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Inbound Marketing Blog

    Will you buy into Facebook’s Buy button?

    Posted by Jessica Bowers Hopson

    Likes and dislikes on the social media giant’s latest status update

    Facebook tests a new Buy button on its sponsored posts for businesses

    This week, Facebook announced its latest enhancement, the Buy button. In an effort to make it easier for users to shop online without navigating away from one of their favorite social networking sites, Facebook has been testing this newest News Feed addition with a select group of small- to mid-sized business pages.

    Designed to appear as native content, the Buy button is embedded in sponsored ads and allows users to make purchases with one click, a la Amazon’s yellow sidebar button. Users can elect to save payment information to make faster purchases in the future, making it even easier for customers to become repeat buyers of products advertised on Facebook. Facebook stated that users’ credit or debit card information will be stored securely on its platform and not shared with any other advertiser, easing concerns about cardholder security.

    Through the addition of the Buy button, this powerful social platform is increasing its power. You can already use Facebook to promote your business, your events or your products with the hopes of attracting customers who want to buy said products.


    In fact, HubSpot reported that in 2013, 52% of marketers found a customer by using Facebook.

    [Source: @HubSpot] (Tweet: HubSpot reported that in 2013, 52% of marketers found a customer by using Facebook. [source: @HubSpot] http://ctt.ec/meC5b+" title="Click to tweet!" target="_blank">Click to tweet!)

    However, not all of these customers made a purchase right away and certainly none directly within Facebook. With the addition of the Buy button, you have the opportunity to realize immediate revenue.

    Because it is still in the beta phase, not much data exists on how receptive the Facebook community will be to the Buy button, although Facebook promises to share feedback once they receive it. At first mention, the addition of the Buy button seems like a great concept for businesses. Use a pretty picture to showcase a product, add a pithy caption, insert the Buy button and watch the sales roll in.

    How does the Buy button work for me?

    Upon further reflection of this little button, more questions than answers exist until Facebook officially rolls out this update.

    Questions from the business owner: If am a business owner wanting to sell a product through a sponsored post on Facebook, I need much more detail from Facebook on how this button works. Are there any prerequisites to accepting sales from Facebook, such as having e-commerce capabilities on my website or PCI DSS compliance for credit card security? How do I insert the button on my posts? How do I receive the order and payment information from Facebook? While we can assume Facebook will charge a fee for this service, as the button has been created as a way for Facebook to increase its own revenue, no details about the fee structure have yet been published. These practical questions need to be addressed to make it easy for businesses to utilize this feature in order to make it easy for Facebook users to make purchases.

    Questions from the customer: If I am a user scrolling through my Facebook feed, and I see an image of a product I want to purchase, I need to know my transaction will be secure. I also need confirmation of my purchase. Will I be taken to a separate landing page thanking me for my purchase or will I be immediately taken back to my news feed? While this may not be as much of a concern to the younger demographic, older Facebook users who may be less trusting of e-commerce are certainly going to want to know that their purchase went through and their card was charged. 

    But what if I click the Buy button by mistake? Have you ever accidentally clicked the little yellow button from an Amazon product page and been surprised that your transaction actually processed with only one click? If so, you know that while it is possible to undo the transaction, it is not easy. Will Facebook make it easy to undo an erroneous purchase? Apple had to enter into a multi-million dollar settlement with the Federal Trade Commission to refund in-app purchases made by children on their parents’ accounts. Facebook could be setting itself up for the same type of settlement if it becomes too easy to make accidental (and unauthorized) purchases.

    Questions from the marketer: If I am a marketer—and specifically an inbound marketer—how is the Buy button helping me to target qualified prospects or build brand loyalty? If I am trying to sell a service versus a product, will Facebook users be ready to make a snap decision when they see my post in their News Feed or will they demand more information about my business before making a decision? Marketers are being taught to use Facebook to cultivate relationships, to build rapport and community amongst their fans and then to make a sales pitch. With one click, the Buy button could likely negate that entire strategy.

    We don’t yet know how users will react to the Buy button. Potential customers might become annoyed by being sold to in every third update and quit logging on to Facebook, rendering marketers’ hard work worthless. Or worse, customers who experience a problem with their transaction could likely lose trust in the company, not Facebook, which is the exact opposite of the reason for having a Facebook presence in the first place.

    Impact to E-Commerce?

    We also don’t yet know how the Buy button will impact e-commerce. Some are calling this button Facebook’s answer to Twitter’s move to encourage in-app purchases. (Twitter recently acquired CardSpring, a company linking credit cards to mobile apps to enable online shopping, and partnered with Amazon earlier this year to provide hashtag-based purchasing power through #AmazonCart.) Will Facebook’s attempt at in-app purchasing be successful enough to change the way we shop online? Or will this update simply join the list of Facebook’s previous attempts at e-commerce that didn’t receive enough likes to remain active?

    While it remains to be seen exactly how the Buy button will function and how this will impact business pages on Facebook, we do one know thing. Our Facebook News Feeds are changing. Again. And, as marketers, we will need to change too.

    [Image Source: Facebook]

    Topics: Social Media