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Facebook forgoes live shopping feature to focus on Reels

Person live shopping on phone.

Facebook announced that they are shutting down their live shopping feature in a move to focus more on Reels on October 1, however, it will still be available on Instagram.

The move to shut down live shopping comes after an analysis study that shows the live shopping numbers growing in Asia but not catching on in other markets.

In June 2021, live streaming was an integral part of eCommerce, generating $300 billion in China this year and growing 85% from a year prior, according to estimates.

However, those numbers were never seen on Facebook’s live shopping feature in the US.

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Meta announced the discontinuation in a blog post, letting users know they will still be able to broadcast live events, but they won’t be able to create product playlists or tag products in their Facebook Live videos.

“As consumers’ viewing behaviors are shifting to short-form video, we are shifting our focus to Reels on Facebook and Instagram, Meta’s short-form video product,” Meta said in the post.

Meta suggested users who want to continue live shopping events look at Instagram and experiment with the product on that platform, as tagging products and brands are more the norm there.

An article on Tech Crunch said TikTok had also reportedly dropped plans to expand its live e-commerce “TikTok Shop” initiative to the United States and additional parts of Europe.

The Facebook feature was first introduced in 2018, but in an analysis piece in Forbes, reporter Chris Walton explains why it doesn’t work in US Markets.

Unlike QVC, a television station built to sell items, and unlike China, US social media use was never about commerce. It was about communication and connection.

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Livestreaming is about people. Live shopping is about buying things.

Firework CEO Vincent Yang recently said, the overwhelming majority of commerce in the U.S., well over 90%, still happens by way of retailers’ or brands’ own websites and not through social media apps like Facebook or TikTok, despite the increase in influencer sponsored content.

Mary Beth Lee retired from teaching in Texas this year after 28 years as a student media adviser. She spends her time these days reading, writing, fighting for public education and enjoying the empty nester life in Downtown Fort Worth.

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