Social e-commerce startup Chirpify has released a new feature called “#Actiontags” that turns hashtags like #buy, #donate and #vote into user transactions.
The idea behind the product is that Chirpify will run campaigns with marketers that combine a specific action hashtag with a unique hashtag for the event or promotion. When users include both tags in a post, Chirpify will initiate in-stream transactions with them through its commerce platform. #Actiontags are designed to work across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram with support for more social channels planned in the future.
Chirpify has signed up Forever 21, MasterCard and NPR’s Live Wire to test out the new feature with their own campaigns.
Chirpify made a splash last year with its Tweet A Beer promotion. The company has grown rapidly since then, raising several rounds of financing along the way, including a $6 million series A at the end of July.
Founder Chris Teso said in an interview that, while building its commerce product, Chirpify came across a larger opportunity to enable advertising conversions on social networks. Today’s #Actiontag launch represents Chirpify’s effort to capitalize on that opportunity.
Chirpify would be wise to tread carefully when it comes to its action hashtags, as competitors, or even the social platforms themselves, could easily co-opt them, as Twitter did with the StockTwits’ so-called cashtags. However, Teso maintains that Chirpify’s technology, existing traction with in-stream payments and direct relationships with brands are a package deal that will be difficult for #copycats to replicate.
He also noted that Chirpify is adding “tremendous value” to social networking sites by keeping users inside them instead of sending them out to an external ecommerce solution.
“Those platforms love that we’re turning them into something more powerful than a curation tool,” Teso said.
Startups like Chirpify and Ribbon have attracted significant buzz in their efforts to enable a commerce layer on top of social, and that’s only bound to increase as Twitter’s IPO approaches and potential investors question how Twitter plans to monetize its service.
Some critics have maligned hashtags as being harmful, but Chirpify is aiming to take some of the stigma away by turning them from passive to active. Now we wait and see whether customers will actually take to the feature.
Image credit: Flickr / Kejava