Social platforms are changing fast. Gone are the days where people used social media to keep up with friends, post pictures and watch videos of dogs on skateboards.

The platforms were designed to help people stay connected. But in an era where technology allows us to stay in touch across many channels, people began to use Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat less for networking, and more for content.

Now, these platforms are adapting.

 

New tech, new me

The media industry has also been affected by technology. Consumers now have the choice to watch when it suits them, rather than ‘when it’s on TV’. This freedom of choice, and the growth of digital content, meant online video platforms became the dominant channel for video.

People started watching video on smaller screens, as smartphones and tablets were upgraded to play high-definition video. Equipped with a mobile device, and video services that can be accessed anytime, consumers began watching video more on mobile than anywhere else.

Infrastructure and devices followed these trends. Mobile networks increased the amount of bandwidth available, while screen sizes increased

These habits then shifted to in-home viewing. Mobile video viewing is now higher inside the home than on-the-go. Consumers watch on their smartphone while laying in bed, or sitting on their sofa. Many use their mobile device to watch on a second screen while sitting in front of the TV. Today, this is true for all demographics under 65 years old.

This environment has created an arena where broadcasters, media rights holders and publishers can thrive on social media.

 

Social shopping

Social channels have become potent marketing channels. With an estimated 3.5 billion users, every platform has huge reach.

With so many eyeballs, the potential to win customers is high. Broadcasters and online platforms can advertise their services and reach new customers by delivering premium content on social media for free.

This could be delivering video clips in real-time, sharing promotions and marketing videos, or producing live streams exclusively for social video audiences. The vast reach of social media ensures a high return on exposure, while costs remain relatively low.

Advertising paid content on social media is a proven way to attract new customers

 

Mind the gap

However, modern consumers have come to expect the highest level of convenience in online shopping. Any unnecessary barriers between discovering a product and making a purchase will prevent conversions. Taking a consumer from a social channel to a point of purchase must be as easy as possible.

Too many clicks, or different platforms to navigate, and you’ve lost them. This process of funnel drop-out or ‘cart abandonment’ is well known in eCommerce. Amazon retains a dominant position with 1-click to buy purchasing across its platform because of this.

Amazon has a huge advantage because it has the retained information of millions of customers. This is not true for most other eCommerce retailers, OTT platforms or social networks.

One option to bridge this gap is mobile carrier billing. Giving consumers the option to use their mobile bill (or prepay airtime) to pay is frictionless. It can take only two taps of a screen.

In fact, Conversion rates have been known to increase by as much as 300% for retailers using carrier billing.

Purchases are secured by verification, using a customer’s mobile network. This allows marketing promotions to capture customers at the moment of intent. This payment option is actually available to more consumers than using a credit card or PayPal, given the number of mobile users globally.

For content owners and publishers, promoting pay-per-view events or online subscriptions can be simple and effective. The opportunity to combine viral distribution of content on social media with one-click purchasing on mobile is a compelling proposition.

BT Sport first offered carrier billing in 2018 for Fury vs Wilder, a pay-per-view boxing match. Expect to see more of this for direct-to-consumer media events.

This combination of marketing and sales innovation makes social media an even more valuable channel for premium content creators. Social commerce is coming.

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