Instagram and Snapchat have taken steps to become social commerce platforms, but L2’s Intelligence Report: Instagram vs. Snapchat finds efforts to sell on the platforms have been largely unsuccessful. More than a third of Instagram call-to-action buttons push sales with the “Shop Now” feature, but few consumers are trying out the experience, despite its relative ease of use: 64% percent of brands that implemented the feature reported zero sales lift.
On Snapchat, social commerce is hindered by the clunky shopping experience. For example, ShopStyle inscribes its microsite URL inside each snap – requiring would-be shoppers to memorize the URL in 10 seconds (or take a screenshot), leave the platform, open a web browser, and type in the URL. And while the items within the snap are listed on the ShopStyle site, users are then redirected to other sites for purchase.
Social commerce is unlikely to become widely adopted on Snapchat unless those steps are reduced, such as by updating the app to allow functioning links within snaps. Similarly, until Instagram is able to provide more sophisticated advertising models on par with parent company Facebook, its version of social commerce is unlikely to pay off for brands.
But this does not mean brands should steer away from advertising on these platforms. Rather, they should view their investments as building equity and awareness – which can indirectly boost sales.