News of Meta and Amazon’s social commerce collaboration broke earlier this week, revealing that the two tech giants have partnered to create a feature enabling Meta’s users to link their Facebook and Instagram accounts to Amazon.
By linking their accounts, users can shop for goods directly via the ads on their social media and make purchases on Amazon without ever leaving their Meta-powered apps.
Cutting out any middle men, the one-time link set-up will streamline both the shopping and purchase processes for Meta’s users, as shown in this demo below:
The new feature is currently only active in the US but is expected to expand into other markets in the future.
With a collaboration of such scale unfolding in real-time in front of the industry’s eyes, experts have flocked to social media to share their takes on the innovation’s potential impact.
Maurice Rahmey, co-CEO of Disruptive Digital and a Meta and Google Ads partner, first leaked the news in a Linkedin post. He posited that the partnership’s data sharing capabilities will create a “true closed loop performance engine” and bypass any challenges presented by Apple's App Tracking Transparency policy…but what does the rest of the industry think?
“Consumers can make quicker purchases directly from ads”
On paper, the new feature streamlines the conversion process for Amazon sellers, allowing in-app purchases from Meta’s users and according to Danny Molyneux, General Manager of Claxon, this “signifies a major advancement for advertisers”.
He told PMW: “This partnership enhances targeting and optimisation, leveraging information from Amazon to show personalised ads to consumers. With a streamlined checkout process, consumers can make quicker purchases directly from ads, enhancing conversion rates. The collaboration also enables better ad creative personalisation, tailoring messaging and product pages based on user characteristics such as Prime membership status.”
Rebecca Harris, Sydney Head of Digital at Initiative, shared much of Molyneux’s sentiment towards the partnership, equally buoyant about its opportunities. She said: “The obvious benefit for Amazon, Meta and brands will be the increase of transactions, the frequency of these and the ease of the one-tap shopping experience via Amazon. For Amazon specifically, this enables the opportunity to extend their advertising offering capabilities beyond their own walled gardens and known ID’s and into the Meta ecosystem, which has traditionally been a closed environment to other tech companies.
“For Meta, this partnership looks to bolster its closed-loop attribution capabilities which took a massive hit with Apple’s 2021 privacy changes.
“Globally, Amazon and Meta have some of the richest consumer retail and purchase behaviour data sets available. In isolation, whilst powerful, they are limited to effectiveness within their owned eco-systems. However, through this data fusion the opportunity in scaling identity, personalisation and signal based advertising effectiveness is significant.”
“Will the giants share their toys when it comes to data and measurement?”
Hope Williams, Head of Commerce at Kinesso Australia, acknowledged that while the collaboration “serves as a strategic avenue for revenue diversification for Meta” and “not only facilitates incremental reach but also acts as a magnet for attracting more suppliers to Amazon’s platform”, it also leaves some important questions unanswered.
She continued: “All things considered, this “if you can’t beat them, join them” tactic is a great response from Meta in the face of X’s commitment to becoming ‘the everything’ app akin to WeChat and TikTok’s investment in its commerce and fulfilment capabilities.
“As a data-driven performance agency, the biggest missing puzzle piece in all this is whether or not there will be any cross-walled garden attribution. Will the giants share their toys when it comes to data and measurement? And more importantly, will they share that data with their suppliers?”
“There’s a lot that remains to be seen as some of the details are still sketchy”
On this issue of data sharing, Jellyfish’s VP of Paid Social, Eb Adeyeri, dug a little deeper. He said: “Taking a cursory glance from an advertiser’s standpoint, the feature looks able to close the tracking/conversion gaps that have opened up since the roll out of Apple’s App Tracking Transparency policy, but there’s a lot that remains to be seen as some of the details are still sketchy.
“Many advertisers will want to know whether they will be able to optimise for these purchases. It seems like specific actions such as purchases, product views or Amazon searches will not be shared from Amazon to Meta, so that seems like a no. Also, many will want to know if they can report on such purchases (in Ads Manager). At this stage, we don’t know, but if these conditions are both met, then this could be a genuine game changer for Meta advertisers.”
Sarah Whitfield, CMO of Covatic, also spoke on how the partnership serves as a response to Apple’s iOS privacy changes, warning that this isn’t the first time we’ve seen Amazon attempt a closed-loop shopping experience. She urged advertisers to remain wary, because while “the move will provide a massive revenue opportunity for Meta, Amazon, and their advertisers, they are asking users to trust them with a great deal of personally identifiable data”.
Witfield elaborated: “These two walled gardens coming together might feel new and exciting, but this is not Amazon's first attempt at a closed-loop shopping experience, having teamed up similarly with Pinterest earlier this year.
Meta has also previously attempted to expand into live shopping, having done so previously on both Instagram and Facebook but abandoning the endeavours to focus on serving ads.
“Make the Shopifys of the world wince a little”
Between richer data sharing, more transactions, a simplified purchase process for consumers and the multifaceted advertising capabilities, this is an enormously powerful combination of tech giants that could very well unlock a myriad of opportunities for advertisers.
Chris Andrews, Head of Advertising Technology at Wake the Bear believes it will “blend together established behaviours that TikTok hasn’t quite managed to fully meld despite launching their own shoppable offering” and definitely make the Shopifys of the world wince a little.
“There will be other retail media players watching on with interest and perhaps a little trepidation,” he said.
However, a partnership of this scale remains a relatively untrodden path, creating inherent unknowns for everyone, from brands and agencies to consumers themselves.
Andrews continued: “Regulators might find cause to have a closer look, and customers might have a bit of concern about actively sharing such a wealth of data with platforms they don’t fully trust.
“Find new customers unserved by other retail channels, invite them to fall in love and deliver brand buy with a single click.”
Debbie Ellison, Global Chief Digital Officer at VMLY&R Commerce, added: “To be successful, brands need to realise that hyping up brand experiences and creating brand love and then delivering shopping experiences full of friction (for instance out of stock, multiple platform logins or irrelevant products) affects brand equity.
“I implore brands to see this partnership as an opportunity to find new customers unserved by other retail channels, invite them to fall in love and deliver brand buy with a single click. If, at long last, we’re able to crack the code, business growth through social commerce will finally be within reach.”
Andrews concluded: ”However, since Meta and Amazon don’t have too much interest in encroaching on the other’s turf regarding their best-known products, if they get past those potential hurdles, it shouldn’t take much to make them play nice and no doubt make a lot of money in the process.”