Instagram Tests Shoppable Tags on Photos


Instagram wants you to shop without always having to interrupt your scrolling with a browser window. That’s why today it will start showing shoppable tags on photos from 20 retail brands like Kate Spade and JackThreads to iOS users in the US.

The retailers tag products in their photos, which are hidden behind a “Tap to view products” button. After selecting their product of choice, users see an in-app details page with a specific product’s price, description, additional photos, and a “Shop Now” button to buy it on the web.

You can think of shoppable photos as Facebook Instant Articles for products. Since the product pages load inside Instagram, they show up quicker than immediately getting booted to a browser. And if the details don’t entice a shopper, they can swiftly tap back to their beloved feed.

Instagram won’t take a cut of purchases, and instead plans to monetize the product by later allowing brands to pay to show their shoppable photos to people who don’t follow them, says Instagram’s VP of monetization James Quarles. Instagram now has 500,000 advertisers and is finally earning some serious cash four years after Facebook acquired it for nearly $1 billion.

Purchasing products entirely inside of Instagram, as Facebook is now trying with chatbots, isn’t something the company is working on yet. That might put it at a slight disadvantage to Pinterest, which is testing Buyable Pins with in-line checkout flow. But both are emerging as powerful discovery mechanisms for users who aren’t sure what they want to buy yet and therefore aren’t just searching for it on Amazon.

Eventually Instagram wants to add a “Save” feature so you can bookmark product posts as you browse and come back to them. Users aren’t always ready to buy on impulse. That’s why unlike Instagram’s existing product ads that immediately link to checkout sites, these shoppable photos give you time to compare different color options and the price so you have true intent if you go to buy.

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SOURCE: TechCrunch, Josh Constine