It doesn’t matter if you’re a fashion blogger trying to monetise your social uploads, or an entrepreneur at the helm of your own independent business, trying to win over new customers – nothing is more frustrating than trying to direct your followers to a particular URL, only to realise you can’t add clickable links to your captions, consequently having to make to do with pointing your audience to the link in your bio.
However, a fresh set of tweaks to the ‘gram may now see the Facebook-owned platform gaining even more respect from brands and bloggers alike. Yep, it’s true: Instagram’s becoming shoppable.
At the moment, the feature is being rolled out in the US, with 20 esteemed brands trialling the feature – including Kate Spade, Levi’s and Michael Kors – which sees the inclusion of a new ‘Tap to View’ icon at the bottom-left of Instagram uploads. When a user taps on this, tags will pop up – so far, so similar to Instagram’s standard username tagging feature, but Tap to View will reveal prices, which can be clicked on twice if users want to purchase any of the tagged item(s) online.
Instagram explained the logic behind the changes in a blog post, noting that “more than 84% of smartphone users in the US browse, research or compare products via a web browser or mobile app,” so it certainly makes sense, from a business perspective, to intertwine the worlds of social networking and retail.
On the other hand, there are downsides. Anyone who follows fashion bloggers and ‘influencers’ will be familiar with links generated through affiliate programmes like LiketoKnow.it – these have long been used by bloggers as a way to monetise their social media uploads. Instagram opening its doors to in-app shoppability, then, will likely have a huge effect on affiliate schemes like LiketoKnow and ShopStyle.
And then there’s the issue of advertising disclosure – or the potential lack of it. We’re all aware of how much money influencers can make from brands just for uploading pictures of their products to Instagram (spoiler: it’s a lot of money). The issue is that it’s actually illegal to not mark any paid-for post with an appropriate tag – #spon, #ad or #sponsored are all FTC-approved – but many brands and bloggers don’t want to play by these rules, and we see hordes of illegal, undisclosed adverts every day as a result. A shoppable Instagram could make this problem even worse, as Jay McGregor argues over at Forbes: “Instagram’s new Shopping feature will only exacerbate the problem. If it’s made available to all users, there will be a new incentive to advertise products that bloggers can directly make money from,” he says.
What do you think of Instagram becoming shoppable – do you love or loathe the idea? Let us know in the comments section.