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Breaking: Shoppable Posts For Instagram Influencers, Ecommerce Experts Weigh In With Industry Predictions

By Ryan Markman, COO, Metric Digital

Instagram recently announced that checkout is being expanded to influencers to allow users to purchase products directly from influencer posts.

We had a hunch this was going to happen, as their beta program foreshadowed this change several months ago. (Read our original post for background on the events leading up to this!)

Overall, we’re excited to see how this update plays out. For now, here are our initial predictions, along with fascinating commentary from a few of our ecommerce colleagues:

  1. We’re curious to see how this could impact affiliate marketing payout structures, but we anticipate affiliates will likely want a piece of every transaction that happens through Instagram checkout.
  2. Several questions to consider: How involved does Facebook get in payment processing and point of sale tech? What powers Instagram’s payment processing? What is the fee, and who takes on those economics? Does this now condition people to paying via one Facebook product that can be rolled out across other products like Whatsapp and Messenger?
  3. If this purchasing functionality works, it likely follows the tried and true Facebook model, which is to first give away engagement for free by featuring organic shoppable posts heavily in the feed, and then change the algorithm so the reach of free posts plummets and make people pay for it with ads.

In addition to these initial predictions, we’ve also tapped into our digital marketing/ecommerce community for additional insights.

Humayun Rashid , Founding Partner at DBNY, posted several questions to consider:

Would Instagram use Stripe (or something similar) to handle payments? Why would they give away percentage points for transactions when you can build your own gateway? Instagram does have the technical capabilities to build and scale that. They could end up making money on both ends, processing transactions (for your convenience) and charge premium rates for ecommerce type ads. Perhaps this suggests a partnership between Instagram and Shopify?

Well Humayun, ask and you shall receive. It looks like Facebook is launching a crypto-based currency to power payments internally.

Taylor Sicard, our BV Growth colleague whom we’ve quote on our blog before, added this:

I’m mostly worried about the fairness and saturation of this. Will it be the same rules as the link in post, which is ten thousand followers? I do not want every single image I see on Instagram to be an ad. Also the frequency of boosted posts/ads using this could get very overwhelming very quickly. Shopify may say it’s not a threat and just a channel partner, but that may also just be their default response to anything they don’t have a solution for yet.

It’s still early, and we’re curious to see how these latest Instagram updates play out.

Stay tuned for more perspective in the coming months!

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Ryan Markman Chief Operating Officer, Metric Digital The Metric Digital Blog A Blog on All Things Digital Marketing