eCommerce

Instagram Tests Shoppable Ads

Instagram, the Facebook-owned photo and video sharing social media platform, is testing advertisements that meld videos and product catalogs on its platform.

According to a report in Ad Age, the new ads will enable consumers to complete purchases without leaving the platform. Dubbed “collection” by Instagram, the ads were first tried on its parent website, Facebook.

“They bring together video and direct response in a compelling way that leads to better results across the board,” says Phillip Huynh, paid social director at 360i, in an interview with Ad Age. “I would anticipate the same success on Instagram, just like every time something is ported over from Facebook.”

The report noted that eCommerce is a huge opportunity for Instagram, as well as a way to get a competitive advantage over rival Snapchat. The apps currently enable customers to make purchases via brand links outside of their apps, but both are trying to offer the opportunity to buy without ever leaving the app. In late January, Snapchat launched its first store, which is a channel that sells Snapchat merchandise – a move that could lead to brands selling within the apps.

Birchbox and Revolve are the first brands to test collection ads on Instagram. An Instagram spokeswoman told Ad Age that there are more than 200 million people on its platform that follow fashion-related accounts.

“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 last week’s earnings call with analysts about the growing importance of Instagram to the Facebook business. “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.”

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