Back in 2016, Instagram began its first foray into eCommerce by introducing product tagging to verified creators. As part of the initial launch, 20 US-based retail brands like Kate Spade, JackThreads, and Warby Parker shared tagged posts featuring in-depth descriptions of products. Each post featured a tap-to-view icon at the bottom left of a photo. When tapped, a tag pops up on items in the post, showcasing up to five products and their prices.
Now, the platform is opening its product tagging feature to all users in the US, which means that users don’t need a business or creator account to tag products.
Any Instagram user can select a photo or video, add a caption and then select the “Next” button. In order to see the option to tag products, users must first tag a brand in the post to see the option to tag products. From there, tap “Tag Products” to search for a business and then find the products you want to tag, and then add them to the post. Users have the option to tag multiple products in a single post.
Those who are business owners will also now receive a notification when someone on Instagram tags a product of theirs. They can also view all tagged content on their profile in one place. Brands can now easily control who tags their products by managing their product tag preferences in their settings.
The Verge notes that the platform already boasts a large number of users tagging products in their posts, with around 1.6 million people tagging at least one product per week. Expanding the feature to its complete user base of 2 billion (with an impressive B) people will help expand the visibility of products through non-sponsored content that could open an untapped market of users wanting to share the products they use with the masses.
Instagram has been oiling up their eCommerce machine for quite some time. Just last year, the platform also added a new feature to help connect online shoppers to product drops inside the Shop tab. Consumers now have the power to discover, browse and shop unlimited new product launches, and get the scoop on future drops all in the same tab. Shoppers also have the option to receive reminders about products they’re interested in and look through products and collections from other drops that recently took place on Instagram.
A new report from Accenture predicts that social commerce will evolve three times as fast as traditional eCommerce, more than doubling from $492 billion worldwide in 2021 to $1.2 trillion in 2025. The market for social media platforms capitalizing off of product features is hot, and shows no signs of slowing– not even a little.
Pointing back to the Accenture report, US social commerce sales are expected to reach $45.74 billion by the end of this year, with over half of the country’s adults making a purchase on social media. Those who hadn’t made such a purchase cited reasons like a preference for dealing directly with a retailer (44%), distrusting platforms with payment information (43%), and being unsure if the products shown were legit (33%).
Instagram and of course TikTok may lead the way when it comes to innovating social commerce, but Twitter recently introduced features to ensure they get a chunk of the market as well. Twitter Shops allows merchants to handpick a collection of up to 50 products to showcase to shoppers on Twitter. The free feature will enable users to browse products from the profiles of their favorite brands, so when customers discover products and mention them on the timeline, they can now look them up on Twitter, too.
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