You may have read our recent blog on the ways in which Smartphones have changed the way we browse. If you haven’t then I won’t lie to you, I’m pretty hurt. But don’t worry you can still read it here, though you have to promise to read this one too, ok?
Anyway, it would seem that Instagram have cottoned on to this too (they probably read our fantastic blog). Last week, they wrote that “Mobile has changed the way people shop. You browse products while waiting to be seated for dinner, make purchases on your commute into work, and compare prices online when you’re at a store to see what’s the better deal.” The announcement told readers of their blog that they could expect an “easier experience to shop the products you love on Instagram”. News of the Instagram shopping feature came as no surprised to us at all.
They’re just trialling it this week, with 20 US-based retailers set to share posts that have more information, in the hope of making it easier for Instagrammers to review, learn about and consider the items they want to get their mitts on. These posts will have a ‘tap to view’ icon at the bottom of the image that, when tapped, can showcase the details of up to five products and their prices. The Instagram shop trial will only be available to a select group of people on iOS devices within the US for now, but we’re pretty sure it will be a permanent feature for all in no time.
In fact, this is something that fashion bloggers and similar accounts have been doing for a long time, using tags to let followers know where they got their fancy new handbag or exotic cactus, and advertisers have no doubt been the driving force behind this for a while now. “I’ll send you some free laxative tea if you post a picture holding it, telling your followers how skinny it made you (but please, please don’t mention the less than glamorous side-effects)”. But now Instagram are finally jumping in, taking control and making this whole process better for advertisers and users alike. As a company, they’re all about beautiful design and seamless user experiences. Their aim is to “deliver the most seamless shopping experience for consumers and businesses on Instagram, and ultimately mobile”. Many people already use Instagram to shop but they believe this new tagging system will bring important product information to the consumer earlier in the journey. It will also keep them within the Instagram app the whole time, until they decide to tap a ‘shop now’ link which takes them directly to that product on the business’ website.
They are also starting to test swipe and ‘see more’ links inside their stories, allowing verified accounts to add hyperlinks that enable users to easily learn more. Instagram had to do something to compete with Snapchat’s hugely popular filters, after all, and the introduction of URLs, as well as adding mentions and Boomerang, makes the copy-cat Instagram feature more dynamic and better differentiated from their rivals at Snapchat. Though only available to verified users, this change should come as great news to businesses marketing themselves on Instagram. In theory, your Instagram story could now have a call-to-action like “read more on our blog!” which could be a great way of getting traffic off Instagram and onto to your site. The new feature marks the first time links have been allowed anywhere in Instagram beyond a user’s profile (we all know that phrase, “link in bio”). It comes in response to the large number of brands that are now using stories to promote their content, and once again is an attempt to create a seamless and linear user experience.
There are over 500,000 advertisers now growing their business on Instagram. If you’d like to learn more about how you could be one of them, get in touch with one of our digital marketing specialists today.