Instagram introduces shopping features to brand posts | Public Relation

Instagram is courting marketers by enhancing its platform for easier
shopping experiences.

On Monday, the company announced two new features aimed at helping users
quickly access and buy the products they see in Instagram posts.

In a blog post, Instagram wrote:

Instagram is the best place to connect with your friends and interests all
in one place – and shopping is an essential, growing part of the Instagram
community. In fact, more than 90 million accounts now tap to reveal tags in
shopping posts on Instagram every month.

The first feature, called “Shopping in Stories,” is available for marketers
and business owners in 46 countries.


With Shopping Stickers, brands can choose to add one per story and
customize the color to match their photo or . A tap opens the product
details page, and another sends them to the merchant’s site. Businesses
will be able to see the number of taps on their Shopping sticker, and how
many people tapped through to their website.

E-commerce platform and Instagram partner Shopify has already begun using
the feature.


Since it went into test mode in June, one of the primary stakeholders in
the new venture is Shopify
(SHOP, -0.73%), an e-commerce platform and software provider for
online retailers,
point-of-sale systems, and
social media brands. Selling via Instagram Stories will be made available to all of Shopify’s
merchants, including the techie shoe brand Allbirds as well as Kylie
Cosmetics, a beauty business
valued at more than $900 million
since launching just three years ago by one of Instagram’s
most-followed users, Kylie Jenner.

… According to Shopify, approximately 80% of users on Instagram follow a
business account, so expanding shopping beyond just Instagram posts to
Stories exponentially increases the sales opportunity for online
retailers—large and small.

[RELATED: Overcome your biggest challenges in social media, PR and internal comms]

The second feature is intended to make Instagram’s “Explore” tab shoppable.

Instagram wrote in its blog:

Topic channels, which
launched in June, allow you to browse across your interests and go deeper on any area you
like in Explore. Now, when you simply want to shop for fun, you’ll see a
channel dedicated to Shopping posts from the brands you follow and brands
you might like.

The features could keep Instagram’s growing user base on the app for longer
during each session—which ultimately translates into additional revenue
opportunities. It also is a departure from the app making money only
through ads or sponsored posts.


The new features could soak up more user attention and lead them to see
more ads. But perhaps more importantly, demonstrating that Instagram can
boost retail business’ sales for free through Stories and Explore could
whet their appetite to buy Instagram ads to amplify their reach and juice
the conversion channel. With 25 million businesses on Instagram but only 2
million advertisers, the app has room to massively increase its revenue.


During Facebook’s last earnings call Sheryl Sandberg noted that Instagram
has more than 25 million business profiles on its service, a number that’s
likely to keep growing as the app leans further into shopping. The company
may even be working on a standalone shopping app, according to a
recent report
from The Verge.

What is clear is that Instagram has emerged as a critical platform for many
smaller and direct-to-consumer businesses, which depend on the photo
sharing app to reach new customers.

Though other platforms, including Pinterest and Snapchat, have implemented
shopping-friendly features, some say Instagram’s move could be even more

CNN reported:

“The whole phenomenon is very promising,” said Anindya Ghose, a professor
at NYU’s Stern School of Business who teaches a course on e-commerce and
social media. “A number of companies have tried it with mixed results. The
potential is much higher than what we have seen so far.”

Pinterest has these types of shopping capabilities — called “buyable pins”
that include products from major brands like Nordstrom and smaller
businesses — on its platform for US users. Meanwhile, Snapchat (SNAP) partners with some brands and celebrities, including Kylie Jenner, to
allow users to buy products via the app. For example,
users could swipe up on a Kylie Jenner Story and purchase one of her
company’s makeup products.

However, Instagram will have to win over marketers’ trust along with the
allure of more potential revenue.

“The question will be how much power merchants will give Instagram after
seeing what its parent Facebook did to news outlets that relied on it,” TechCrunch reported.

What do you think of the features, PR Daily readers?

(Image via)

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