Instagram is leveling up its e-commerce game with the launch of shoppable ads designed to help brands commercialize the platform. While mini-catalogues exist in the form of video and picture slideshows, these “Collection” ads (a feature first debuted on Facebook) will make the path to purchase even smoother. In addition to scrolling through a full-length digital catalog, users will be able to buy products without leaving the app.
While Instagram’s algorithm shift has lowered the number of interactions, it remains the top platform for brands seeking organic engagement, as observed in L2’s social platforms report. In terms of what works best on the platform, beauty brands dominate, accounting for 23% of all posts but almost a third of interactions.
Therefore, it makes sense that online beauty retailer Birchbox was one of the first brands, along with online fashion retailer Revolve, to take the plunge into “Collection” ads. In the past, both retailers have shown pointed interest in enhancing their digital presence. Birchbox has experimented with mirroring the online shopping experience in stores while Revolve has implemented several tactics to stand out on social media, from recruiting influencers to creating shoppable Instagram Stories.
Expectations for the feature are high, with predictions of ad revenues doubling to $10.87 billion by 2019. The ads were announced around the same time social media nemesis Snapchat introduced its “Snap Store,” reflecting the eternal standoff between the two platforms. However, while Snapchat’s store will only sell Snapchat-exclusive items, Instagram’s “Collection” ads are intended for external brands.
After a rocky couple of months, Snapchat was recently able to report an upswing in daily active users, thanks in part to its enhancements to Bitmoji and app design. In contrast to this consumer-centric strategy, Instagram appears to be banking on brands to reel in revenue.