Instagram, or ‘the gram’ as it is affectionately referred to by some, announced in a recent blog post that it is about to become shoppable. The struggle of awkwardly trying to copy and paste links into another browser will no longer be real. Instead, users will be able to rack up their credit cards with greater efficiency and convenience by clicking a neat little call to action (CTA) button on sponsored content.
Insta knows not everyone is trying to sell a tangible product and so, offers four CTA options:
1. Shop Now
2. Install Now
3. Sign Up
4. Learn More
These buttons are placed at the bottom right corner of the layout, in the same row as the like and comment buttons.
Though great for spontaneous shopping from the comfort of your couch (or more likely, your bed… but hopefully not toilet – gross) there are mixed opinions about any form of official advertising on the platform. Take, for example, the reactions to the Michael Kors campaign when sponsored content was first introduced.
Despite its visually pleasing aesthetic composition, this ad had the needle of the public sentiment gauge hovering fairly consistently in the red (read: negative) zone.
It seems Instagram have recognised that disrupting the experience of the platform is a big no-no. In their official words:
“We have worked across brands, agencies and our community to design an advertising experience that feels native to the platform. And we’ve made our ad formats more impactful, from photo and video ads to carousel ads that allow brands to tell a deeper story and provide a link for people to learn more.”
The ‘grammers of the world have now had time to warm up to the idea of sponsored advertising but this new move has both users and marketers divided.
An interview described the thoughts of one such ad man who described the move as “risky” and “a mistake”. Though some of the anecdotal reasoning would stand to be proven incorrect by the platform itself, such as saying he’s never seen an image of a Nike shoe by itself (see: any sports luxe feed), the idea that introducing this e-commerce element will change the experience of the image and the platform stands true. His resolution – influencer marketing and parallel shopping platforms.
Despite personal opinion, there is no denying that this direct social e-commerce integration boasts a range of benefits for marketers. Anything that makes social ROI easier to measure, shortens the purchase path and increases conversion rates is a winner. The fact that these ads may be powered by Facebook’s Ad Manager would also keep campaign management and tracking tidy and easy to integrate with existing paid strategies.
Instagram isn’t the only social network on the road to becoming shoppable. The Pinterest ‘buy’ button has been announced, Twitter tested a ‘buy’ button in 2014 and various social shopping apps and integrations have made their debut. The question remains though: will users jump on the social shopping experience like the networks want them to? Only time will tell.