The Future of In-App Shopping and Influencer Marketing

It’s hard to believe it’s been almost two years since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Faced with unprecedented challenges, businesses had to adapt models quickly to support online orders and provide the same level of customer service as in-person experiences.

The pandemic also shaped consumer behavior. With brick-and-mortar locations closed for a lot of year, consumers started engaging with brands online and shopping for goods via ecommerce stores – a lot of which was an in-app purchasing process. Traditional marketing took a hit, since everything about the way consumers made purchases changed.

This is where influencer marketing shined. In the midst of lockdowns, unemployment, and boredom, more people took to social media and noticed influencers, making them a key marketing channel for brands to interact with their customers.

As we enter 2022, the world isn’t quite back to normal. We can expect an increase in multi-channel integration, social shopping tabs, social commerce capabilities, an in-app purchases on mobile devices bringing the product to the customer. Naturally, content creators are likely to be a key component of in-app shopping experiences and social commerce.

The Future of Mobile Commerce is In-App Shopping Features

In 2019, mobile shoppers accounted for 17 percent of consumers and 21 percent of all transactions online.[1] Mobile commerce is becoming more popular, offering opportunities for marketers to reach their target audience.

Mobile apps offer marketers an opportunity to target consumers more frequently, since most users are on apps more than desktop or mobile websites. Ads can target consumers during the micro-moments they spend on apps throughout the day, whether that’s skimming during commercial breaks or on a commute.

In-app purchases are increasing as well, so combined with advertising, consumers are more likely to convert on a shopping app than a mobile website. This is combined with shoppable posts on Instagram and Facebook.

Brands that master these options are in the best position to benefit from in-app shopping, which speeds up purchases and increases conversions.

The Role of Influencers for In-App Purchases

Influencers are significant in shaping apps into ecommerce apps and facilitating in-app shopping. As app capabilities increase, influencers can mean the difference between a brand standing out or getting lost in a sea of apps in the app store.

One of the challenges with influencer marketing has been metrics. It’s difficult to attribute influencer campaigns to sales directly, so the general approach is to consider the overall upward trend of influencers in the marketing mix.

Fortunately, the benefits of in-app purchases driven by influencer campaigns are easier to attribute, and engagement metrics can be connected to sales. Brands can hold influencers accountable for sales increases, since users don’t have to leave the app to make a purchase on social media.

Currently, content creators are compensated for content and influence, or following, and their time for promoting a brand. They’re essentially leveraging their name and reputation. With in-app purchases, brands can track sales from direct links and potentially influence the compensation model.

Brands and influencers will also see success differently. Engagement has always been the primary focus of influencer campaigns, but new app opportunities can be monetized. Brand and influencer content may shift from engagement to sales, though it’s vital that both still keep the content fresh, valuable, and free from overly salesy material.

There’s also opportunity for influencers to move away from affiliate links. Now, shoppers have to finish checkout from a social link to give influencers a commission. If they exit the app and continue on mobile or desktop, influencers typically lose that commission.

In-app purchases, especially from Instagram shopping, may streamline shopping and credit influencers with their due commission, but it may also prompt influencers to come up with their own brands and products to make the most of their time and effort.

These changes aren’t just limited to Instagram or Facebook – virtually every social media platform is opening up the possibility of checkout functionality within the app, including TikTok partnering with Shopify to change the TikTok for Business account capabilities.

Brand partnerships may no longer be able content, but creative storefronts for shopping on Instagram, new shopping features, TikTok and Shopify integration, and branded content with shoppable links. Product catalogues will be on apps, rather than clicks away in a mobile website.

And once the Metaverse launches, we could be looking at an entirely different consumer ecosystem for branded content, business accounts, and retail tech.

Looking to the Future

Though only time will tell what the shift to in-app purchases will mean for influencer marketing, it’s safe to say that both brands and influencers are likely to use shoppable features and shift their models toward getting more sales and product discovery. What we know as influencer marketing may change for social media, but the brands that will succeed will take a creative and adaptable approach to new social and mobile commerce.