Twitter and Square are working together to let people make political donations directly from the Twitter app. Facebook is letting Shopify users create enhanced sales offerings on brand pages. Twitter and Stripe are partnering to better enable retail sales right from people’s timelines. What’s the common thread?

Shopify-Shop-on-Facebook-Pages-582x401Numerous studies over the last several years have shown that social networks have primarily been in the “discovery/awareness” portion of the conversion funnel. It’s where people see their friends talking about something and take their opinions into consideration, but there’s very – very – rarely a direct action taken. Pinterest is the exception to this rule since it’s consistently right there at the very end of this process. So someone sees something on Twitter, maybe sees some TV ads about it then, when they’ve made their decision, they’re going to Pinterest to research it and then make the purchase.

But Twitter and Facebook both want to change that model. They want to be both part of the discovery and actual conversion process. That’s driven in part because they want to increase overall time spent and active usage of their apps and networks. And it’s in part because offering companies the chance to include a “buy now” button in their updates would generate a lot of ad revenue.

enhanced-20088-1442257095-1There are loads of implications for marketers of all stripes, including studios and companies like Fandango that directly sell tickets. Taking advantage of everyone having a checkout counter in their pocket is a huge opportunity and makes a ton of sense. They can sell tickets, they can sell Blu-rays, they can sell digital downloads, they can sell swag…the possibilities are endless.

It’s important to remember, though, that “conversion” doesn’t always mean “sale.” It can also be applied to things like getting people to sign up for an email newsletter or taking some other action. So even if there isn’t a sale that’s being sought there are still worthy goals to shoot for. And both Twitter and Facebook offer options to accommodate this. Twitter Cards have options to get email addresses and opt-in to newsletters, while Facebook’s Call To Action buttons can be used for the same purpose.

So explore those options and see what matches up with the goals of your particular program. Social networks will continue to try and shorten the distance between users and the purchases advertisers want them to make. Begin planning accordingly to make social network marketing about more than just telling people something exists.