The new product tagging feature means you can now browse and purchase products all within Instagram.
A feature only released to UK users in March, Instagram now gives the opportunity for businesses and brands to transform their Instagram content into purchasable posts, creating a new and seamless shopping experience. Simply by tagging products the feature directly links users to online product pages.
The feature was well received in the US when released a year ago and thanks to the positive reception has now been rolled out in eight more countries: Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the U.K. It aims to maintain a clean user experience that does not ruin the beauty of images, for which Instagram is so well known, yet provides a trusted and secure link between users and brands- all without navigating away from the app. It is a powerful mechanism for capturing the interest of perusing users who have not quite defined exactly what they would like to purchase. The tagged products provide followers with the option to browse further information; detailed descriptions, prices, additional images, and the opportunity to make in-app purchases.
Easy as pie.
The feature is easy to use, with no sacrifice to user experience. The existence of the tags is marked with a small white button in the bottom left hand corner marked with ''View Products'' to alert the user, and the feed will not be visually saturated by shopping tag products. The tags function in the same way as when tagging people within a post, so no new tricky dimensions to navigate. The items are loaded from a preselected product catalogue, these are then tagged in the photo with the option to tag up to five products per single image post and up to twenty products on a multi-image post. Selecting a product to purchase will navigate directly to the product landing page within the app, and opting out of the sale is as easy as just going back- this will return users to the Instagram feed. Thus eliminating the need to search for a product that was already on-screen, a process that loses many conversions in the impatience for the page to load (according to LinkedIn, as many as 40% of shoppers abandon a website if the page takes longer than 3 seconds to load).
Cheap as chips.
The feature is completely free for users- Instagram just acts as a facilitator uniting shoppers and retailers- shoppers will pay the price of any purchase directly to the supplier. As an in-app browser, at no point does the process leave the confines of the Instagram app, meaning significantly faster loading times. At this stage, Instagram are not taking a cut of the profits, their focus being steadfastly upon getting the experience right for both users and businesses. In the future, there are plans to monetise the feature through businesses paying to market to non-followers.
The nitty gritty
Reception of the shopping tagging feature has been highly positive. According to AdWeek, an increase in several businesses sales have been attributed to the launch of the product tagging; the vice president of marketing at Lulus, Noelle Sadler, noting that they received more than 1,200 orders and over 100,000 sessions thanks to the new in-app feature.
Have your cake and eat it.
To gain full access to these privileges, you must follow three steps in order to be approved for shopping;
- You must sell physical products
- You must have a business profile
- This business profile must be linked to a Facebook catalogue. You can use the product catalogue on Facebook's Business Manager to upload your product catalogue.
With the ever-growing audience that enjoy Instagram, recently rising to 600 million monthly active users, the shopping tag feature taps into an ever increasing audience. There is clearly a wealth of opportunity for marketing on this platform, and one that is built upon the trust between brand and user. Social media continues to be a strong influence upon how consumers choose to shop and how brands design their strategies. With a user base that is highly engaged and interactive with top brands, Instagram have struck forward in redefining a shopping journey that can cater to both.