Meta, the parent company of apps including Facebook and Instagram, announced that as of Oct. 1, users will no longer be able to host any new or scheduled Live Shopping events on Facebook. In its announcement, Meta suggests users looking to reach and engage people through video try experimenting with—what else—Reels.
Live Shopping made its debut on Facebook in 2018. It was first tested in Thailand, a common market for the social platform to test new features. Something struck, since it stuck around for several years, with Facebook constantly testing and tweaking along the way.
We’ve covered Facebook and Instagram’s offerings of this type over the past few years, like last October when the sites announced live shopping experiences for the holidays in addition to its #BuyBlack Friday initiative.
So what went wrong for Facebook? “As consumers’ viewing behaviors are shifting to short-form video, we are shifting our focus to Reels on Facebook and Instagram,” read Meta’s announcement on its website, inferring users don’t have the attention span to sit through QVC-style sales events, which sounds reasonable in today’s fast-paced swipe-through of video content.
It seems that the reception to live shopping across the west is pretty chilly—there are reports of its massive success in China—which might explain why TikTok has also recently abandoned its plans to expand its live e-commerce initiative in Europe and the United States. “The market just isn’t there yet,” a TikTok employee told Financial Times. “General consumer awareness and adoption are still low and nascent.”
It should be noted that currently Meta did not disclose any plans to shut down its Live Shopping feature on Instagram—Meta even suggests users with shops host the live events on the platform, so for now, it seems that feature’s future is safe.
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