L2 believes Instagram’s non-commercial environment is an opportunity for brands to influence consumers by telling visual stories about their products. Brands can also nudge shoppers and browsers towards purchase by placing Instagram photos on the consumers their purchase path (for example, on the product pages). But that hasn’t stopped select brands from finding hacks around the platform’s (pseudo) allegiance to a link-free environment: 99% of brands in the study place links on their Instagram posts. Here is the most common ways brands attempt to make Instagram commercial:

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Seventy-three brands in the study place links to their brand site, and 9% link to other social media accounts. Like2Buy – a link that directs consumers to the replica of the Instagram account, only shoppable – has won over 13% of brands in the study.

While these links technically work, the user experience is complicated and clunky – the antithesis of what Instagram is supposed to be. L2’s take is that brands are missing the larger opportunity (making large communities browse, want and seek their products) by focusing on direct conversions.

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