Cop Top Drops in Laptop App Shop - Instagram's New Shoppable Tags

img: Wavys
Instagram have just announced their plans to incorporate shoppable tags into the platform, in a move to further commercialise it and, presumably, smooth the way for more integrated branded content alongside their dedicated ad space. With vast user bases already established, this follows the wider trend of social networks commercialising their inner space to further drive revenue. Right now the tags are being tested on small groups with just a few retailers, but the company aims to continue expanding the program, adapting as it goes.

The way these shopping tags function is that in any photo with them enabled, products can be tagged in order to promote them. The user will see a button saying TAP TO VIEW PRODUCTS, and when they tap this, tags on up to 5 products will pop up showing the names of the products and their prices. If the user then taps on the tags, a detailed view of the product will then open so that they can check it out a bit more, with the Shop Now button finally taking the landing page on the business' website.

Right now, the shoppable tags are only available to 20 select US brands, including Kate Spade, JackThreads and Warby Parker, and they can use them to fill out posts that have more "depth" (shopping details). The feature will gradually roll out over time, with Instagram refining it and learning as they go, aiming to adapt to to be functional on a whole-app level.

Ryan McIntyre, CMO of JackThreads, was certainly enthused to be involved, claiming that “this test is going to change the scope of what we, as retailers, are capable of offering on mobile. Instead of having to transition over to the JackThreads app, our customers will be able to shop seamlessly from their social media feeds—allowing us to reach guys where they’re already hunting for what’s new.”

This highlights the key aim of the introduction of shopping tags, namely to streamline and expand the buyer's journey from discovery to purchase, whilst making sure that as much as possible of it takes place within the app itself. It means that Instagram is going to be present at all stages, attracting advertisers, and eventually allowing them to monetise the relationship by letting brands pay to have their tagged photos displayed on a user's feed, even if they don't follow them. Instagram knows that they are great discovery resource for consumers, but they want to get involved further down the chain.

The addition of shopping tags is in line with the broader trend for social media platforms to move forward with increasing commercialisation of their apps, especially now that their user bases are already so gargantuan. Facebook recently introduced the marketplace tab and deepened their partnership with Paypal, whilst Snapchat is introducing sponsored lenses and pumping up ad revenue ahead of a potential $4 billion IPO. It also follows a couple of other trends, such as focusing more on integrated branded content, as opposed to obvious paid ads, as YouTube is doing, and also beginning to move more and more user activity inside the app, trying to create a one stop shop (and reap the associated profits).

Who knows where this could end? Perhaps someone's oh so welcome daily shot of their dinner could be tagged with the restaurant, or their dog with its groomer. Or everything in all photos will be automatically tagged with exactly where you can buy it, and with one tap money will leave your account and a drone will fly it straight to you. Embrace the consumerist utopia/dystopia!

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