22nd March 2019

Thanks, I got it on Instagram

As of Tuesday, Instagram ecommerce was born. The new offspring, named ‘Checkout’, allows users to shop via the app, store their payment info and make purchases, as quickly as you can say ‘One Born Every Minute’.

The due date has been on the cards for a while, and after months of testing and building, a beta version has been rolled out to multiple US based brands – giving channel users the functionality to shop until they drop (because they’ve run out of money).

As with every new addition that enters the world, it needs nurture. There will be milestones, challenges and celebrations, ensuring the platform provides seamless experiences for customers, while still providing sophisticated retargeting for brands and businesses outside of the usual conversion funnel.

Instagram is the channel that bleeds beautiful. Food, fashion, design. Holidays, lifestyle and quixotic realities. The place where you find yourself wasting time and gaining nothing, until now. Convenience is king, and with users being able to buy as they scroll providing them instant gratification it’s almost a guarantee this service will be an ecommerce game changer. The user experience is slick, giving people no reason to leave the app. This means we might find less people heading to Google to search out products, instead spending more time being ‘influenced’, entertained then subtly, without notice, sold to.

Junior Planner, Nathan Youd said: “The most interesting aspect of this development from Instagram is their obvious aim of increasing retention on shopping pages, to cut down the drop off that shoppers may have online. Now, customers can see an item and shop directly, without leaving the app. This leaves little to no opportunity to ‘come back later’ and never actually do. When you compare this to the time it would take to see an item, head to a web browser and purchase, it’s worlds apart. It will be interesting to see a comparison of drop off rates between mobile and online following this move”.

Influencer marketing agencies and brands working with celebrities should rejoice, as the tap and buy funnel has become somewhat smaller. You see it on someone. You like it. You buy it. The launch of ‘Checkout’ is an example of how Facebook is introducing more ways to push social up the ecommerce funnel rivalling and surpassing the likes of ecommerce giants, Amazon. Is this Facebook’s move to become a ‘one stop shop’?

This is an important time for brands to re-evaluate their social strategy and reconsider budgets. We are likely to see an uplift in organic and engagement driving campaigns to ensure users stay put on the channel. This is a case of great timing as Instagram has been pushing IGTV and other gamification elements. Therefore, if Instagram can turn their 130 million product taps into transactions for brands, we might find digital spend focused more on the giant that is Facebook.  Although the shopping and checkout features are not available in adverts – it will be interesting to see how the uptake in organic social management challenges the ever-changing algorithms. Yet another space to watch very closely.