With over one billion users around the world, more than half of them aged 18-29, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that marketers have predominantly turned to Instagram to promote their brands and attract new customers. The powers that be have realized the immense marketing potential of the popular platform, which is why in 2017 they decided to introduce a brand new service, Shopping on Instagram.
Created as an alternative to paid advertising, this feature allows marketers to tag products in their posts and take users directly to the product page on their website to make a purchase. Originally available only in the United States, the service has since launched in more than 40 other markets across the Americas, Europe, and Asia, as well as in South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand.
Understanding Shopping on Instagram
Primarily used by businesses selling jewelry, apparel, and beauty products, Shopping on Instagram allows you to tag up to five products displayed in your organic posts and your Instagram stories. When users view your content, they will see a small shopping bag icon next to each of your tagged products. If they tap on the icon, a description of the product and its price will appear on the bottom of the screen.
Above the description, users will see a button labeled “View on Website”. Tapping on this button will take them directly to the product page on your mobile-ready website, where they can read more about the product, add it to their shopping cart, and complete the checkout process.
After you have tagged your ninth product image, a “Shop” feed will appear on your page with all the images you have tagged so far. This feed will act as an online storefront and allow users to browse your products from one page rather than having to search for individual posts on your feed.
With Shopping on Instagram, your followers and visitors of your page can purchase any product they like in just a few taps on the screen. This is certainly more convenient than having to search for the product manually in your store and could result in a higher conversion rate. Even better, this feature allows you to showcase your products to potential customers without having to invest thousands of dollars in Instagram advertising.
Using Shoppable Tags in Your Posts and Stories
While adding shoppable tags to Instagram posts and stories isn’t that difficult, it requires some complex groundwork. To help you start selling your products directly to your Instagram followers, here is a step-by-step guide to adding product tags to your posts and stories.
Step 1 – Convert to a Business Account
Shopping on Instagram is only available to owners of business accounts. If you haven’t yet switched to a business account, you will have to do it now. Not only will you be able to use Shopping on Instagram, but you’ll also get access to a number of useful features. With Instagram for Business, you will get access to detailed analytics, as well as the ability to share links on your profile.
To switch to a business account, you need to go to Options, then tap on Business Settings, and select Switch to Business Profile. Before you do this, you need to link your Instagram account to your Facebook Business page. Instagram is owned by Facebook, so the two platforms share many features. If you don’t have a Facebook page, you will need to set it up before moving on to the next step.
Step 2 – Make Sure You Qualify for Shopping on Instagram
After you have converted to an Instagram for Business account, there are still a few requirements you need to meet before you start using Shopping on Instagram. For one, you need to be in one of the 40 countries where the service is available. In addition, you will need to have the latest version of the Instagram app because older versions might not support the shopping feature.
Most importantly, you need to make sure that the products you are selling are in line with Instagram’s (and Facebook’s) commerce policies. Under these policies, you can’t sell digital subscriptions, digital media, or electronic devices. You also can’t sell any drugs (prescription or recreational), weapons, tobacco products, and alcohol. Some supplements and healthcare products are also out of bounds, as are admission tickets. Finally, you can’t sell services on Instagram; only physical products are allowed.
Step 3 – Set Up a Facebook Product Catalog
Another reason why you need a Facebook Business page is to create a product catalog that you will link to your Instagram for Business account. To do this, go to Settings and click on Edit Page in the sidebar on the left. From there, click on Templates, then choose Shopping Template, and click on Apply Template.
After you’ve done this, a new tab labeled “Shop” will appear on your Facebook page. When you open the tab, a pop-up window will appear asking you to set up a payment method, choose your preferred currency, and agree to Terms and Conditions. Once you do that, you will be able to add individual products by clicking on the Add Products button and entering all relevant info manually.
Step 4 – Link the Catalog to Your Instagram Account
Within a few hours to a few days of creating your Facebook product catalog, you will receive a notification from Instagram informing you that you can start tagging products in your posts. Before you do that, you will need to connect the catalog to your Instagram account.
To do this, open the Instagram app and go to Settings, then tap on Business Settings, select Shopping, and tap Continue. This will open the Products tab, where you’ll see a list of all your catalogs. Find the one you’ve just created and check the box next to it. And that’s it – you are ready to start tagging products!
Step 5 – Add Product Tags to Your Posts
While preparing your photo or video for posting, tap on Tag Products below the caption text box. Tap on the area of the photo where the product is displayed and then select the product from your catalog. Repeat this for every other product displayed in the photo. Once you’ve tagged all the products, tap on Done to go back to the edit tab and then tap on Share to publish your post.
The post will now appear on your feed. Users can tap on each product to see its name, price, and detailed description. A tap on the blue call-to-action button will take them to the product page on your website, where they can complete the purchase.
The process is exactly the same for Instagram Stories. When users tap on a product, they will see its photo, price, and description in a new tab, as well as a link to your website where they can buy it.
Tagging products in your Instagram posts is not that different from tagging people. In fact, both options are displayed on the same page, right below the text box where you enter your caption before posting. However, Instagram doesn’t allow you to do both. If you want to tag products in your post, you won’t be able to tag other users in the same post.
If you’re tagging products in a story, the basic linking rules also apply. This means that you need to own a verified profile and/or have more than 10,000 followers to tag products in your Instagram stories. If you don’t meet these requirements, you will still be able to use product tags in your Instagram posts.