Long Live Social Gifting
Josh takes on the history of social gifting & how we are aiming to fix it
You can read Josh's complete post right over here on medium
*Social Gifting is Dead, Long Live Social Gifting! * TL;DR: We need to celebrate each other more than ever. Fight The Nothing, spread a little joy by sending a giant cupcake to anyone on Twitter at notpie.com/tweet-a-cake
The connection between social networks and shopping began to take form in 2012 as salivating platforms looked to monetizing consumers and rely less on advertising revenue. It made perfect sense to look into the crystal ball and see that we were announcing our most important life moments — engagements, births, new jobs, graduation—through social media platforms and connecting those moments with the opportunity to send a gift seemed like a no-brainer.
“Gifting opportunities that are naturally woven into this stream of activity are likely to be seen by consumers as highly-relevant and personalized content that has high engagement and conversion rate.” — Tyler Roye, CEO and Co-Founder of eGifter as interviewed by Kristina Knight
Only two short years later, social gifting looked like a bust and dozens of startups started in the frenzy of trying to capture a piece of the social media rocket ship burnt up on re-entry. The few companies that survived have mostly tranistioned to the bursting gift card market and lucrative corporate promotions, including Roye’s own eGifter, Giftly and Gratafy. By 2015, social gifting became the economic experiment we don’t speak of in e-commerce anymore.
What went wrong? Facebook was voted the most likely to succeed, the platform likely knows more about you than any one else in the world—what you like, who you spend time with, what events you go to andwhat you do while you’re out—all gathered from the data in your posts as well as what it can recognize in your photos. With all this information, getting you to send your friend from high school a gift for her birthday should have been a lock. Facebook banked on it, launching two different gifting services in 2010 and 2012 (and acquiring Karma, a curated gift sending app), before winding it all down and scrubbing every last trace of gifting in 2014.
Facebook Gifts were largely uninteresting and lacked any personal context. Sending gloves or moisturizer doesn’t exactly scream “congratulations!” or “happy birthday!”. The problem wasn’t just bad gift ideas, gifting on Facebook felt more like stopping off at Walgreens on the way to a party than having spent the time to find something you knew they would love.