Instagram Testing Direct Product Purchases

Instagram is looking to improve its user experience when it comes to purchasing items that are advertised while using the service. Currently, if you see a brand post and are you are interested in purchasing that product, it is a rather involved process to get to the point where you can actually purchase it. The first thing you need to do is determine if the ad put the name of the item and brand in the caption. Then you must open your phone’s browser app and go to the retailers website, then search for the item by name to locate it and start the purchasing process.

Next week, IOS users located in the US who use the Instagram app will be able to start testing Instagram’s new feature that allows you to purchase items that you see in a retailer’s photo without leaving the Instagram app. During this testing phase, only 20 retailers will be participating, including Kate Spade, Warby Parker, JackThreads, and Macy’s.

Instagram’s new, organic-only shopping feature not very advanced when compared to what other sites and companies are doing. Although users have been able to purchase items through ads on Instagram for more than a year now, this new feature is more of a stylish, slick upgrade that should improve user experience and functionality.

The new feature ends up requiring three taps on the screen to navigate to the point where your Instagram’s in-app browser is opened up to a page displaying the product on the retailer’s website. Although it is not a one-click process, it prevents you from having to manually open up your phone’s browser, manually navigate to your favorite search engine, and manually search for the item. Another large benefit to the new process is that you will no longer need to “Google” the item and click on the Google search ad in order to get to the retailer’s product page. This means that by using the new process, Google (Facebook’s main advertising rival), will no longer get the credit for directing the user to the retailers website. Instead, the retailer will give Instagram the credit for the sale.

According to Ryan McIntyre, CMO of JackThreads, “It makes it a really exciting opportunity to turn Instagram on the organic side from an engagement channel to a direct selling channel.”

The data that Instagram will be able to gather from this new feature will be abundant and useful not only to Instagram, but most importantly, the retailers themselves. The information they will receive will allow the retailers to adapt their advertising campaigns based on the consumer’s reaction to their marketing and advertising used on the app.

Ryan McIntyre states, “We’ll be looking at sales and total basket sizes and things like post-click as they come over, but also looking at the image composition from what actually drives the most activity.”

This new process of advertising not only makes it easier for the consumer to make purchases, but it also opens possibilities for increasing revenue for Instagram and its parent company, Facebook. Instagram and Facebook could take the information from Instagram’s new organic shopping posts, and focus more advertising on people who are exposed to and interact with related ads, thereby making their advertising platform even more efficient at providing relevant ads for its users.

Affiliate marketers will want to keep an eye on the success of this new strategy, as it could be a changing force for Facebook and its holdings, and how advertising is handled in the future.

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