Blog : Instagram

Will Instagram Tags Save Social E-commerce?

Will Instagram Tags Save Social E-commerce?

You may have heard the latest buzz surrounding the new Instagram feature, currently being tested by a select number of retailers. Shoppable product tags have been introduced by the social media site, to help brands transform their feeds into a retail space.

While all brands are currently able to promote their products via ads, this will offer a more natural shopping experience for users. The aim is to provide Instagram shoppers with a direct route to buying things, rather than having to go through descriptions and bio links, thus making the buying process far more efficient.

How does it work?

The feature is simple; brands tag the products featured in the image much the same way users can tag their friends. If an image has been tagged with specific products, it will include a label that instructs you to “tap to view products.”

Once you click on the picture, tags will appear, which can include the name of the product and the price. Clicking on an individual tag will bring up further information on the good and include the option to “shop now,” which will take you to the retailer’s website, allowing you to buy then and there. The feature has been designed to make the consumer experience seamless, minimizing redirections, so users can immediately buy something they like.   

Currently, a group of 20 US retailers including JackThreads, Kate Spade, and J.Crew is still testing the feature. Eventually, the idea is to start rolling it out across more countries, with carousel posts and video posts also in the pipelines. The company is also said to be considering a “save button,” which would allow users to save products they are interested in buying in a virtual shopping cart.

The failure of social commerce

Instagram is not the first social media site to try bringing shopping into the user experience. It’s easy to see the logic behind the decision to pursue e-commerce, after all, social media sites have massive audiences.

However, turning social engagement into sales is no easy feat. It simply doesn’t align with consumer behavior and how people want to buy. Many social sites are now accessed primarily through mobile, which has a notoriously poor rate of ecommerce effectiveness, converting at one-third to one-quarter the rate of desktop.

Twitter tried using a “buy button” for over a year, before abandoning the project for having a negligible impact on its earnings. Pinterest launched a buyable pins option, yet it is still unknown just how well the tool is performing with users.

Even Instagram’s parent company, Facebook, has tried and failed with attempts at e-commerce products. Ventures include their online gift shop, Facebook Gifts, which was shut down after a couple of years back in 2014. Their attempt at a “buy button” also failed to catch on.

Learning from past experiences

So, how can Instagram learn from the past mistakes of others? So far, social commerce hasn’t managed to live up to its potential. Instagram hopes to change all that by making the process appear more natural. What sets them aside from some of the other platforms is that their users already use it as a tool to make purchasing decisions.

Instagram previously conducted a study, which found that 75% of users influenced by a post on the app take an action such as searching, visiting a site, or telling a friend. Furthermore, 60% say that they learn about products and services by using the platform. Instagram is highly visual and the ideal place for inspiration, discovery, and wasting time.

Many people use it for beauty, fashion, and food inspiration, so you can see how certain brands will be able to thrive in this environment. Many have already embraced the platform and managed to build a loyal number of followers who are primed to purchase. Removing the barrier imposed by the lack of links and “click the link in bio” solution, and introducing tags may be the best solution for this platform.

However, the platform is already facing pretty negative reactions to the news. Essentially, users are concerned that the feature will ruin the flow of the Instagram feed. Instagram is hoping that the approach is subtle enough so as not to turn users away, yet still compelling enough to drive sales. Think of it as an inspiring, scrollable version of a catalog. Only time will tell whether or not users will buy into this new feature.

What Dan Bilzerian can teach your brand about social media

What Dan Bilzerian can teach your brand about social media

Guns and women. That’s the recipe for success in social media. At least in the world of Dan Bilzerian.

Dan who?

Dan Bilzerian (NSFW). The ‘King of Instagram’. 12.7 million followers. Poker player, beard exponent and all round playboy.

Bilzerian is controversial. His feed is full of conspicuous displays of consumption, bikini models, guns and a cat called Smushball.

Some love him, some hate him. And I’m not going to get into the morals of his content here. Regardless of your opinion, he’s managed to parlay his approach into a social media empire, cameos in Hollywood films and a virtual lifestyle the envy of 20-something males the world over.

So what can brands possibly learn about social content from this guy? Here’s the top 10:

  1. He understands what his audience wants and he gives it to them. He’s living the dream (well, someone’s dream) and taking his audience along for the ride.
  2. He’s prolific, posting often. Fans can expect regular updates.
  3. He plays to the strengths of the channel. Instagram has rules about nudity which he pushes to the limit, plus he uses video, slo-mo and tagging to great effect.
  4. He invests in the content, often using dedicated camera crews, drones and other means to capture moments in interesting ways.
  5. He has a distinct tone of voice. Plenty of humour and a definite attitude.
  6. It’s personal. There’s no filter here. No doubt there’s curation and some careful stage management, but no filter.
  7. The content is shareable. Again, he knows what his audience wants, and they pass it on in spades.
  8. He mixes it up. It’s not all guns and bikinis (though mostly). He posts about supporting veterans, his cat – there’s just enough humanity in there to take the edge off the debauchery. Otherwise it would get old pretty quickly.
  9. He syndicates. The people tagged in his posts begin to develop communities of their own off the back of its popularity. This begins to create an infinite loop, with him at the centre.
  10. It all works to build the brand. Everything is done to cultivate a mystique about this ridiculous lifestyle. Nothing goes up that detracts from this.

Sure, he’s an odd case study for social media, and I’m definitely not saying your brand should go out and copy his content. But it’s important to note that the approach, the principles, are universal, and fundamental to creating successful social media content, no matter what your business.

Dan Bilzerian is simply proof that putting them into practice works.