What Has Happened?

Recently, Instagram has taken a huge step into the field of eCommerce marketing which means the platform could soon become the biggest social media platform in the world. This step is called “Instagram checkout” and it is quite simply, brilliant.

In late 2018, Instagram released shopping tags. This allowed a business to tag their products into their Instagram posts. Users could then click on the tags and be sent to the business’ website page where they could buy the product. However, now these have been heavily updated, the shopping tags are part of a much larger concept called “Instagram checkout”. This is where users can click on the products shown in the posts and purchase them directly from the Instagram app. After, they just return to their Instagram news feed and are given updates on their delivery in the new few days via the app.

Instagram’s tweet announcing “Instagram checkout”.

Haven’t I Seen This Before?

For all of those thinking that they have seen eCommerce on social media for years, you are right. A lot of competitors have used some sort of eCommerce platform in the past few years, especially Facebook. Facebook created the very popular “Facebook Marketplace” way back in 2017. Since then it has rivalled with the biggest eCommerce companies such as Amazon, Ebay and Etsy. The reason Facebook Marketplace has done so well since launching is due to the 1.5 billion reach it has.

The reach is so big that the marketplace is split into two sections, ‘Local Marketplace’ and ‘All Marketplace’. ‘Local Marketplace’ is self-explanatory, you buy and sell using cash, within your local area and then go collect or drop off the items and it works very well. Every single location has at least 5 buy and sell groups with at least 100 products being put up for sale every day.

‘All Marketplace’ is also self-explanatory, you search all of the products being put up for sale on the marketplace, and you can search for specific items, prices and locations. This doesn’t work as well as it could. If you are buying an item which you can not collect, then you will have to get it delivered and pay through your bank. Facebook do not provide users with a specific way to get an item delivered or pay without cash. The only way to do it is through a private message where PayPal can be used, but this isn’t very secure and could be done a lot better.

Making Valuable Improvements 

These changes seem to have been done with Facebook’s sister company Instagram. Once you click on the product you want to buy through a post you can choose to checkout with Instagram. This allows you to pay with card and PayPal. As soon as you have added payment once, you can also remember it and not have to type it again for future transactions. It is a simple yet effective tool and could be a game changer!

If Facebook is going to use a developed idea of Facebook Marketplace for “Instagram checkout” then Instagram is going to become huge. It could even take over Facebook itself as the lead social media platform. The reason for this is that Facebook Marketplace is already a proven success. It has many success stories where small business has transformed and boosted its sales massively.

Now, if Instagram can follow in the same steps as Facebook then we will soon be seeing the biggest upcoming eCommerce platform since eBay. The question is will Instagram take over Facebook Marketplace or will it flop?

What Are Other Competitors Doing?

The other two Social Media giants, Twitter and Snapchat, have also used eCommerce on their platforms in the past. It is fair to say Twitter’s success has been non-existent. One of the first social media platforms to try eCommerce was Twitter when they incorporated the “Buy” button into tweets way back in 2014. The idea behind the “Buy” button was that a business could tweet pictures of their products and link to the button to their site. If a user clicked the buy button, then they were taken to the business website. It seemed like it would be pretty effective. However, when the head of commerce left Twitter in 2016, the buy button was quickly taken just 8 months after. Twitter then sent out emails confirming that:

“The Twitter team is pivoting way from their ecommerce focus”.

Since then there has been no concept for any sort of eCommerce for the platform and has left Facebook to dominate. Is Twitter going to release something in eCommerce or are they a finished product themselves?

Snapchat and eCommerce 

On the other hand, Snapchat has been growing its eCommerce since launch. Thanks to a few big brand deals, it has put it self on the map. Snapchat launched ‘Collection Ads’ back in November. This is where advertisers can showcase their products on the Snapchat Discovery section. If users want to find out more, they click the ad it takes them to the businesses website.

Adidas and Amazon then had a short-term partnership with Snapchat, leading to 30 other partnerships for Snapchat! The company said they are looking to increase their eCommerce this year and if they make the right deals, they could overtake Instagram.

Will Snapchat become the king of eCommerce?

What Does This Mean For Marketing?

This “checkout” concept came out today for the whole of the US as a trial for some advertisers and it is going to be massive for marketing. Instagram is great for getting your name out there and increasing your profiles following, visibility, and now marketing. Small businesses will be able to post their products on Instagram with a visual aid of what their product is. Users can then see these through hashtags or their feed and buy the product with ease.

It is also great for the advertisement side of marketing. Think about it – have you ever seen a blogger or celebrity wearing a really nice jacket, but you can’t find it anywhere? We know you have! Well, now it’s simple. All you have to do is tag the product and the jacket you were spending hours trying to find can now be bought within a few clicks. This is great for advertising because businesses can get people to wear their products and tag it, this then gets the products visibility up and sales will increase. One thing is for sure, Instagram revenue is about to become massive. The platform will charge companies for every sale made on their app. If this concept is going to be as big as we think it will be, then Instagram will become the number one social media platform.

Will Instagram make the most money in 2019?

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