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Instagram Starts Displaying Shoppable Tags On Images

Instagram Starts Displaying Shoppable Tags On Images

Online mobile photo and video sharing platform Instagram has recently decided to begin displaying shoppable tags on images from 20 different retailers, including JackThreads and Kate Spade, to users of iOS powered smartphone and tablets based in the United States. What these retailers do is tag items in their photos, which are hidden behind a button marked Tap to view products. When users pick a product, an in-app details page will be displayed, offering information regarding the item’s price, description, extra images, and of course, a Shop Now button for those who want to buy the product right there and then.


Some may see these shoppable tags as sort of a Facebook Instant Articles tag, but for items that users can purchase online. Because Instagram is allowing product pages to load inside its environment, the browsing is made much faster, as compared to having to launch a web browser mobile app. And if the user does not end up making a purchase, he can just go back to the normal feed.


As revealed by James Quarles, the vice president of monetization at Instagram, the social media giant does not have any plans of taking a cut from every item bought. What it is planning to do instead is to monetize the item by later letting brands pay Instagram to be able to display their shoppable images to users, including those who do not follow the brands’ Instagram accounts. To date, Instagram already has amassed half a million advertisers, and is finally registering solid revenues four years after it was acquired by Facebook for almost a billion dollars.


As for the ability to buy items entirely inside Instagram, this is a concept that the company is still not exploring for now, unlike Facebook who is doing the same by way of chatbots. It may be wise for Instagram to reconsider -- another photo-centric social media platform, Pinterest, is already testing Buyable Pins that come with in-line checkout flow, and if all goes well, Instagram may find itself trying to play catch up to Pinterest. Both Pinterest and Instagram have the potential of becoming very effective venues for instant product discovery, especially among users not always thinking of buying something when surfing the Internet, but do not mind making a purchase when the opportunity presents itself. And with more and more people heavily engaged in social media feeds, Instagram could become a powerful tool for sellers to advertise their products.