Everything You Need to Know About Instagram's New Shopping Features

The app is giving influencers and brands new channels on which consumers can discover them.
Everything You Need to Know About Instagram's New Shopping Features
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Influencers and brands have two new ways to sell products to users scrolling and tapping through their Instagram feeds.

After a summer of testing shopping buttons that drive purchases via Stories, the Facebook-owned app has launched them for businesses in 46 countries. It’s also begun rolling out a personalized shopping section in the Explore tab, which Instagram redesigned earlier this year to feature AI-powered channels categorizing content based on topic (e.g. travel, art, decor).

The shopping tab will be a place for users who know they want to browse and potentially buy, with Instagram’s algorithm serving up brands the user already follows or would likely be into, based on past activity on the app.

Meanwhile, the shopping bag stickers in Stories will give users a chance to not just admire their favorite influencers’ outfits, but actually click through and learn more about promoted items. Since Instagram began testing the feature in June, more than 90 million users per month have tapped to reveal tags in shopping posts, according to a Sept. 17 Instagram blog post. The app already allows brands to purchase ads in the form of Stories.

Related: The 'Hot Vet' of Instagram Shares What He's Learned About Brand-Building, Human Nature and Pet Allergies With His 1 Million Followers

More than 400 million accounts watch Stories daily, and one-third of the most-viewed Stories are from businesses, Instagram also reports.

Instagram has been testing shopping in feeds for nearly two years. Back in November 2016, the company explained on its Business blog that online shopping often involves research and deliberation, rather than impulse purchases, which is what led Instagram to build out shopping posts that would provide consumers with information about products without having to leave the app until they’d made a purchase decision.

Salesforce has forecasted that the referral traffic Instagram drives to retailer websites will increase by 51 percent between the 2017 and 2018 holiday seasons, according to Adweek.

Speaking of leaving the app, Instagram is rumored to be developing a standalone shopping app, according to The Verge, but the company declined to comment on these reports to both The Verge and Entrepreneur.

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