In-App Shopping on Instagram: What It Means for Marketers

May 23, 2018 Ross Bucholc

It’s no secret the retail industry wants to engage with, nurture and sell to consumers via social media. Similar to Snapchat’s latest monetization efforts, Instagram is quietly expanding their shopping capabilities. 

What Does Shopping on Instagram Entail?

With an initiative launched last year, Instagram allows brands to deploy interactive posts with shoppable tags that link to webpages, pushing users out of the app to complete a purchase. Partners like Kate Spade take advantage of this feature. Originally available only in the U.S., Instagram’s shopping capabilities went global in March.

Does Instagram Have Plans to Keep Shoppers Within Their App?

Yes.

Instagram is testing in-app shopping with select retailers, like restaurants and salons. Within the app, Instagram users can book reservations and make native (in-app) payments.

Appointments are scheduled on a retailer’s Instagram profile page by selecting the “book” call to action (CTA) located just below the company bio. Users then select their services and review their appointment details before confirming the reservations.

Snapchat has also tested native payments for their own branded store, indicating expansion past reservation making may be in the plans.

To make in-app reservations on Instagram, users must save debit and/or credit card information to their profiles and set their PIN numbers for security. This capability is rolling out throughout the U.S., but it is not yet available to all U.S. Instagram users.

Though Instagram payment capabilities are limited in comparison to Facebook payment capabilities, Facebook payment rules apply to Instagram accounts.

What Does Instagram Shopping Mean for Marketers?

Although their brand follower growth is on a downward trend, with 800 million monthly active users (MAU), Instagram is a dominant social media platform that should not be ignored.

In fact, 60% of internet users with a household income of more than $100,000 are on Instagram.

The in-app Instagram shopping capabilities are currently too limited to have much impact for marketers. But as Instagram expands native shopping across their artistic and easy-to-consume content feed, there will be more opportunity for brands drive revenue.

Once in-app Instagram shopping expands, it will deliver a seamless conversion process to more Instagram users. Allowing for quick, “impulse buys,” as TechCrunch puts it, native purchases can drive shorter conversion lifecycles and higher conversion rates.

In the meantime, retailers with an audience that matches the Instagram profile should consider posting with shopping tags that push traffic outside the app. Although the in-app conversion rate may be lower, a click drives that Instagram user directly to your landing page. Click here to read the Instagram instructions on how to get started.

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About the Author

Ross Bucholc

Ross Bucholc is the Director of Paid Media at Digital Media Solutions (DMS), an industry leader in providing end-to-end customer acquisition solutions that help clients grow their businesses and realize their marketing goals. In this role, Ross oversees search, display, social, programmatic, mobile and affiliate programs servicing DMS clients across industries. The DMS Paid Media team focuses on customer-centric, real-time marketing using robust data from multiple sources to understand each customer’s journey and optimize campaign performance. Since its inception, DMS has evolved into a full-service performance marketing company that services firms within highly complex and competitive industries including mortgage, education, insurance, consumer brands, automotive, jobs and careers. DMS has achieved incredible year-over-year growth, which has earned recognition on the Inc. 5000 list in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017.

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