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Content Marketing & SEO Blog

Blog about startup growth strategies revolving around content marketing, SEO, CRO, and social media marketing.

How Apple could boost iTunes store sales using social proof

Sean Smith

Apple has the most dominant music player in the world, yet I believe they are not taking full advantage of it.

The facet Apple has not incorporated into their well-oiled music ecosystem is social proof. That's right, simple sharing to Facebook and Twitter, I believe would boost sales dramatically for the iTunes Store.

Companies like Spotify, Pandora and Soundcloud have massive social proof and it's debatable whether they owe the success of their business to it. Pandora has been spread so much in social circles and by word of mouth that it caught on like wildfire. If a friend shares a station that they are listening to on Pandora I'm sure you have clicked through and gave it a go.

Lets look at some figures:

Soundcloud - 10 million users; social integration; $200 million pre-money valuation

Spotify - 15 million users; social integration; $3 billion valuation

Pandora - 125 million users; social integration; $3.1 billion valuation

iTunes - 150 million users; no social integration; $1.4 billion revenue last quarter

Think of what that number would be like if you had kids on Facebook pumping out One Direction iTunes Store links.

Apple has attempted to make iTunes social in the past using Ping, we remember how that went right? The problem was that Steve was far too ambitious in that, changing the landscape entirely instead of adjusting to the landscape.

Here is how I would do it.

the current layout

The current layout of iTunes is beautiful and I absolutely love using it. In fact I prefer to create my own playlists on it and run it natively on my mac instead of using something like Spotify or for the most part Pandora.

One thing though with the current iTunes layout, it lacks sharing functionality.

I think this was a huge lapse in Apple's judgement when they released the newest update.

itunes
itunes

inspiration for the new design

Proper implementation of social sharing in iTunes could heavily influence iTunes Store sales by means of social proof.

One reason for rapid growth of services such as Pandora, Soundcloud and Spotify has been their social integration. If your friend shares a song with an outlandishly positive message you are prone to click through and give it a listen.

I took a lot of inspiration from how Soundcloud and Pandora share socially:

pandora social sharing
pandora social sharing
soundcloud social sharing
soundcloud social sharing

The iTunes store already has song previews yet nothing directly driving customers to push that play button.

Another product though has recently had social integration locked in to the design, Safari.

safari social sharing
safari social sharing

new design

Basically I just wanted to put a simple sharing button right next to the airplay button that functions much like Safari's.

itunes with social button
itunes with social button
itunes-with-share-clicked
itunes-with-share-clicked
itunes-with-share-clicked-for-twitter
itunes-with-share-clicked-for-twitter
itunes-with-share-box
itunes-with-share-box

Using algorithmic updates iTunes could pick up which song you are sharing from your iTunes library, trace that query to their iTunes Store in order to bring back a link to the album's page on the iTunes Store.

that post would then appear on Twitter

twitter itunes post
twitter itunes post

or Facebook

facebook-itunes-link
facebook-itunes-link

And once someone follows through that social link they would reach the Album's landing page on the iTunes Store.

itunes-landing-page
itunes-landing-page

Nearly 63% of consumers indicate they are more likely to purchase from a site if it has product ratings and reviews; I believe that correlates laterally with friends posting songs with their own reviews on social networks.

This is a very simple alteration to iTunes, not earth shattering and I'm sure it's already underway but I believe this could genuinely boost the iTunes Store's revenue by a large margin. 

And if I, an internet marketing consultant (not a graphic designer) can mock this up in 30 minutes on Adobe there is no reason Apple can't.

by the way no affiliation but if you like electro music check out OVERWERK's stuff on iTunes, it's gnarly.