

  • Top 25 retailers by fan count percentage growth

Deep Dive: American Greetings

Snail mail may be deemed “old fashioned” in this technology-driven society, but greeting card company American Greetings has successfully adapted. Its Facebook growth in Q1 resulted in around 888,000 Likes, a 229% increase over a three-month span.

American Greetings' VTine Posts



From “thank you” to “birthday” to “thinking of you,” greeting cards are meant for anyone and any occasion. American Greetings has a broad customer base. The greeting card giant cleverly tailors its social content to hit the sweet spots of each segment within its complex audience. For example, the focus of Valentine's Day differs for everyone, so American Greetings created posts aimed at people in relationships and posts that had more mass appeal — even one about pets. The high engagement on each variety of Heart Day posts reflects resonation among fans.



American Greetings' Event Posts



Greeting cards are traditionally used for recognizing holidays, and American Greetings does just that with its Facebook strategy. The company not only features content on major holidays, but also zones in on popular events, such as the Boston Marathon, and not-so-well-known celebrations, such as Mr. Rogers’ birthday. This sort of content acts as unique memos that fans probably enjoy seeing in their news feeds — and  in turn share with their friends.




Lastly, there is a science behind American Greetings’ social strategy. One of the most popular card-sending occasions in the US is “thinking of you”. Most of American Greetings’ posts, not to mention the best performers, consist of inspirational quotes or words of wisdom.

American Greetings' Best Performers

Greeting cards are associated with consideration, compassion and relationship management. In today’s world, this personal affection can be as simple as text message, Facebook post or instant message. American Greetings understands technology’s impact and has crafted its Facebook content into meaningful bits that its audience devours and disseminates.

American Greetings is just one of the top 25 businesses in Q1 that has mastered the art of Facebook for retailers. To learn more about the habits of other successful retailers on Facebook, as well as recent platform changes that affect retailers, check out the Q1 2014 Facebook Commerce Index in full.

 Blog post by Jordan Nowlin, social media & blog manager, ChannelAdvisor


3 Facebook Updates Retailers Should Know from The Q3 Index

Over time, Facebook has become an everyday part of our lives. What we’ve seen over the past few years, however, is the e-commerce gain for retailers who market their company and products through Facebook. These days many retailers own and run a Facebook page. But it’s how you run it that is the vital component in its success.

Each quarter, our Facebook Commerce Index tracks retailers’ Facebook pages, analysing their growth over the past three months and the method they used to achieve such results. This quarter in the UK Facebook Commerce Index we delve into the Facebook strategies of Amazon, New Look, Boux Avenue and Isme. For the US Facebook Commerce Index we identified Walmart, Tommy Hilfiger, Ahnu Footwear and Northern Tools as the notable success stories of the past three months.

In Q3, there were also three important Facebook updates that apply to retailers; the News Feed Ranking algorithm, the use of Shutterstock images in advertising and finally changes to the way retailers can run promotions. Below we provide a brief overview of these changes:

News Feed Ranking Algorithm

Facebook1Facebook’s new update allows certain posts, which users may have missed the first time around, to reappear near the top of their news feed. This will only occur however if the post has received a significant amount of Likes and comments.

The result is that even if Facebook users missed a post the first time, they are given a second chance to see selected posts. If a user didn’t scroll down their news feed far enough and never saw a retailer’s post and if the post receives an adequate amount of engagement from other users, it would reappear near the top of the news feed. The benefit of this update is the increased exposure it offers retailers. Make sure you make your posts as engaging and relevant as possible to boost your chances of reappearing in a feed. 

Shutterstock Images & Multiple Images Uploads:

Millions of Shutterstock images are now available to businesses on Facebook at no additional price. Retailers on Facebook will also be able to select multiple images when creating ads. One of the biggest advantages of retailers using images from the Shutterstock library is that they are all commercially licensed and available for use in all Facebook ad formats.

Facebook 2

The right images, especially those of high quality, will often increase the performance of Facebook ads. This update now provides retailers with a far broader choice of images, allowing you to select the most suitable one for your ad. The multiple images uploads update also allows retailers to create multiple ads at the same time, speeding up the process significantly.

Administering Promotions Facebook 3

Following an update of Facebook’s page terms, promotions on Facebook (e.g. giveaways or prizes that require entry or registration) are no longer required to be administered purely through apps.

This update means that promotions can now be run on page timelines, enabling retailers to collect entries from users posting on their page, or from Liking and commenting on a page post. Likes can be used as a voting mechanism and retailers can attain entries via users messaging on the page.

6a00d8341d136453ef0192ac6a4a82970d-800wiHaving a Facebook presence can certainly help you engage with customers and increase brand awareness, no matter where you’re located across the globe. For more on Facebook as a retail and marketing tool and to learn how leading companies are already mastering this channel, download the full Q3 analysis in the UK Facebook Commerce Index or US Facebook Commerce Index today. 

With less than one month remaining in the final quarter of 2013, keep a look out for our fourth and final quarterly Facebook Commerce Index around the start of 2014.


3 Facebook Updates Retailers Should Know from The Q2 Index

Facebook pages are at the heart of social commerce; they’re one of the many ways retailers grow brand influence, find and engage in conversations with potential customers, promote products and leverage the power of peer influence in purchase decisions. The purpose of ChannelAdvisor's quarterly Facebook Commerce Index is to track fan growth and analyze strategies that leading US retailers use to engage with fans and promote products on Facebook. This report reveals the LEADING retailers on Facebook, analyzes the strategies behind top engagers and growers, and sheds light on Facebook updates retailers can leverage for business.

This quarter, the Facebook Commerce Index highlighted three important Facebook changes that apply to retail brands: the US release of Graph Search, the launch of hashtags and new page engagement metrics. Learn what's new on Facebook that you can be using for your retail business!


Graph Search is Rolled Out in the US

With the release of Graph Search in the US, Facebook users and retail customers can easily find businesses and retailers that fit their wants and needs. Through this search engine, Facebook users are able to see what Pages their friends or followers have “Liked” and recently visited on Facebook. Using Grpah Search, Facebook users gain visibility into what products and retail Pages are most Liked by their network of friends. With this update, it's key that retailers update the "About" information to ensure their Page will be indexed for related searches by users. 

In the example below, Graph Search is being used to crowdsource Shopping & Retail places (or, Pages) this user's Facebook friends have "Liked":

Graph search

This update adds weight to an important principle our Facebook Commerce Index has been impressing on retailers all along: content published to Facebook must be engaging and shareable. The more your content is organically shared by fans, the more likely you'll grow your fan base by reaching similar audiences. As your grow your audience, the more likely you'll be found by 'friends of fans' through Graph Search.

Increased Visibility with #Hashtags

Another recent update that Facebook made is the use of the hashtag (e.g. #CyberMonday), which allows users to discover all conversations happening about a single topic within Facebook at any given point in time. Hashtag enable users to see a wider, public discussion based on the topic of the hashtag. Hashtags, when clicked, lead to a separate window within Facebook where all posts with that same hashtag are aggregated for the user to see.

Using hashtags, retailers can draw attention to specific events, promotions and products. Further, hashtags present great opportunities to connect with Facebook users and audiences beyond their established fan bases. 

EBags provides a great example on how to use hashtags within a product-focused post on Facebook. Using the hashtag #throwbackthursday is a smart strategy because the topic isn't siloed to eBags' brand or category. By choosing to hashtag a topic that's both fun and used widely on social media, eBags multiplies the liklihood that this post will be discovered by Facebook users who've also used or searched for the #ThrowbackThursday hashtag:



Additional Insights for Page Managers

Facebook has given social marketers additional insight, releasing new Page metrics and data to track engagement. "PTAT" stands for people talking about this and is a metric that provides unique insight for marketers. It is used to measure the engagement on Facebook pages and allows retailers to see how many people have used content from their pages to create their own posts and stories. What’s more with the new Page metrics, retailers can see who's engaging and where, with engagement data segmented by gender, geography, country, city and language.  This information can be used to make smarter decisions about the type of content and posts that garner the greatest interest.  

Below you can see how Facebook has made the process of tracking engagements easy, with insight into the total Facebook users engaged versus Page fans engaged by gender, age, geography and language:



The Q2 Facebook Commerce Index offers retailers a greater idea of how to make their businesses rise above the competition when it comes to the use of social media sites. Whether you are a small or large retailer, this report is sure to leave you more informed and to provide you with beneficial information helpful for your specific business. To learn who the TOP Retailers on Facebook are, and which retailers, big and small, are emerging as social commerce trailblazers, download the Q2 Facebook Commerce Index today!



Is a Higher ROAS Always Better?

To some, it seems obvious to stretch your ad budget further by maximizing your Return On Ad Spend (ROAS = how many dollars in revenue you get for each dollar spent). Becoming obsessed with and achieving a 5-to-1 or even a 10-to-1 return may seem like it will make your marketing efforts shine, but at what cost? Today we’re taking a look at a common question from a slightly different view.


Which result would you rather have?

Spend            Revenue       ROAS

$1,000            $10,000          10:1

$5,000            $40,000            8:1

$10,000          $60,000            6:1


From the table, you’ll notice that the difference in spend becomes incremental when compared to the higher revenue that’s possible when your business advertising program is thoughtfully managed.

Lets think about the network effects (other than higher revenues) that result from more sales:

  • Better pricing from wholesale suppliers when more quantity is purchased
  • Improved rates from fulfillment partners when more shipments are made
  • Enhanced ability to optimize processes, with the greater volume of metric data is available from broadened results

Measuring tape via wwarbyObviously, some retailers have margins that wouldn’t allow them to stay in business if their marketing programs had a 6:1 ROAS across the board.

Despite this fact, I encourage you to ask the question in regard to measurement: Is ROAS the complete story? 

Which products feature higher margins? Can we take a lower ROAS on those products? 

Third-party software can enable you to maximize sales on products you can afford to. For example, with ChannelAdvisor’s Inventory Driven Search program retailers can dynamically create Paid Search content and keywords for each product—allowing them to optimize spending using business rules tied to these products and inventory quantities. For Comparison Shopping channels, business rules and automatic bid adjustments can ensure a similar strategy is in place.

Does a new customer have a high lifetime value?

If a strong relationship is established with a new consumer, you can usually count on that buyer to come back and purchase time and time again. This may justify taking a lower margin on the first purchase from new customers. Using advanced tactics, such as remarketing, can assist in securing a purchase from a shopper on the verge of converting.

Are there worthwhile conversions other than purchases?

Shoppers looking at your website may complete a valuable action other than purchase on their first visit. Visitor actions such as catalog downloads, newsletter sign-ups and promotional video views indirectly promote sales by establishing trust, developing relationships and educating potential buyers about your products and the trustworthiness of your brand, and should all be considered justification for advertising costs. These actions are important touch points for customers on the way to a purchase. ChannelAdvisor’s custom event tracking software can help you measure these non-revenue conversions and assign appropriate value to them.


These are just a few considerations to make when structuring your advertising budget and performance goals. Bear in mind that while maintaining a high ROAS is an important component of your strategy, it’s not the only detail that matters.

Ultimately, many retailers find that bringing in more revenue is a desirable result, even if it comes at a lower margin. The key is making sure you have enough visibility and automation that you can control your advertising program rather than letting it control you.

Blog post by David Monterroso, Senior Solutions Consultant, ChannelAdvisor.

Image Source: wwarby


Need-To-Know Changes from Facebook & The ChannelAdvisor Facebook Commerce Index

The Facebook Commerce Index for Q1 2013 is out, and we’ve tweaked it just for you.

If you’ve been following the FBCI to date (introductory post here), you’ve learned to anticipate seeing what new punches big dogs are throwing in the Top 25 ring, which victors emerge from unlikely verticals, and what content and engagement tactics are proving most successful for retailers across the board.

What’s new to the FBCI?

This year, we’ll be sifting through Facebook’s updates each quarter to highlight which may elicit changes in retailers’ social strategies with regard to content, advertising, mobile usability and more.

In Q1, there were a handful of updates from Facebook that will be crucial for retailers to pay attention to going forward, including graph search, an updated look for news feed (as displayed in the photo below) and more. Read the full Facebook Commerce Index to find out why these changes apply to retail pages and our suggestions for how to react.

New timeline View


Image Source: Facebook.com


Highlights from the Q1 FBCI

The total number of online retailer fans climbed to 550 million in Q1, clocking in at 7.5% growth.

We saw 1756% growth from Boot Barn, a western footwear and apparel retailer. It lassoed fans by peppering product promotions with coupon-like photography and the occasional Facebook offer amidst a stream of lighthearted contests and updates to keep its fans coming without overwhelming them with Boot Barn products.

Boot Barn 1

KitchenSource.com proved that expensive contests and giveaways aren’t the only way to garner a following, growing to 4,369 fans in less than 3 months, an immense uptick relative to its January starting point of 848 fans. KitchenSource.com found success in posting high-quality images of dream homes for its fans to drool over, reminding us that publishing category-related content that users want to see can produce engagement without sounding too pushy on the product front. 

KitchenSource.com 1

Read up on all the charts of the Q1 2013 Facebook Commerce Index in the full FBCI:

  • How Retailers Should React to Facebook’s Latest Changes
  • Top 25 Retailers by Fan Count
  • Top 25 Retailers by Fan Count Number Growth
  • Top 25 Retailers by Fan Count Percentage Growth

Download Now





Why Retailers Should Be Thinking Like Media Producers

Become a media producer, drive demand and create new paths to conversion.

A couple of months ago, I attended Group Commerce's "ThinkCommerce" summit. Group Commerce focuses on e-commerce for Publishers, making their business adjacent to ChannelAdvisor if not completely overlapping. A lot of the content was still extremely informative for me. If you're interested in a snapshot of where the Media Industry's e-commerce efforts are, there's a lot of reports, slides, and videos at the ThinkCommerce website. I particularly recommend the Keynotes video presented by Forrester's Sucharita Mulpuru and Terence Kawaja.

The primary message in this summit that stood out to me as an e-commerce professional, is that the Media Industry is actively coming after e-commerce in 2013. With subscriptions and ad revenues both in decline, they have to. There is no choice in the matter.

Jon Miller quote

The quote to the right was one of the big things that I heard the ex-News Corp Chief say. The whole message of this conference was that media companies have to enter e-commerce fast. This quote turns that proposition on its head. Retailers should be creating media to drive consumer demand. Retailers should become media companies that drive demand through media/consumer interaction. This is the primary idea that I took from the day.

What kinds of media could this include? Here are 3 simple things you can do to create media that helps build your customer community.

1. Video reviews & Lifestyle Videos

Video reviews can be a great conversion enhancer and present an opportunity to create a unique voice that your customer can relate to. Numerous studies have shown that including product videos can significantly enhance conversion rates.

Similarly to a review, lifestyle videos can provide an opportunity to connect with your consumer and provide great content for other marketing channels like email or social media. The next time that you conduct a product photography session, try capturing some video* of the shoot and editing the footage into a "Spring Preview" or "New Products" video. This can become a great recurring featurette to highlight on your homepage, blog, or marketing channels.

Retail brands that consistently feature content become regular destinations for consumers that want to know more about a product before they will make a purchase.

*Most digital point-and-shoot cameras are capable of capturing quality high-resolution video and many laptops and desktops come pre-loaded with video editing software (iMovie / Windows Movie Maker). Odds are you also have an employee that's already familiar as a hobbyist with the skills necessary to produce great video content to use in a pilot program. YouTube can host the videos for free. With an initial success you can justify putting more resources into a more substantial effort.

2. Top 5 List / Tips List

People love lists! Featuring a list of "Top 5 Products for... X" on your homepage will always attract clicks. There's no reason to rely on magazines and blogs to create these for you. Simply identify products with some common threads and pull them together with some thematic copy that appeals to the type of shopper that you’re targeting with each list. Consumers will use this when shopping for themselves as well as for others.

Products used to accomplish a consumer's goal can also be bundled together into a "Tips" list. For retailers of tools and hardware, try creating a list of products necessary for completing home improvement projects. For automotive retailers why not try writing an article about "5 Simple Projects to Pimp Your Ride."

3. Featured Product write-ups / Trend Alerts

Try to take a different angle on the product review. Is your brand identity tied to a region? Have any company connections to celebrities or athletes? Try working with strong personalities within or without your organization and have them integrate the products that you sell into their daily life, possibly with a regional twist if possible. Do you sell kitchen products? Have one of your employees that loves to cook try out a new product to make something and share the recipe.

If you see a category emerge within your products that is really moving, try building on that natural momentum. Feature the product category on your homepage. On the alert page, highlight what product trends your buyers need to know about with editorial and links to products that relate to this trend.

Hopefully, these ideas have sparked some creativity. Being a retailer can be about more than just the products you sell, but also about the personality of your Brand. Letting your consumers see into this personality is part of what will keep them coming back. The media companies are coming. As a retailer you are already ahead of them in knowing how to be successful at e-commerce. Now it’s time to show them how to create great content. 

Check out some of our customer success videos to see how we've taken a case study spin on content creation.  

Blog post by David Monterroso, ChannelAdvisor Senior Solution Consultant @MontyCommerce


Q4 2012 US Facebook Commerce Index

Macy's week of wonderfulThe Q4 US Facebook Commerce Index is complete.  Headline of the quarter: 12% growth! That's quite the leap from the average 8% growth for most of 2012. We also surpassed 500 million fans for the first time.  2013 could be the year the the total fancount of the Facebook Commerce Index hits 1 billion! 

The upper echelon of the top 25 stayed mostly the same--Victoria's Secret hasn't regained its spot from Walmart and Target, but Macy's had a pretty impressive leap for the forth quarter--up 3 positions! 


From Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday to Christmas to the "Week of Wonderful" after Christmas, Macy's never lets up.  The company is constantly updating its facebook page with contests, celebrities, charities, new men's apparel, kids, women's, beauty, the list goes on!  There is something for everyone in Macy's target demographic, and clearly it paid off this holiday as they jumped from 16th place to 13th place on the Top 25.

Amazon Naughty or Nice

Amazon doesn't have quite the volume of posts that Macy's does, but what it lacks in quantity, it makes up for in quality.  Take, for example, the post below.  This was one of only 19 posts in November, but it got 45,539 Likes! 

Read up on all the charts of the Q4 2012 Facebook Commerce Index:

  • Top 25 Retailers by Fan Count
  • Top 25 Retailers by Fan Count Number Growth
  • Top 25 Retailers by Fan Count Percentage Growth

Download Now


November 2012 UK Facebook Commerce Index (UK FBCI)

This month’s UK Facebook Commerce Index has seen more dramatic changes to the Top 25. Six large retailers slipped down in the charts, while three soared up the table. Asda deserves a mention for jumping four places, with just under 100,000 new fans in 30 days. Amazon is the top grower this month, with an astonishing 410,521 new Likes in November. Overall, our Top 25 increased their fan count by 1, 487, 623 over the month. We will be releasing a deep-dive analysis of the UK FBCI Q4 results in January. In the meantime, Happy Holidays to all of our UK FBCI readers!

Top 25