Instagram currently has around 800 million monthly active users which is more than double that of Twitter, and experts have said they believe it could reach 1 billion this year.
The visually-orientated social platform has over 8 million active business accounts and 80% of all Instagram users follow a business on the app, making it a great place for brands to be. It works especially well for retail businesses, or plainly someone who has a product, meaning beauty, fitness, food & drink and shopping are at the top of the list for industries that use Instagram.
The newest feature on Instagram, is their ‘shop’ function’ which makes it great for users to find the products that they love with ease, as well as offering businesses a better way to promote and display their products on posts. It was successfully released in America in October last year and has recently been added to UK accounts which were initially tested on Marks & Spencer, Heidi Klein and Mahabis.
Previously, accounts would have to either paste the link in the post caption and users would have to go to this separately on their browser, or they would update the link in the account's bio whenever they posted a new item, which is a nightmare for both businesses and users. Effectively, the update is giving businesses ‘links’ for the first time which is a really big step and will help to boost the engagement of posts.
The Insta-shopping feature appears as a tag on the photo where the product is and you can see a brief overview by tapping the image (title and price usually), once you click on the specific tag, it will bring up a page where you can click to shop and also displays a product image, description and price.
Currently, only physical items such as clothes and beauty products are able to use this Insta-shopping and the feature will become available to them after they have posted nine times. At the moment, this is a free feature that retailers can utilise in their marketing strategy, although, it is only available to use on organic posts and not sponsored ones.
We think it’s a smart move from Facebook in pushing Instagram forward and meeting online shopping trends and habits from both the business and user point of view. Will you be using the new Insta-shopping feature?
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