Meta has announced that due to a shift in consumer behaviours it will no longer allow brands to host any new or scheduled Live Shopping events on Facebook. Brands will still be able to use Facebook Live to broadcast live events, but they will not be able to create product playlists or tag products in their Facebook Live videos. Instead, Meta will focus on building out Reels on Facebook and Instagram, its short-form video product.
Campaign Asia-Pacific asks industry experts how the removal of the Live Shopping feature will impact brands.
May Phyu Sin, global influencer marketing manager, Coda Payments
The demise of Facebook Live Shopping has shocked brands to be ready for the unexpected and be quick to adapt. It was a novelty for a while, but no innovation was happening over time to keep the audience engaged. Live streaming works in China, but this seems to be the exception while the rest of the world gravitates towards short-form content. TikTok Shop paused its live-streaming efforts in the US and Europe, which corroborates Meta's decision to pull back from Live Shopping.
Let's talk options: 40% of Gen Z use TikTok and Instagram over Google as their search engine. #TikTokmademebuyit is at 18.7B views, which speaks volumes about the change in landscape online. Brands need to think of what their customers are searching for, reverse engineer and create content around it. Meta is incentivising everyone to use Reels by showing their content to more people than before.
You get excited seeing lots of views on your content, which keeps you hooked on the platform. The key is to have a few tricks up your sleeves, diversify your content channels, and continuously engage in A/B testing to find the next best thing that works for you.
Ben Farrar, head of paid media, Jaywing Australia
Facebook's decision to sunset Facebook Live Shopping is Meta accepting user behaviour on their platform has changed. The way people consume content, especially on mobile, has shifted to bite-size chunks thanks to the rise of TikTok.
The days of live shopping as a format on social media platforms may be limited as TikTok similarly seems to be halting momentum. In addition, users expect advertiser engagement on social platforms, and live shopping is against the grain.
Interestingly, YouTube is furthering its investment in live shopping as a format through its partnership with Shopify to facilitate businesses serving products on live videos. Cementing a difference in user behaviour - people are on YouTube to consume long-form content.
Marketers should focus on Reels as Meta continues to develop functionality here, including the ability to tag products and utilise Reels Ads. Not to mention the ability to schedule Reels in the not-too-distant future.
Karen Soo, managing director, Tug Singapore
The impact of Facebook's Live Shopping decision would be minimal as e-commerce players will find other channels to host live shopping, such as TalkShopLive, which is more prevalent in the US and Instagram.
In Southeast Asia, more start-ups could start sprouting up in this space, and brands and smaller shops will find other unique ways to conduct their sales online. A key aspect of live shopping is the host of talent that performs the live stream and how engaging the personality is.
Hence regardless of the platform, as long as the host is good and the content is engaging, coupled with a good product, live shopping will continue to thrive.
Nick Lavidge, chief executive officer, Alley Group
Live shopping is forecast to generate almost US$650 billion next year. However, over 90% of that market share is from China.
Since Facebook is blocked in China, the primary market for live shopping, it makes sense why they're sunsetting their live shopping feature as it hasn't been adopted at the same rate as their other e-commerce products globally. Therefore, few brands are going to see a significant sales dip as a result of this change.
Live shopping did promote authenticity, which in our opinion, remains the primary driver for conversions. Brands should continue using the correct social networks (Tik Tok, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.) that fit their target audience and have the best environments (Reels, Stories, etc.) to tell their customers an authentic story about their products.
Fionn Hyndman, partner, Asia Pacific Growth Management
Facebook never really figured out Live Shopping. It was a bastardisation of the format that didn't seem to suit the platform, the consumers or the sellers. It just wasn't a natural fit, and for what can be a resource-intensive channel, it just doesn't make sense if you don't have the right audience and audience numbers.
Clients I had worked with mainly used Facebook Live to augment other live commerce channels, effectively as broadcast amplification rather than as a channel to drive direct results. I don't think anyone will miss it.
Live commerce is the same as any marketplace; you need the buyers and the sellers and a level of engagement to provide any value to either/both sides. Right now, I don't see that on Instagram, and just because you can (do live commerce on a platform) doesn't mean you should.
If Meta wants to be a player in live commerce, it must build the marketplace sustainably, with supply and demand. Just adding the functionality will not add any value to anyone, and advertisers and brands will test the channel and fail to see any meaningful results.
Live commerce is now driving over a quarter of ecommerce in China. If activated well, it is a massive opportunity, but simply putting up the capability will not yield any results.
Danny Wong, head of growth and innovation, APAC, Team Lewis
The removal of product playlists and product tagging in Facebook Live videos will impact sellers in Asia less due to the limited rollout of this function in the region. The question on everyone's minds is whether restrictions will be imposed on sellers who use chat DMs to take orders as a workaround.
Generally, brands will always go to the channels where their audiences consume content. So whether it's Instagram Live Shopping or TikTok Shops, we'll probably see an uptick in terms of exploration around social commerce as brands test new media formats, new platforms, and new types of content to galvanise consumers into opening their hearts and wallets.
After all, these shake-ups keep things interesting for consumers, and it'll be interesting to see how they respond.
(With inputs from Shawn Lim.)