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The ad format digitizes brands’ print product catalogs with auto-play video and links to their e-commerce sites.

Instagram is looking towards becoming a digital showroom for retailers. The Facebook-owned photo-and-video app has started to test a version of Facebook’s shoppable Collection ads within its main feed.

Instagram Users can now tap on the products to visit the brand’s site and buy them directly. The ad format seeks to digitize traditional product catalogs by enabling a brand to highlight its products with an eye-catching video above a swipeable carousel that showcases specific products.

For now, Instagram is only trying out the format with a limited number of advertisers, but the company plans to roll this functionality to more advertisers in a few months, according to an Instagram spokesperson. Instagram has made some changes to Facebook’s original version of the Collection format, since it was introduced in March 2017.

The product carousel appearing below the ad’s main element can only contain three product photos on Instagram, as opposed to four photos on Facebook.

Currently on Facebook, when tapping on an individual product it opens a product catalog that prioritizes that specific product, however on Instagram, tapping on any of the product photos will open the same catalog.  From that catalog, people will then be able to click on a product to see it on the brand’s site.

It’s quite clear that E-commerce is becoming a big opportunity on Instagram, and a competitive category in its rivalry with Snapchat. Both platforms offer features to brands that link to purchases outside the apps, and both are slowly bringing the power to buy the apps themselves.

Instagram is becoming an important driver for the future of Facebook’s business. Last week, Facebook’s earnings report showed that the number of people on the social network had declined in North America for the first time and that people were even spending less time on the platform. Executives like Sheryl Sandberg focused on the potential for Instagram.

Facebook has more than 5 million advertisers, while Instagram has around than 2 million. There are 70 million businesses on Facebook and 25 million on Instagram.

Facebook wants to give more advertisers the ability to easily extend campaigns from one platform to the next, and drive more of the advertisers to all its properties.

“Instagram is a business’s visual shop on mobile, and we’re seeing more people seek out businesses there,” said Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, during the earnings call with analysts. “About two-thirds of the visits to Instagram business profiles are from people who don’t yet follow them. This is how many businesses are finding new customers.”

Here at Oh Pro Social, we are busy working on new and custom strategies on both Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat for our clients based on their industry and audience. If your business has a print product catalog we can help you attract customers on social media. We work to stay on top of the latest changes on all social platforms and plan to welcome the volatile landscape of digital marketing. Contact us today so we can help your business meets its goals.

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