Shopping on social media is nothing new, with ads so personalized for products we didn’t even know we needed(ish), it’s downright spooky. And as the lines between social commerce and e-commerce become more and more blurred, brands are looking for ways to capitalize on those “shop as you scroll” moments, with the billion-dollar question being: How do you keep people spending even when they’re not shopping?
Instagram has recently rolled out two new features that further allow consumers to shop directly from the platform and curate a seamless commerce experience. The first is the introduction of affiliate links directly into the Story, replacing the classic “swipe up to shop” CTA we all know and love. With placement directly in the Story for people to shop, they can access products more easily and purchase without ever having to leave the Stories feature, let alone the app. Furthermore, including multiple affiliate links in Stories greatly benefits content creators and increases the opportunities for revenue.
It’s all about creative execution from both a visual and copy standpoint. Due to the removal of “swipe up” and the implementation of affiliate link stickers, creative placement is key. It’s vital to take into consideration the overall look and feel of your Story now and build out the optimal placement within the frame for your affiliate link that will catch the consumer's eye and drive click-through rates.
The second feature new to the platform is the introduction of shoppable captions within in-feed posts. Brands now have the ability to essentially hyperlink their caption copy out to specific items within their Instagram shop, targeting consumers in-feed as they scroll rather than on the retail page of the platform. Shoppers need only to tap the link, and they are directed to the item page on Instagram for a seamless checkout, streamlining the entire shopping experience even more within the platform. Now, consumers don’t even need to visit the shopping section of the app, they can simply scroll their feed and keep an eye out for the blue links in post copy, fully leaning into the concept of “ambient shopping,” where you’ve gone from scrolling through photos of that girl from college’s wedding in Mexico to buying a pair of sandals and a tote bag through Instagram.
It’s vital to craft a story that seamlessly integrates the products into the caption without feeling like a straight product list. This can be especially tricky when featuring multiple products in a post, when in the past all brands had to do was tag the item in the image. Understanding your audience behaviors and maintaining your brand’s tone of voice will be the make-or-break for the copy not to feel like an advertisement.
Links & Livestreams
Shopify has recently partnered with TikTok to let people shop directly from the app, allowing brands to reach their audience in an entirely new way. Now, TikTok users will be able to click on tagged products and be automatically redirected to the brand’s digital storefront within Shopify to complete the transaction. The hashtag #tiktokmademebuyit has 4.6 billion views (source), proving that brands are working to capitalize on the community aspect of TikTok to drive revenue and showcase products people feel the need to own in order to participate in the “join in” culture that is at the very heart of the platform. Furthermore, the brand has begun rolling out live-streamed shopping events, almost as a modern-day QVC where content creators and brands can directly connect with their followers in real time to highlight products.
As a brand or content creator, it is all about finding ways to connect with your audience. TikTok is known for community building as opposed to content selling. It will be essential for marketers to develop a community aspect to their shopping experience that lacks the traditional call to action and overly pushy ad-copy.
It’s vital to create a shopping experience that is based on entertainment, discovery, and connection as we find ourselves in this new era of content and commerce where the ads are more personalized, the creators are brands in and of themselves, and engagement is the must-have item of the season. The art of mastering how to sell without selling is every marketer’s newest challenge.