Social Intelligence Expert: How Instagram Shopping Will Impact Influencer Marketing

Social Intelligence Expert: How Instagram Shopping Will Impact Influencer Marketing
Retail

Giordano Contestabile, CEO at Bloglovin', discusses how Instagram Shopping incites brands to consider how it will impact their content strategy.

PSFK Op-Eds
  • 23 january 2017

Last fall, Instagram announced a new feature that allows users to shop directly from their feed, which is being rolled out in phases to retail brands such as Warby Parker, Kate Spade and J.Crew. This new tool will allow brands to tag any item in their Instagram posts with a shoppable link, driving customers directly to a purchase page, rather than having to click on a link in the profile bio or having to use a third party platform’s workaround to connect feed browsing to shopping. While brands are excited to further the positive customer experience by making shopping on this social network seamless, one major question remains: how will this impact a brands relationship with influencers? As influencer marketing has become a key part of many brand’s Instagram strategy, it’s important to consider what this update means for influencers, and for the industry as a whole.

How brands will need to adjust

Since the platform was launched in 2010, brands have taken an instant liking to Instagram. As a primarily visual social network, Instagram has been particularly attractive for fashion and retail brands, which have gravitated towards the platform as a way to showcase the personality of their brand, and to engage with their customers on the network. Thanks to Instagram, brands have been able to connect with their fans on a more personal level, reaching customers where they go to seek the visual content of their choice, whether that be from a brand, celebrity or someone in their more immediate network. Though driving sales for specific products has been part of many brands’ Instagram strategy, it was never the sole purpose behind having a presence on this network.

With the availability of the new shopping feature on Instagram, brands must now consider how it will impact their content strategy. While many companies will immediately jump to include content that largely highlights products they aim to sell to consumers on the platform, brands must be cautious not to overdo it, and to maintain authenticity in their social media presence. It’s important to remember that, while convenience is key for consumers, inauthentic social media content is easily spotted, and is usually unable to hold people’s attention, often inflicting damage on the brand’s perception. In order for brands to succeed on social media, it has always been important to offer content that provides value and isn’t perceive as a disruption by users. Brands must continue to do this as they integrate the new shopping tool into their Instagram content, and the same is true for influencer marketing strategies across every platform and channel.

What this means for influencers

According to research by Activate by Bloglovin, 70% of influencers who have worked with brands have done so on Instagram. Despite this high figure, driving traffic from the platform to their online presence has long been an issue for brands who engage influencers on Instagram. In the past, many have had to go the route of using a temporary link in their profile’s bio when partnering with a brand, in order to drive followers to a site or to a product page. Alternatively, brands and influencers have been using 3rd party products such as RewardStyle’s Like.To.Know.It, which make it possible to connect Instagram feed browsing to shopping through often laborious workarounds, and require a higher degree of initiative from the user. Both of these strategies add steps during the process, and therefore raise the barrier of entry for consumers. Knowing that there’s now an option to consolidate the path to purchase, brands will most likely not only want to use this new feature on their own accounts, but also for their engagements with influencers.  

As this update is rolled out to additional Instagram users, disclosing paid partnerships, already a legal requirement and something that every responsible influencer and influencer marketing platform should always do, will become even more important. The FTC has recently cracked down on paid partnerships and, with the inevitable expansion of Instagram’s shopping tool, the focus on compliance and best practices will undoubtedly increase. Is important for influencers to keep up with new guidelines as they are released and, in any case, influencers should always be explicit in disclosing a paid brand collaboration, in order to avoid a potential violation.

Speaking to convenience for consumers

As we look forward, with mobile and web becoming responsible for a larger slice of total retail transactions, we’ll see brands increasingly focus on engaging their audience on those platforms, and influencer marketing will be central to those efforts. As consumers are targeted by campaigns and offered deals on their mobile devices, they will also expect to be afforded the opportunity to transact immediately and easily. Instagram’s new shopping feature speaks directly to this changing consumer attitude. This ease from a consumer perspective will only extend once Instagram shopping is available to influencers too.

Knowing that consumers are looking for their interactions with brands and influencers to be as authentic and seamless as possible, Instagram has made shopping an extension of an activity in which they are already taking part on a daily basis. According to recently published insights by Facebook (Instagram’s parent company), consumers are spending nearly an hour a day browsing their social media feeds and, by driving a purchasing decision within the platform, brands no longer will have to devise workarounds to drive customers to shop for their products, but will need to adjust their strategy to incorporate well-positioned and authentic shopping experiences.

Ultimately, I believe that Instagram’s new shopping tool will prove to be a powerful asset for brands, influencers and consumers. While influencers may not have the ability to test out this process just yet, it will be important for them to watch closely how companies use the new shopping capabilities and, as with many features new to the social media scene, consumers’ initial feedback will be key in evolving the product, and in developing successful strategies. After all, creating a closer, more authentic, organic relationship between brands and their customers will always remain the most valuable and important goal.

With a strong background in strategic business development, Giordano Contestabile, CEO at Bloglovin’ champions new technologies and capitalizes on opportunities to drive growth in constantly evolving consumer environments. He is regularly featured as a speaker in industry conferences such as Game Developers Conference, GDC Online, Develop, Games Convention Asia, GDC China and China Social Games Summit. With over 9 million users and 800,000 registered influencers, Bloglovin’ is the ultimate destination for fashion, beauty and lifestyle-obsessed users to discover, consume and share professionally produced content from top influencers around the world. The platform encourages users to discover and share their favorite content while connecting with the influencers they love all in one place.

 

Last fall, Instagram announced a new feature that allows users to shop directly from their feed, which is being rolled out in phases to retail brands such as Warby Parker, Kate Spade and J.Crew. This new tool will allow brands to tag any item in their Instagram posts with a shoppable link, driving customers directly to a purchase page, rather than having to click on a link in the profile bio or having to use a third party platform’s workaround to connect feed browsing to shopping. While brands are excited to further the positive customer experience by making shopping on this social network seamless, one major question remains: how will this impact a brands relationship with influencers? As influencer marketing has become a key part of many brand’s Instagram strategy, it’s important to consider what this update means for influencers, and for the industry as a whole.

+consumer experience
+Influencer Marketing
+Instagram
+Marketing
+Product Launch
+retail
+shopping
+Social Media
+Social Media

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