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New Feature Breakdown: Instagram Shopping

Published: July 5, 2017

Author: Jenny Lee

Skipping through ads has never been easier. On Snapchat, a simple tap will make an advertisement disappear. On Instagram, users can swipe up or down and resume their intended content. It’s getting harder and harder to keep users from scrolling on by.
To combat this, advertisers and social platforms alike have seen a shift toward the more immersive aspects of content – moving beyond just the transactional or promotional. One of the most awaited examples of this is Instagram Shopping. A feature slowly being rolled out to apparel, jewelry, and beauty brands; Instagram Shopping embeds direct marketing into organic and promoted posts.
The shopping feature accomplishes this immersion in two different ways: shoppable stories and tagged products. While both require that retailers convert to a business profile and upload product catalogs, the two options differ in a few ways.
To create a shoppable story, businesses add a “swipe up” component to their organically posted story. This interactive element resembles Facebook’s canvas feature, which invites users to do more than just read or watch, but to also play, swipe, and engage. After swiping up on their mobile screens, users are taken from the Instagram story’s content to a different landing page set by the retailer. From there, users can seamlessly transition from seeing products to shopping for products without ever leaving the app or typing a single letter.


Instagram Shopping in Stories
To create a tagged product post, businesses simply tag up to five items in their organically posted images. Because the information is automatically drawn from the business’s uploaded product catalog, this process is as simple as tagging another user in a photo. Once a product is tagged, a clear pathway is created. First, the tags pop up. Next, users go to a description page for each product that features a short paragraph, the price of the product, and a “shop now” link. After clicking on “shop now,” users are taken to a landing page where they can purchase the product. Like the shoppable story, this feature eliminates the reliance on external elements and user labor. It simply takes you from a to b – image to product.


Instagram Shopping in Feed
How, then, can retailers prove that this interactive, immersive feature is making a difference in conversion rate? That seems to be the million-dollar question. In the past, some retailers concocted their own DIY shoppable post using third party data tools such as MikMak. Through these tools, they would build content that could be measured at every step of the funnel. With Instagram Shopping, however, these metrics seem to be more-or-less still unavailable.
Though basic measurement, such as impressions, reach, video views, and saves, are available through Instagram Insights (only accessible for business profiles through the Instagram app), down-the-funnel tracking is not. As the feature begins rolling out, I expect that this will change.
In the meantime, Instagram Shopping is still a highly valuable tool for retailers who can get off the waitlist. With 80% of users following at least one business account and with the discovery page becoming more popular for brand awareness, shoppable stories and tagged product posts are a huge step into the new world of interactive advertising.
Have you tried Instagram’s Shopping feature? Let us know your experience in the comments!

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