Instagram Deepens E-Commerce Integration With This Feature
Instagram is growing its e-commerce capabilities with a new feature on Tuesday that allows retailers to add more information about the content they publish to the photo and video-sharing app.
The Facebook-owned unit has taken baby steps towards adding shopping to the mobile app—most notably in 2015 when the social platform started allowing advertisers to add a “buy now” button to ads that would link to a retailer’s store.
Jim Squires, the director of market operations for Instagram, tells Fortune that 60% of people look at multiple options and items before making a purchase. Sometimes consumers aren’t ready to click buy straight from a photo, he posits, continuing that they could need more information—such as price, sizing, and colors—before making a purchase.
Instagram said that 20 U.S.-based retail brands—including Kate Spade, JackThreads, Warby Parker, Coach, and J.Crew—will start sharing organic posts (not advertisements) of items, which will include a small “tap to view” icon at the bottom left of a photo.
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When tapped, a tag will appear on items within the post, and Instagram users can zero in on a tag to see a more detailed view of the product, which could include pricing information and more. Retailers can then choose to include a “Shop Now” link, and the potential buyer will be led directly to the listing on the retailer’s web page.
“There is more depth to these posts now,” says Squires. While these posts are not advertisements, Squires hints they might be included within ads in the future.
“You could imagine an ad element to this,” he remarks.
For now, Instagram, which has 500 million monthly active users, is not taking any financial cut from purchases made through these types of posts, and makes money solely from advertising. Acquired by Facebook for $1 billion four years ago, Instagram only opened up its advertising program in September.
But according to some reports, the app could be bringing in billions in advertising revenue this year. Instagram also revealed that it now has 500,000 advertisers, more than double the number it had in February.
Still, it will be interesting to see if the company sees increased traction in purchasing from the new feature during the holiday shopping rush.