With Instagram's Collection Ads, Brands Have A New Way To Sell To Their Users
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Instagram is stepping up on its e-commerce game. The Facebook-owned app has started testing ads that fuses videos and product catalogues to let users view and purchase products, all without leaving the Instagram platform. Named as Instagram Collection ads, the format digitizes the print catalogs by letting users see a striking video, using a swipeable pull-up menu displaying the brand’s website for people to view products and buy them. It’s currently open to limited advertisers; however, the company plans to make it available for others in a couple of months.
It was initially tested across Facebook timelines before running on Instagram, the difference being that the Instagram format only containing three product photos, compared to four on Facebook. Plus, on Facebook, clicking on a single product showcases its specific product catalog, whereas for Instagram, tapping on any of the product photos will lead to the product catalog and brand’s site. The new ad format is an indication of the opportunities for the platform to offer branding and e-commerce in a single unit with a simple call-to-action, all without leaving the platform, leading to possible sales boosts and higher levels of engagement.
And taking the first plunge to try out Instagram Collection ads are fashion and beauty brands Birchbox and Revolve. Both brands have a strong presence on the platform, with AdAge reporting that 200 million people follow fashion-related accounts. In the same report, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg notes the decline of Facebook users in North America, denoting the potential for Instagram as "a 'business’ visual shop on mobile.” As Sandberg says: “About two-thirds of the visits to Instagram business profiles are from people who don’t yet follow them. This is how businesses are finding new customers.”
With Instagram’s e-commerce push, its rival Snapchat is also expanding its offerings for in-app purchases. In February 2018, Snapchat had introduced its first Snap Store, a channel on its Discover section to view and purchase the brand’s merchandise within the app, leading to possibly more sales avenues for brands.
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