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Checkout on Facebook and Instagram: Pros and Cons

It’s only been a few months, but many ecommerce businesses have already felt the impact of ATT’s limitations on data tracking. Like most people, I’m a fan of privacy protections—but I recognize the challenge this presents for brands that rely on Facebook ads to power part of their omnichannel marketing strategies.

Around this time last year we published 4 Reasons Businesses Should Be Wary of Facebook Shops. I’ve been weighing the tradeoffs ever since. On the one hand, there’s a clear advantage to opting into shops: Facebook and Instagram have made it easy to bring ecommerce to your community. Do it right, and you could see increased engagement, deeper loyalty, and more sales. Enabling Checkout on these apps seems like a simple next step, but it’s actually a significant change that separates you from your customer data, making it harder to build off-platform relationships.

So… is Checkout on Facebook and Instagram worth it?




My colleague Elliott recently made the case for going all-in on Facebook shopping. Facebook prioritizes on-platform engagement, and we all know that what Facebook wants, it tends to get. Besides, as more ecommerce hooks in to the Facebook ecosystem, Facebook’s data power could ultimately benefit brands and advertisers.

I agree with all this in principle, but always proceed with caution before putting all your eggs in one checkout basket. We need first-party data and owned communication channels now more than ever, so we can stay connected to customers despite changing privacy laws. There’s tons of untapped potential in first-party data, and enabling Checkout gives that opportunity away to Facebook in exchange for a (theoretical) marginal increase in conversions.

Still, native checkout may be a viable strategy for some brands. If that’s you, just be sure to consider the impact on the rest of your business, and run tests before committing. Either way, this is a concept that will continue to affect the ecommerce industry as a whole, so it’s worth monitoring, discussing with your team, and thinking through experiments that will help answer questions you have now—and in the future.