Instagram Checkout provides invaluable product marketing opportunities

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Steve Gershik, CMO, inRiverThis is a guest post by Steve Gershik, CMO, inRiver discusses how to maximise the product marketing opportunities that come with the new Instagram Checkout.

Last week Instagram added a new Instagram Checkout feature, allowing users to purchase products without leaving the app. Users will be able to select products directly from posts, then ‘checkout’ choosing their size and selecting the product colour. For some time, Instagram has promoted itself as a discovery platform but it’s now adding functionality that will provide users with an end to end ecommerce platform.

Our recent ‘Turning Browsers into Buyers’ research showed the first port of call for shoppers when looking for a product is Amazon, with 45% of consumers going there first. However, Instagram could rival marketplaces by providing a solution for shoppers in need of product inspiration, with the added benefit of them being able to make a purchase seamlessly.

As a result, product marketers need to consider their strategy for Instagram. There are opportunities for them to use the Instagram Checkout feature to drive sales through their content and prove the impact of their campaigns.

Showcasing context to drive purchases

A differentiator for Instagram has always been its curated imagery and video. Instagram’s focus on rich content allows brands to present their products in context. Our research also showed one third (33%) of people find videos that show products in different contexts are most helpful in their buying decision. Instagram is all about showcasing items as part of an aspirational lifestyle aligned with the product or brand. Product marketers should continue to focus on this and depict experiences in their posts. Context-driven content means shoppers can imagine where the product would fit in their house or what it will look like when they wear it for example, and these types of videos and images inspire action.

Eventually – and probably sooner than marketers are ready for – we will have the ability to take this to the next level through adaptive merchandising, which will allow brands to visually show, through ads, how their products will fit into a particular consumer’s lifestyle.

Optimising product content

The Instagram Checkout feature will make it easier for brands to measure the effectiveness of their Instagram product content and see what products are converting best. They will be able to see patterns in the type of information, images and videos which perform successfully enabling them to build a strategy that drives sales.

With the rise of artificial intelligence, the technology will soon exist for a smartphone to track its user’s eye movements, dwell time and pupil dilation – all things that indicate interest. This science will allow marketers to deliver the right information at the right time, therefore solidifying marketing platforms like Instagram as one stop shops for product information.

Building brands on Instagram

With the increase of brands that have used social media promotion almost exclusively to gain traction, the use of Instagram as an online marketplace has been a long time coming. For any challenger or emerging businesses trying to make an impact in a new market or among a different audience, they can use Instagram’s influence and ad targeting to do so. Once the product content is in the right hands, this feature will truly enable Instagram to drive business results for emerging brands, with the ability for shoppers not just to discover but buy.

Our findings also show almost one fifth (18%) of respondents want to see products demonstrated by influencers. Often the reason that consumers don’t buy products is when they are not confident it will live up to their expectations. Influencers enhance their level of trust in products and give shoppers the confidence to buy.

Destination tech platforms

Interestingly, Google also enhanced its transactional capabilities recently to add shopping to Image search, indicating that the tech platforms are increasingly catching onto the value of creating seamless shopping experiences to support their retail partners.

These platforms are already destinations for shoppers to find product information so adding the ability for consumers to buy quickly and easily will make them even more appealing to users. To make the most of the opportunities these new features provide, it is crucial product marketers create content that best performs on these platforms to enhance shoppers’ experiences and drive purchases.


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