When you work in digital media, you quickly realize that becoming complacent is not an option. The online world is constantly changing and evolving, and while it’s virtually impossible to be an instant expert on everything, as digital marketers it is our job to keep up to date on these changes and what they mean for our industry and our clients. Basically, we never stop learning. (Translation: We’re kind of a bunch of nerds.)
In this constantly evolving digital world we live in, it’s not unusual to encounter new apps or tools of some kind—usually accompanied with a promise on how it will change your life/business/world—but there are two particular announcements that have had media and marketing experts buzzing (extra loud) over the last couple of weeks that we think are worth noting.
ONE. Twitter announced the official launch of a new “Buy” button that will be featured in tweets from test partners including Fancy (@fancy), Gumroad (@gumroad), Musictoday (@Musictoday) and Stripe (@stripe), with more to follow soon. This new feature will allow purchases to be completed by simply tapping the “Buy” button directly from the tweet. Users will then be given additional product details and be prompted to enter shipping and payment information. Once confirmed, order information is sent to the merchant for delivery.
This technology is part of Twitter’s larger effort to combine purchasing with social networking, something that Facebook has also been testing through their own version of a “buy” button. According to Twitter’s blog post announcing the launch, this is an early step toward the company’s goal of “building functionality into Twitter to make shopping from mobile devices convenient and easy, hopefully even fun.” You can read the full announcement from Twitter on their blog, here.
Depending on how this experiment goes for these two leading social media platforms, we suspect others will quickly follow suit. At a time when the world of mobile e-commerce is intensifying, the “Buy” button may be just the thing social media needs to help more clearly quantify ROI, and turn the last of the social media naysayers into believers. This brings us to the second announcement heating up the Internet this week.
TWO. Apple announced its new line of products on September 9, including Apple Pay, an NFC (near field communication) device similar to Google Wallet. The key difference is that unlike Google Wallet and other similar NFC tools, Apple Pay doesn’t require an app to be downloaded, so once iPhone 6 and 6 Plus users input their credit card information into Apply Pay they are ready to start buying. This should help eliminate some of the security risks that have caused people to be apprehensive about NFC technology in the past. So, is Apple’s decision tackle the “Digital Wallet” a sure indicator that NFC technology will finally catch on? Maybe. Maybe not. Even experts in the field seem to be divided on the answer.
That said, if history is any indication—Let’s not forget the similar fragmented state of the digital music space before Steve Jobs brought the major labels together—it would be a mistake for marketers to completely ignore Apple’s decision to enter the space, and the possible implications this decision could have on the future of mobile payments. Especially given that MasterCard, Visa and American Express, the three largest global payments leaders, are all signed on to support Apple Pay.
If the idea of carrying around a “digital wallet,” or spending a bored Sunday afternoon “tweet shopping” still seems far-fetched to you, just remember when online buying of any kind was merely a marketing fairytale. Back in March of this year, eMarketer predicted mobile marketing (driven by Facebook and Google) was on pace to account for $31.45 billion by the end of 2014. That’s nearly one-quarter of total digital ad spending worldwide.
What does your brand's current online presence look like? Is your business using social media? If not, now is a great time to take the plunge. Don’t get left behind while mobile buying becomes the norm.
And if all of this seems a bit overwhelming to you—don’t worry— that’s why you have us.