Why Zappos Sees Sponsored Posts On Facebook As ‘A Necessary Evil’


Director of Zappos Labs Will Young just told Business Insider’s Social Media Commerce Summit how his company got more than 400,000 “likes” on Facebook.(Zappos Labs is the experimental digital marketing arm of Zappos.)Not all of those likes are organic, he revealed. Many came from sponsored posts.

But some were generated simply through a quick change of phrasing. 

Zappos encourages consumers to tweet, Facebook, or pin about their recent purchases, an endeavour that Young said was pretty successful from the get-go.

“The language used to just be something like, ‘Share your order on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest,'” Young said. But when they changed the wording ever so slightly to “Love your order? Share it!” Young noted that sharing “went up by seven per cent.”

The e-commerce company has been working to increase its engagement in the social sphere, for example, it learned to de-emphasise company culture on its Facebook page and primarily highlight its products.

“A lot of our customers don’t care what costumes we wear in the office,” Young said.

And when it comes to Facebook, Young said that Zappos has to invest on sponsored posts — which cost money.

“It’s a necessary evil,” Young said. “It’s the difference between 1,000 ‘likes’ versus 10.”

Other social media platforms have their place in Zappos’ strategy.

“Twitter is a big customer service channel,” Young said, “and Pinterest is the opportunity to remind people that we have more than shoes.”

But Young acknowledged that the company has some areas it needs to work on, namely getting more social on mobile.

“We haven’t pushed social too much in our mobile [work], other than the typical ‘Share This,'” Young said. “A lot of it is still on desktop.”

It is also working on creating communities within the Zappos consumer base.

“We are very horizontal, so it’s hard to focus on one niche,” he said. “Can we build a real community within a vertical — like running?”