Instagram’s looking to up their eCommerce game with the addition of new shoppable tags in photos.

Instagram Shopping

Just as it sounds (and as shown in the above image), on pho­tos from select­ed retail­ers, users will now see a “Tap to view prod­ucts” tag in the bot­tom left of the image. Once tapped, a new set of tags will appear over­laid on the post denot­ing prod­ucts and their prices. Users can then tap to find out more infor­ma­tion, tak­ing them to a spe­cif­ic prod­uct page for each item. And if you want to make a pur­chase, you can tap through to be linked to the rel­e­vant prod­uct page on the web.

It’s a sim­ple, effec­tive way to encour­age more shop­ping behav­ior on the app, and is very sim­i­lar to how Pin­ter­est is going about boost­ing prod­uct dis­cov­ery options on their plat­form, with their visu­al search func­tion­al­i­ty — through that works based on image recog­ni­tion and visu­al match­ing, not with brands direct­ly.

Instagram Shopping gif

The scope of Insta­gram’s tool is less ambi­tious, at least at this stage, and more indi­vid­u­al­ly focused. Only select­ed part­ners (16 of them) are able to uti­lize the new tools, and they need to work with Insta­gram’s team to upload the rel­e­vant images, with Insta­gram look­ing to expand the option more wide­ly after ini­tial tests.

Anoth­er area where Insta­gram isn’t in line with Pin­ter­est is in terms of on-plat­form pur­chas­es. As not­ed, the new option links you off to the rel­e­vant prod­uct page on the web and Insta­gram says they’re not look­ing to enable in-app buy­ing yet, which Pin­ter­est is doing with their Buyable Pins. This is anoth­er area that Insta­gram may build upon in future, but at present, the plat­form is only focused on enhanc­ing the adver­tis­er expe­ri­ence — as not­ed by TechCrunch:

Insta­gram won’t take a cut of pur­chas­es, and instead plans to mon­e­tize the prod­uct by lat­er allow­ing brands to pay to show their shop­pable pho­tos to peo­ple who don’t fol­low.”

Instagram Shopping Tagg

The most sig­nif­i­cant ben­e­fit the new option could pro­vide is in avoid­ing hav­ing to write the dread­ed “link in bio” note in the post cap­tion to con­nect poten­tial cus­tomers to more infor­ma­tion about your prod­ucts. Insta­gram does­n’t cur­rent­ly allow links with­in posts, the only URL brands can uti­lize is the bio link, which has lead to many brands reg­u­lar­ly switch­ing up that link and re-direct­ing cus­tomer queries to it in an awk­ward workaround. “Link in bio” seems more and more out-dat­ed every day as the plat­form evolves fur­ther, but it’s wide­ly used across the net­work.

Instagram Search

Shop­pable tags would reduce the need for this makeshift solu­tion, imme­di­ate­ly improv­ing the user expe­ri­ence, while the non-intru­sive, ‘click for tags’ design of the func­tion seems to fit with the wider, aes­thet­ic focus of the app — i.e. you’re not going to sud­den­ly see a raft of images pop­ping up with price tags hang­ing from every prod­uct (you can only enter five tags per post either way).

Giv­en this, the shift towards more eCom­merce options makes sense for Insta­gram. Adding to that, research con­duct­ed by Insta­gram found that 60% of Insta­gram­mers learn about prod­ucts and ser­vices on the app, while 75% take actions like vis­it­ing sites, search­ing, or telling a friend after being influ­enced by a post on Insta­gram. It’s clear that the plat­form is already play­ing a role in the prod­uct dis­cov­ery process — mak­ing it eas­i­er, by reduc­ing the amount of web search­ing and off-plat­form link­ing required is good for both adver­tis­ers and users.

Prod­uct tags will be made avail­able to a group of iOS users in the US ini­tial­ly, with a wider roll­out com­ing in the near future.