• Jacobs Communications

It's time to commit marketing budget to Instagram

Shifting behaviors in advertising consumption means more consumers will be shopping through social. Is your brand keeping up?

As the retail landscape is shifting around the world and instagram seems to be where Gen Z and Millennial demographics spend most of their time, Instagram converged both aspects to launch new shopping features on their app.

First tested out in June last year, Instagram added a click-to-shop feature to the app in September. This allows businesses to add links so users can shop directly with brands by clicking on the items included in their insta-stories and pictures – a direct way for people to buy what they see within seconds, without having to leave the app. One tap or swipe to learn more, and direct access to the product – nearly effortless - because let's face it, when you're on your phone in one app, you don't want to leave it to do something else.

Later in November, the app announced three additional features and updates, including shopping in feed videos, save to shopping collection (a wish-list for later) and redesigned their shop tab on business profiles to browse all items quickly in one page.

The shopping feature becomes particularly interesting when it comes to video – it’s another level of engagement. Soon we will be able to watch a video on insta stories, see one of our favorite actors, artists or other high-profile figures, click on them and buy whatever they’re wearing. The feature is breaking barriers between people by becoming more approachable and accessible to its users.

However, these features are only available for business accounts to use, not open to individual sellers or consumers interested to sell disparate items. Plus, brands can only link products they sell themselves, meaning it’s off-limits for third party retailers in the meantime.

The platform has also suddenly become much more appealing to marketers and brands who were investing heavily on TV, YouTube and Snap ads. A goldmine, really. Although all these features are free for business accounts to use, it might change sooner rather than later, if adherence continues to increase rapidly. These click-to-shop features might be the most compelling and efficient ways to get shoppers today. Younger generations have pretty much ditched traditional TV, so companies are putting their money where this massive age group no longer is. They are still watching ads, only in a completely different way. According to eMarketer’s latest US advertising forecast, Instagram has dipped into the nearly $70 billion brands were spending on commercials last year.

Instagram alone has 1 billion active users, out of which insta-stories has 400 million daily users. These features proved to be a huge hit among young adults using the app, which corresponds to 70% of 18-to-24 years old. According to the Drapes Connected Consumer, 77% of the 18-to-24 cohort and 51% of the 25-to-34 age group report that they browse fashion on their phones, and 68% of the youngest group actually buys online too. YouTube and Snapchat, which have their own shoppable features, are feeling the competition heating up.

In a recent press release of the company, team Instagram reported they would continue to explore the right features and experiences to make Instagram the best place to shop from their users’ favorite brands and find inspiration.

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