- Instagram has started testing Collection ads — a format introduced last year on Facebook — which blend videos and product catalogs, enabling consumers to shop and make purchases without leaving the platform, AdAge reports.
- Fashion and beauty brands Birchbox and Revolve are the first brands to try out Instagram Collection ads. Fashion and beauty are both categories that have a strong presence on the photo- and video-sharing social network, with 200 million people following fashion-related accounts, an Instagram spokeswoman told AdAge.
- E-commerce is a competitive space for Instagram and its rival Snapchat. Both social media platforms let brands link to purchases outside the apps, and are now “slowly bringing the power to purchase inside the apps,” per the AdAge report. Snapchat last week launched its first store, which is a channel in its media section that sells Snapchat merchandise.
As marketers look for new ways to connect with consumers in meaningful ways, Instagram’s latest foray into e-commerce could bring many opportunities. What's interesting about Collection ads is the way they combine video with the ability to swipe through several items and the ability to make a purchase. In other words, they offer branding, exploration and e-commerce in a single ad unit. The social platform is already popular with fashion and beauty influencers, which younger audiences have shown a penchant for engage with over traditional advertising. Adding a new format for easily exploring a range of products and making purchases without leaving the platform could lead to real-time sales boosts and higher levels of engagement.
“Instagram is a business' visual shop on mobile, and we're seeing more people seek out businesses there,” Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook's chief operating officer, said during an earnings call last week, according to the AdAge report. “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.”
Influencer marketing on Instagram grew 198% in 2017, and the number of posts with the #ad hashtag doubled to 1.5 million, a study by influencer marketing agency Klear found. Marketers could also begin ramping up influencer marketing on Facebook, after it recently announced News Feed algorithm changes that will limit brand posts. With Instagram’s new “collection” ad feature, Facebook plans to allow marketers to easily extend their campaigns across platforms.