How Instagram Is Gearing Up for the Modern Shopper

As Instagram’s user base continues to grow—800 million monthly active users according to recent figures—the ecommerce-centric social advertising offerings the platform is implementing are moving forward in tandem. Of note, In-App Payment, Shopping Tags, and an updated Explore layout are all aiming to make shopping on Instagram a more effective and efficient activity.

In turn, the gap between seeing merchandise on Instagram and buying it is narrowing. If Instagram remains a natural hub for consumers, we don’t expect to see innovation on this front slowing down.

In-App Payment Enhances Buyabiliy on Instagram

A group of select Instagram users now can utilize a payment feature where credit or debit card information is stored for purchases within the app. The initial focus will be on service-oriented business.

Source: Instagram

One brand jumping into this offering is Fandango. Today, its Instagram profile has ticket-purchasing functionality integrated for more than 30,000 theatres, along with the ability to shop for movie-specific merchandise.

Along the same lines, a handful of third-party integrations, including EventBrite, StyleSeat, Mindbody, and Resy, will begin to allow Instagram users to book appointments at spas and restaurants. This features may lend an especially useful hand if you’re positioned to take advantage of the decreasing time to buy, i.e., impulse buying, which continues to play a key role in how and where consumers make purchases. According to a study by Slickdeals.net, yearly totals from spontaneous shopping behaviors could top $5,000 for the average U.S. consumer. To no surprise, the majority of spur-of-the-moment spending goes toward food.   

Shopping Tags Give Purchasing Power to a Single Finger

To boost product discovery, Instagram launched Shopping Tags in November 2016. Continuing this trend, Instagram continues to roll out this organic feature to more businesses.

Instagram Shopping Tags

Source: SocialMediaToday

When enabled, users will see a ‘tap to view products’ tag seamlessly incorporated into the product images of product-driven merchants. When tapped, the tag provides additional details about product and price, allowing users to get pertinent information related to the product quickly.

For interested parties, Shopping Tags currently redirect users to the corresponding web page on the merchant’s site. As Shopping Tags evolve, we anticipate this to evolve as well, especially as In-App Payments take hold as a viable way to drive social commerce.

Updated Explore Layout Helps More Brands Get Discovered

The most noticeable change related to Explore’s layout is likely the personalized nature of each user’s feed.

With topic channels listed across the top of the screen in tandem with related hashtags associated to an individual’s interests, the update to Explore aligns well with Instagram’s focus on ecommerce as it gives users a seamless way to browse of branded content they may not already be following.

Additionally, these changes to the Explore section, specifically the addition of related hashtags, should play an increasing role in informing your Instagram strategy by paving the way for added visibility into hashtags people are using about different products.


There’s no denying that Instagram is an ideal environment when online sales and return on ad spend (ROAS) are your goal. In-App Payments, Shopping Tags, and an Update to Explore, all offer you additional resources and methods to test. As each feature matures, and consumers continue to see their benefits, you’ll be better equipped to tie your Instagram advertising efforts to sales.