Instagram is Evolving into a Legitimate Ecommerce Platform

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Launched in 2010, Instagram allows users to upload and manipulate photos and videos and share them with other pre-approved users. Immediately popular, Instagram has grown to include one billion registered users in 2019. Acquired by Facebook in 2012, Instagram has a history of continuous improvement that has led it to create influencer marketing, an opportunity for businesses to sell directly to consumers through a network of independent influencers. Now a $2 billion industry, authentic influencer marketers are on the verge of even greater impact on sellers’ ability to target and connect with specific market segments. 

Facebook is rapidly advancing the introduction of new features that will permit an expansion of commerce over the Instagram app.  While shoppable product tags have been available on Instagram for several years, the app will soon be able to offer users the ability to shop and buy merchandise through Instagram Checkout without ever leaving the app. Shopping directly on Instagram provides considerable opportunities for increased monetization. One analyst estimates shopping on Instagram is a $10 billion opportunity. With more than 800 million active users, Instagram is the platform of choice for influencer marketing. Shopping will likely expand as the company rolls out the new features that compliment Instagram Checkout.

Beginning this year in addition to Checkout, Instagram is introducing a new camera, a new Donation Sticker for raising money on Instagram Stories and is initiating increased security with the introduction of “Hiding Counts” and” Away Mode”. Creator Profiles are on the horizon as the app continues to improve functions across the space.

More than two-thirds of North American retailers use some form of influencer marketing and more than half of all retailers spend at least 10% of their marketing budget on influencer marketing. Instagram’s new features play into marketers’ confidence in the channel. Eighty percent of sellers find influencer marketing effective and nearly 90 percent say the return on investment is compatible with or better than other channels.

Twenty-three brands have been chosen by Instagram to be the first to test out Instagram Checkout, including: Adidas, Burberry, Dior, H&M, MAC Cosmetics, Kylie Cosmetics, Nike, Prada, Uniqlo and Zara. The cost to vendors of Instagram Checkout is still unknown and the app still has to comply with Facebook founders’ new “privacy focused model” mandate, but the new feature will certainly become a favorite of ecommerce businesses.