Instagram is going to crack social
shopping in 2021. Here’s why.

by Jolyon Varley
Instagram Social Media

During the early 2010s, marketers and social media managers were excited about a new thing called F-commerce. This was a means of selling products through brand pages on Facebook. The social network was growing exponentially and soon to recruit its billionth user. Many assumed that access to such a huge swathe of the global population in a single place would mean big sales – why not fish where the fish are? To the surprise of many, selling through Facebook didn’t work. People who had logged in weren’t there to shop. Plus, some were dubious about parting with cash through Facebook’s payment gateways.

Content commerce conundrum

Ten years have passed and now there is evidence to show that we are closer to unravelling the content and commerce conundrum – that is, getting the fish to bite. Leading the way is Instagram. The app has since its inception served as an inspirational look-book for fashion, food, hotels, restaurants, cars and any nameable product or service in the lifestyle industries. Developers this year appear to be ramping up the app’s selling capabilities with little shopping bag icons featuring more persistently around the interface. More recently Instagram added a retail capability to its Reels product, meaning that brands and creators can tag a post with a product, allowing viewers to tap through to buy. Users can now shop through every bit of the app – Feed, Reels, Stories, IGTV and Live.

Walled gardens and growth

Instagram will use the next twelve months to leverage its shopping mechanic further and snare sales from users at the moment of inspiration. A particularly buoyant forecast from Deutsche Bank reckons that the play for shopping will earn Instagram $10bn in revenue in 2021. Smart brands will do well to start working with the app to create shoppable ad content that allows them to get to know audiences better – selling through Instagram could enable companies to learn which ads converted the most. A better understanding of how content contributes to sales will be an appealing lure for brand managers, so long as Facebook is willing to share this data with partners – the tech giant has form for withholding it in a ‘walled garden’ strategy.

Instagram is poised to succeed where Facebook failed ten years ago with F-commerce. One billion people look at the app each month – that’s about the size of the entire population of the Americas – getting them all to shop will be a considerable achievement.

OK COOL’s team of IG commerce fanatics are ready to ramp up your Instagram strategy. Email, call or connect with us on Instagram

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