In-tweet shopping could be just around the corner.


Driving traffic to a business website is the holy grail for many B2B social media strategies. Twitter is used as a digital PR tool by tens of thousands of businesses in this way to, ultimately, increase the sales of their products or services. But what if the social media site integrated in-app purchases, enabling consumers to purchase products through Twitter at the click of a button? It would mean less traffic bouncing from Twitter to company websites and would that change the company’s public relations and social media strategies?.

It seems like a ‘buy-now’ feature is just around the corner for the micro-blogging site. Several screenshots were posted over various tech websites which included Buy-Now buttons, suggesting Twitter is starting to dip its toes further into the e-commerce market and facilitate purchases straight from your timeline.

This isn’t the first time Twitter has experimented with e-commerce. In May, Twitter teamed up with Amazon to make it possible for users to add products to their Amazon shopping carts through tweets. To do so, users respond with #AmazonCart to tweets containing links to products. This was more of a public relations play for Amazon and it seems to have paid off, with thousands of tweets containing the hashtag.

If Twitter does add in-tweet purchases, it would follow another major social network in adding shopping to its platform. In 2012, Facebook added an e-commerce feature by making it possible for users to buy and send gifts to one another. Users can send gifts at any time, but on users’ birthdays, Facebook highlights the feature to their friends.

Arguably, Twitter is used more than Facebook by businesses as a digital PR tool. If in-app purchases were integrated, this would mean that companies would have to change their social media plans in order to accommodate less traffic to the company website, but perhaps increase sales.

In the fiscal first-quarter, Twitter’s advertising revenue climbed 125{20156fe61baea400d2663eb990f17abdabeb6ef183a2129287a793abd8ac1d8a} year over year. Mobile advertising accounted for as much as 80{20156fe61baea400d2663eb990f17abdabeb6ef183a2129287a793abd8ac1d8a} of that, which shows that Twitter ads have been implemented as an important part of social media plans. In-tweet purchases could prove to be the next step for Twitter to further establish itself as the most important social media tool for public relations practitioners.

Twitter is obviously eager to monetize its high user count and improve its financial fortunes – but while the use of social media remains high, ecommerce sales through the media have stayed lower than expected and Twitter could be nervous about the effect this innovation could have on its user count. Either way, this will give retailers another channel for sales – is this in-tweet innovation the answer?