Are Hashtags The Future of Mobile Conversions?

Becky Doles

Mobile marketers know how difficult it can be to generate leads and drive conversions on mobile devices. With such a small screen, it can be cumbersome for users to input critical information such as mailing addresses and credit card information. However, new technology is emerging that might make this process much easier, enabling brands to primarily drive purchases with mobile devices. During CES last week in Las Vegas, I had a chance to sit down with Kevin Tate, Chief Revenue Officer of Chirpify, to talk about how hashtags may be the future of driving conversions on mobile devices.

Chirpify, which offers a Social Conversion Platform for brands and agencies, works by “activating” hashtags, allowing consumers to respond to a brand’s campaign just by posting or sharing a message using Chirpify’s “actiontags” like #buy, #want or #enter, along with the brand’s hashtag. Kevin explained that “When a consumer ‘raises their hand’ by using the actiontags, Chirpify allows the brand to respond directly to them on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram – inviting them to complete their purchase, enter the promotion or access premium content.”

If you think this is just another fleeting idea in the mobile industry, you might want to take a look at some of the brands Chirpify has successfully worked with which include, Adidas, Sprint, Mastercard, Forever 21, Lenovo, Portland Trailblazers and Lady Gaga. For example, Sprint recently used used Chirpify to power their #SprintHoliDeals smartphone giveaway and Adidas to launch their latest Football cleats.

This idea might also sound familiar; Starbucks and AMEX recently took on similar approaches to enable consumers to make purchases via Twitter. While Chirpify is taking a slightly different approach (and a more broad one as well, as their platform works with Facebook and Instagram), the emergence of this type of technology by several different major players in the mobile industry highlights, as Kevin says, the convergence of mobile + social + commerce that has been coming for some time, but is really starting to accelerate now. Kevin also explains that this movement is “being driven by innovative brands who are putting these tools to work to create new, compelling consumer experiences. The way we discover, share & buy products is fundamentally changing… and there’s a tremendous opportunity right now for brands to explore new paths to purchase.”

And these new paths to purchasing are working. Chirpify’s conversion pages – which include the ability the purchase a product, enter a promotion or access premium content – are highly optimized for mobile. They render very well within the built-in browser for mobile apps like Twitter and Facebook, and are easy to complete from a smartphone. To measure the success of these pages, Kevin explains that Chirpify looks at ‘What percentage of people who post or share the actiontags (“raise their hand”) actually follow the link in the brand’s response and go on to complete the conversion action?’(e.g. enter the promotion, claim the offer or buy the product). Kevin says they regularly see that number be between 25-50%, and they have even seen as high as 75%. He says, “That tells us that actiontags really “work” as a way for people to express interest or purchase intent – and then convert on that in a way that’s valuable for the brand.”

The success of Chirpify to drive conversions with hashtags on mobile devices, along with similar campaigns from other brands such as Amex and Starbucks, indicate that hashtags may be the future of mobile conversions. But as Kevin says, “Ultimately, we’re just starting to feel the real effects of the shift to mobile as the primary platform. It’s still early.”

Becky Doles

Becky is the Senior Content Marketing Manager at TUNE. Before TUNE, she led a variety of marketing and communications projects at San Francisco startups. Becky received her bachelor's degree in English from Wake Forest University. After living nearly a decade in San Francisco and Seattle, she has returned to her home of Charleston, SC, where you can find her enjoying the sun and salt water with her family.