Why monetize content on social media: Shopping in the digital age

25.9 percent of users turn to social platforms to search for products to buy
Why monetize content on social media: Shopping in the digital age
More people are buying products via social networking platforms

The digital transformation is in full swing, and retail is one of the heavily influenced industries of this phenomenon. In particular, the pervasive power of social media has changed how shopping works. 

In an October feature from ecommerceDB, the Statista-powered database revealed various driving forces behind turning social media users into avid online consumers, underscoring the advantage businesses could enjoy when monetizing content on social networking platforms.

Beyond social connections

In the third quarter of 2022, data reveals that at 47.1 percent, the primary purpose of social media usage is to stay connected with friends and family. In addition, social networking sites also serve as a leisure time companion (36.2 percent) and news source (34.2 percent). 

Beyond all that, 27.3 percent of users turn to social media for “finding inspiration for things to do and buy,”  while 25.9 percent use it for “finding products to purchase.” Content from favorite brands influences 22.7 percent of users, underlining the platform’s potency in guiding consumer choices.

But what drives social media shopping? Deals and discounts are the primary motivators for 39 percent of shoppers. Following closely is the ease of purchase, identified as significant by one-third of respondents. Exclusive offers persuade 28 percent. This is according to a report from Wunderman Thompson Commerce. 

Other considerations include customer reviews, real consumer product usage, expedited payment options, updated services, early product access, specialized product ranges, live streaming, and the influence of endorsements. 

Leveraging content diversity

Today’s social media creators offer diverse content, with food creators leading at 27 percent, lifestyle creators at 22 percent, and travel influencers at 20 percent. While finance, tech, skincare, beauty, and other niches garner less attention, they cater to specific audience segments.

With the plethora of content available for consumption, understanding what resonates with the general user base serves as marketers’ ultimate guide in crafting strategies that appeal to a broader audience. The ultimate goal is to boost social commerce.

Examining trends is key

Looking at trends on social media, topics like “haptic communication” (1,083 percent increase) and “Generative art” (676 percent increase) have surged on Facebook and Instagram. “Sustainable city” (2,143 percent increase) is in the spotlight in sustainability.

Online businesses can leverage such talked-about subjects to make their brands relevant to their target audiences. Tech companies, for instance, could tap into the expanding interest in touch-based communication by emphasizing haptic technology. Likewise, businesses in the art and entertainment niches may seize the opportunity presented by the growing enthusiasm for generative and fantasy art. 

Apart from topics, marketing channels also matter. Globally, the top channels for marketing content promotion are social media (organic) at 73 percent, email marketing at 53 percent, and social media (paid ads) at 51 percent. This further underscores social media’s central role in content marketing.

In terms of type of content, video reigns supreme. This format makes up 45 percent of global content marketing types in 2022. Short-form articles (31 percent), success stories (28 percent), and long-form blog posts (24 percent) followed.

Social media shopping

Read: Livestream commerce drives up to 30 percent higher conversion rates than e-commerce

Social media shopping in MEA

According to Deloitte, social media shopping, propelled by influencers and creators, is set to surpass $1 trillion globally in 2023. Gen Z (born between 1997 and 2012) leads the way, as reported by Forrester. Collectively, they constitute 29 percent of social network purchases weekly.

With a youthful population and high internet adoption, the Middle East and Africa (MEA)  are poised for substantial growth. Forecasts show that the social commerce industry in the MEA could grow by a remarkable 36.8 percent annually, reaching $9.93 billion this year.

The United Arab Emirates is specifically at the forefront of this development, given its status as the social media capital of the world. Apart from having the highest percentage of Facebook users, it boasts an average use of 8.2 social media platforms per resident, ranking third globally.

In a recent research by Redseer Strategic Consulting, 66 percent of UAE consumers use social media for product discovery, while about a third initiate purchases through brand and retailer pages.

The rise of beauty and personal care social commerce could further drive this growth. This segment is expected to expand to a massive $1 billion opportunity by 2025. 

The future of social media shopping

Social media is no longer a mere platform for establishing and maintaining social connections. For consumers and businesses, it has become an essential avenue for commerce — a digital marketplace of today and the future.

As it continues to reshape the shopping landscape, the world can only expect to see more businesses adding those enticing “Buy Now” call-to-action buttons to their social media content. The age of social commerce is upon us, and it’s here to stay.

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