Shopping, shopping, shopping! It’s not just the ditty you’ll be singing yourself this holiday season; it’s been the collective mantra of the digital marketing world for months now. Google dropped Smart Shopping in July. It introduced shoppable image ads just last week. And now, after sending shopping global in March, and introducing shopping to Stories in June, Instagram is officially rolling out shopping in Stories to all businesses for which shopping in general is approved.
That sentence got a little more complicated than I wanted it to. Let’s talk about who can use shopping in Instagram Stories and why that functionality is going to be important for brands going forward.
Shopping on Instagram started wayyyyyy back in March 2017, or approximately 1 B.C.A. (Before Cambridge Analytica). Instagram built its shopping experience to be less transactional and more immersive. Shopping posts looked like organic posts, with the exception that the “tap to view products” button would reveal product names and prices.
And when clicking on those product names and prices, you’d head to a product details page with a description and a CTA; from which, if you were indeed called to action, you’d head to a landing page.
Instagram shopping is effective, fairly unobtrusive, and fairly ubiquitous—more than 90 million users tap to reveal tags in shopping posts every month.
Did you pick up on that caveat I mentioned a second ago? Instagram is officially rolling out shopping in Stories to all businesses for which shopping in general is approved. That means, you guessed it: there’s a process you need to go through to get approved for shopping before you start incorporating it in Stories. Here’s how to do it:
Complete these steps, and Instagram will automatically review your account for approval. Getting it might take a few days, but be patient—you’ll get a notification when you’re officially approved.
After you’re approved, and before you can start tagging products in posts, you need to enable product tagging in Instagram. To do so, click the “Get Started” alert at the top of your profile (you’ll see this when you’re approved for shopping). If you don’t see an alert, but have already been approved, head to Options>Products>Continue. Select the product catalog you want to connect to your profile, click Done, and you’re ready to start tagging your products in your Instagram posts.
If you’ve completed the above steps, congrats! You’re in business. You now have the ability to leverage shopping in a format so immersive and unique it has Facebook execs on-stage at conferences predicting it’s going to overtake News Feed in popularity. Stories. Instagram Stories are used by over 400 million accounts. The full-screen, vertical creative, combined with the ability to watch a continuous stream of content without lifting a finger (or, by swiping through if you’re inclined) makes the prospect of adding shopping to the equation super interesting.
Product tagging in Instagram Stories comes by way of stickers. So, after you’ve added a sticker for that sweet Led Zeppelin background song; a location sticker; and mentioned your uber-followed influencer-model, simply add the product sticker, and voila:
(We’ve got plenty more Instagram Stories hacks here).
One of the limitations here is you can only tag one product per post, but even that’s not really a limitation—if you want to tag another product, simply add to your story! When your user clicks on your sticker, and then subsequently clicks the See Details pop-up, they’ll be sent to the same product details page we discussed earlier. From there, they can either click through to your landing page, see additional product images, or look at similar items.
That’s not the only way Instagram innovated around shopping, though. Head to the Discover tab on your dashboard (you know, that little magnifying glass you click when there’s nothing better to do) and, coming soon, you’ll see a shopping-specific discovery channel Instagram is currently testing. The point here, if you’re a user interested in shopping, is that Instagram is going to start exposing you to brands it thinks you might like that use shopping. If you’re a brand, that means this: keep putting out shopping content, and you put yourself in a position to be seen by consumers you wouldn’t reach with a standard post to News Feed or Stories.
So what does all this mean? Basically, if you have a minimum viable product that consumers can physically hold, what a time to be alive! Shopping functionality keeps increasing, drastically and across channels, and this latest development marries sky-high selling potential with the future of content consumption. Use it!
Speaking of stories, have you tried LinkedIn Stories yet?
Gordon Donnelly is an SEO jedi who proudly honed his chops at WordStream for 5+ years. Today, you’ll find him at home in Boston, building Triple Whale’s world-class e-commerce analytics platform, or helping businesses of all sizes grow through SEO, advertising, and content marketing.
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