Instagram Shopping becomes more powerful for brands

Instagram is enhancing its shopping features and brands are ready to embrace the change. There are more than 25 million businesses on Instagram and a growing, engaged audience that seems eager to test new features in the app. Instagram Shopping will no doubt be a powerful tool for brands.

The more time we spend on the platform, the bigger the opportunities for brands to drive actionable results through their presence. Instagram is aware of the opportunities the platform can bring so they’ve decided to test new features.

Thus, Instagram has introduced a Shopping channel in the Explore tab while it also allows for shopping tags to show up in Stories.

Shopping gets more personalized

It’s easier now to discover new products by visiting the Explore section. Instagram will deliver a personalized selection of products for each user to tailor the shopping experience based on users’ interests. The section was previously used to discover relevant posts and accounts to follow so it now adds the shopping element to its existing features.

This idea will help the users who want to discover new products that are interesting and relevant to them. Meanwhile, brands can benefit from this feature by promoting their products to the right audience so that they increase their sales.

The posts to show up in the personalized Shopping channels will be either from brands that users already follow or from different accounts that they’d probably be interested in visiting.

User relevance can lead to better results for a shopping experience that can boost both engagement and conversion for brands.

Shopping tags arrive in Stories

An even more exciting announcement came from Instagram informing us that Shopping in Stories is now rolling out globally. The testing started in June but now businesses in 46 countries will be able to add shopping features to their Stories.

What makes this news exciting? Instagram Stories are currently really engaging, with more than 400 million active users on a daily basis. One-third of the most viewed stories come from businesses, which means that there is a big opportunity for brands to benefit from the current engagement to drive more sales.

Instagram seems to be determined to boost its shopping features and according to their press release, “we’re excited to see how Shopping in Stories enable brands to tell an even deeper story about what’s behind their products.”

There are already more than 90 million accounts that have engaged with Shopping in Stories every month since the launch of the tested feature.

From now on, people all over the world will be able to see engaging stories from their favorite brands and simply click on a product to buy it directly. There’s a big chance for brands to capitalize on this feature, provided that they make the process as natural as possible.

Is there an Instagram Shopping app coming up?

Right before Instagram announced the new shopping features, The Verge was reporting a rumor that Instagram is working on a new standalone shopping app.

The announcement of an enhanced shopping experience directly to the app could mean a change of direction for the popular platform. However, the rumor is still around that the future may still bring an even better shopping experience to a new app, the way that IGTV wants to bring together longer videos and influencers.

Instagram is definitely determined to significantly expand its e-commerce capabilities and the new features indicate that this is just the beginning.

What do these changes mean for marketers?

Instagram is currently one of the most engaging social platforms for users. Brands cannot ignore its popularity and the launch of interesting shopping features can make it even more appealing.

There are currently more than 25 million businesses on Instagram while more people use social media as part of their decision-making process. According to Salmon, 29% of Millennials in the UK and the US use social media to actively purchase products. This highlights a great opportunity for brands to tap into a younger audience and the focus on shopping features, either in the app or in a future launch of a new shopping app, make Instagram an interesting platform.

As Patrick Munden, Global Head of Retail at Salmon, mentions:

“Fortunately for Instagram, they hold a significant share of the younger market – particularly those 16 and over, the platform’s key target audience – and the brand name to boot. It will be interesting to see how the app will be deployed separately or if it will be integrated into Instagram’s main app, like IGTV earlier this year. Whatever the case, it represents another opportunity for brands to sell to a new audience and another weapon on their balanced approach arsenal which should span marketplaces, retailers and their own websites. As social media becomes ubiquitous for all manners of communication, inspiration and purchasing, no brand will want to be left behind in the race to sell to this increasingly important young consumer audience.”

If you’re ready to use the Instagram Shopping features, here’s what you need to consider:

  • Try out different formats to make your content more interesting
  • Make the shopping experience part of your Instagram presence
  • Highlight new products but don’t get too promotional
  • Involve shopping tags in storytelling
  • Use Stories to build a narrative

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