Facebook to let users buy goods via ads & page posts

Facebook keyboard

Facebook is introducing a "Buy" button for advertisers to include on the content they post to the site to help them drive up sales of their products and services.

The social networking giant announced the move in a blog post, which will enable site users to purchase goods via ads or page posts without leaving the site.

However, the firm has been quick to stress that every effort has been made to ensure any payments made through the site are done in a safe and secure way.

"None of the credit or debit card information people share with Facebook when completing a transaction will be shared with other advertisers, and people can select whether or not they'd like to save payment information for future purchases," the blog post states.

At present, the addition is only being featured on the ads and pages of a select number of US-based SMBs, but if the trial is successful it could be rolled out more widely across the globe.

The feature will be available for users of both the desktop and mobile versions of the site, and according to a report on Reuters the firm is not "currently" taking a share from any purchases made via the button. Although it could do in the future, if the pilot proves successful.

Increasing the amount of time people spend on Facebook is important to the firm, as it means its advertisers are likely to get more exposure, which ultimately means more money for its coffers.

The site isn't the only social media company looking to make moves on this area, though. Micro-blogging site Twitter has acquired a company called CardSpring, which could potentially pave the way for "in-tweet" purchases to be made.

The company has created an application platform that lets digital publishers and retailers offer customers access to loyalty card programmes or product promotions as a result of making a credit card purchase.

The acquisition was confirmed in a Twitter blog post on Wednesday, where it talked up its past efforts to make it easier for users to access product deals and discounts.

"We've already given users the ability to get deals and discounts, surprise someone with a coffee, or even add items to their online shopping cart all directly from a Tweet," it said.

"As we work on the future of commerce on Twitter, we're confident the CardSpring team and the technology they've built are a great fit with our philosophy regarding the best ways to bring in-the-moment commerce experiences to our users."

Caroline Donnelly is the news and analysis editor of IT Pro and its sister site Cloud Pro, and covers general news, as well as the storage, security, public sector, cloud and Microsoft beats. Caroline has been a member of the IT Pro/Cloud Pro team since March 2012, and has previously worked as a reporter at several B2B publications, including UK channel magazine CRN, and as features writer for local weekly newspaper, The Slough and Windsor Observer. She studied Medical Biochemistry at the University of Leicester and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism at PMA Training in 2006.