The first photo was posted on Instagram back in 2010, and only two years later, the company was bought by Facebook for a billion dollars.
Instagram advertising has only been around since late 2015, but since that time, the social media giant has become a major advertising platform for brands. Now there are over two million monthly advertisers to the one billion monthly active users on Instagram, and 2019 ad revenue is expected to exceed $10 billion.
Instagram recently unveiled its new special account called @shop that is expected to help brands not only gain visibility among the millions of Instagram users on a given day, but also sell products directly.
Instagram Expanding from Ad Platform to Shopping Platform
@shop is a curated account for showcasing emerging brands. Instagram’s curators work with the company’s Community Labs to identify trends, along with brands and creators. The @shop account is designed to be a real-time indicator of emerging consumer trends.
Currently, @shop has 75,000 followers, and the products featured in the account are equipped with shopping tags so that people can buy them directly, without leaving Instagram.
The creation of @shop indicates that Instagram is expanding from being a highly popular advertising platform and is emerging as a shopping platform. The company hopes to help people find undiscovered brands and make purchases directly through the app.
@shop Limited to Certain Consumer Categories
Currently, @shop curates primarily from categories like fashion, beauty, and home décor. They haven’t indicated whether or not more categories will be added. However, it’s safe to say that beauty, fashion, and décor are already highly Instagram-friendly due to the app’s visual, image-conscious emphasis. Any future category additions are likely to be those that rely on products’ visual appeal.
Instagram already has advertiser tools such as a dedicated shopping channel and the “collection tab” that helps users curate their own favorites from the items they see on the site. Shoppable videos are also part of Instagram.
Business pages can include a “shop” tab, and native checkout helps people buy selected advertiser products through the site. @shop, however, is designed to counteract the “filter bubble” effect that can result in users seeing the same products advertised repeatedly so that consumers are exposed to a wider range of products.
Impressive Statistics for In-App Shopping
Direct selling through platforms like Instagram is growing. Sixty-three percent of online shoppers say they have clicked on social media ads, and of those, one-third reported making a direct purchase. Over half of online shoppers who use social media say they have clicked on influencer posts, and of those, 31% made a direct purchase after viewing the influencer post. In other words, social media is an important shopping tool.
Advertisers cannot control which products and brands are chosen for @shop, but Instagram hopes that the new account will encourage brands to create their own shoppable posts. The new feature may not have a huge direct effect on brands unless they are chosen as part of the @shop curation efforts, but it is likely to continue to solidify Instagram’s reputation as a prime advertising platform and its emergence as a prime shopping platform. Hangar12 is at the forefront of CPG marketing strategy and more. Subscribe to our blog to stay up-to-date with our latest insights.