When Instagram first announced its Shopping Tags feature, it sparked immediate excitement among business users. Instagram’s Shopping Tags - just as they sound - enable eligible businesses to add price and description tags to specific items in any Instagram image, which, when clicked, take the user through to your website to purchase that item.
But Instagram’s been slow to roll out the potentially game-changing feature, taking their time with initial tests to ensure the process is right, and doesn’t turn off users who are more used to seeing simple, non-clickable images, harking back to the initial, photography focus of the app.
But gradually, Instagram is making Shopping Tags more broadly available. After expanding the option to fashion businesses and Shopify merchants in the US last year, Instagram’s now also making them available to businesses in Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK.
As explained by Instagram:
“We know that Instagram is a great place for people to discover and share their passions. With shopping on Instagram, this sense of discovery goes even further by giving people a visual storefront to explore new products from businesses they follow. With easy access to pricing and product details, shoppers can tap on a tagged post within feed or through the shop button on a business's profile to take the next steps to learn more.”
Interestingly, Instagram’s announcement comes only a day after Pinterest announced that they’re expanding access to their similar ‘Shop the Look’ Pins to businesses in France, Germany, Japan and the UK.
Probably a coincidence.
Instagram also notes that more than 200 million of the platform’s daily users visit at least one business profile in the app every day, underlining the opportunity for their advanced eCommerce capacity. Instagram’s still being somewhat careful with the rollout, taking their time to ensure they don’t disrupt the user experience, but the expansion will mean a lot more businesses can now utilize the attractive format - which will no doubt excite those who’re seeking to make Insta a bigger focus in 2018.
Interested in learning more? First, to ensure your business qualifies for Shopping Tags, check out Instagram’s eligibility requirements here. If you tick all the boxes, you can submit your account for review – Instagram says that the review process normally takes a few days, but may take longer if they need more detail.
If your account is approved, you’ll get a notification from Instagram, and you’ll be able to switch on product tagging through your app settings.
Tagging your products in your Instagram posts is similar to tagging people - as you can see in the below GIF, businesses are able to attach shopping tags by choosing the relevant image and selecting 'Tag products'.
Once you've chosen the item you want to link to from your product catalog list, you can move the tag around on the image to denote the right item.
Brands that want to utilize the functionality will need to upload a product catalog first, which can be done via Facebook Business Manager.
It’s a big step for Instagram, broadening access to what many see as a key tool in the app’s future monetization and business plans. And definitely, it makes sense – with so many people coming to Instagram to look at product images anyway, making it easier to connect with the buying process will help both Instagram and brands make more use of the platform, while the relatively non-intrusive presence of the tags should see limited negative response.