Instagram recently began testing new features that allow its users to explore product information through the app and also offers an improved shopping experience. Currently, Instagram limits their advertisers to one link per sponsored post. Not only does using one link limit the value of sponsored posts to advertisers, but it also creates road blocks for potental customers if more than one product is featured in a sponsored post. If an Instagram user sees an item they like, often they end up having to search for the product on the retailer's website.
This process has lost a significant number of potential buyer's along the way. As a result, only 21% of users make a purchase within a day of seeing a sponsored post they liked. Instagram's new shopping features will streamline the buying process in ways that benefit both ecommcerce sites and Instagram.
How will it work?
The test features a ”tap to view” icon at the bottom left of a post. When tapped, Instagram will display as many as five products with pricing information. From there users can learn more about as well as browse additional photos. When a user is ready to buy, they will click “Shop Now” in the product details screen to view the item on the retailer’s website.
Eventually Instagram wants to add a “Save” feature so product posts can be bookmarked by users as they browse.
Will Instagram get a cut of the sales?
Instagram will not receive a cut of sales. They currently plan to monetize the product by allowing brands to pay to show shopable photos to people who do not follow them.
Which retailers are involved in testing?
There are only 20 U.S.-based retailers included in the test. Brands participating include Abercombie & Fitch, BaubleBar, Coach, Hollister, JackThreads, J.Crew, Kate Spade, Levi’s Brand, Lulus, Macy’s, Michael Kors, MVMT Watches, Tory Burch, Warby Parker, and Shopbop.
How will it impact advertising and influencer marketing?
While no one can say for certain what the impact will be this early, we think that this feature will be a huge driver for advertising on Instagram. The app currently has about 500,000 advertisers. When launched, the new features will eliminate many of downfalls of Instagram's current advertising platform.
In their blog post, Instagram did not make it clear how the new features will integrate with influencer marketing. Many fashion bloggers receive compensation for wearing certain brands or products in the Instagram photos. Taking advantage of these relationships would be a wise move on Instagram's part as the best bloggers have over 900,000 Instagram followers.
What do we think of Instagram's shopping features?
Once the test results are in, Instagram plans to continue to explore product recommendations and ways products are showcased to shoppers. Their goal is to understand how to deliver the most seamless shopping experience for consumers on mobile.
Incorporation of these shopping features is long overdue. Instagram has likely missed out on a decent amount of revenue by not testing these features sooner. With that said we are excited to try the new features and see its impact on Instagram advertising.