After testing them out over the last few weeks, Instagram is now rolling out its new promoted products option within the Shop tab to all merchants in the app.
As you can see in this example, brands with product listings in the app will now be able to promote them on the Shop tab, with a 'Sponsored' disclaimer marking the paid posts.
As explained by Instagram:
"After a successful test, we’re launching ads on the Instagram Shop tab globally to make it easier for people to discover and shop from brands when they’re already in the mood to browse. These ads will appear as tiles on the Instagram Shop tab home page."
What 'successful' means in this context, Instagram doesn't say, but it seems like the promoted listings haven't had a negative impact on engagement, and could be helping to drive results for early partner brands.
Clicking on a sponsored product will take users through to a product details page, where they'll be able to learn more about the item. The details page will also highlight additional products from that brand (you can see the 'More from this Shop' element in the second screenshot above).
Users will also be able to save sponsored product listings to a wishlist, or share them with friends from the details page.
The addition is part of Instagram's broader eCommerce shift, which involves slowly teaching users to expect that they'll be able to shop for items from images within the app. The Shop tab, introduced last July, is a key element in this, and with more people now turning on eCommerce due to the COVID-19 inflicted store closures, the gradual guidance towards the platform's shopping options will ideally see more shopping activity occur within the platform, making this an even more valuable promotional tool over time.
And as Instagram learns more about each users' shopping preferences, and the product that they like, the Shop tab will become more valuable, again increasing the potential of this new addition. At the least, it may well be worth an experiment for those that are looking to tap into Instagram's billion-user audience.
And worth noting - 80% of Instagram users follow at least one brand on the platform, underlining the potential for product discovery and promotion in the app. Direct connection to shopping is a logical progression in this respect.
The new Instagram Promoted Products option is rolling out in countries where the Instagram Shop tab is available.