It’s hard to believe that Instagram has been in the social game for less than a decade. Now with over 1 billion active monthly users, the network is catching up with its longer-established counterparts – and there’s no sign of it slowing down!
Instagram: A marketplace in its own rightAs consumers seek more and more convenience in their shopping habits, we have seen a dramatic rise in social search. Instagram is no longer just a site to generate brand awareness. It is a marketplace in its own right, directly driving sales for retailers. Indeed, almost a third of consumers are now shopping through social channels. To showcase this sales potential, Facebook commissioned new research on Instagram, asking 21,000 users in thirteen countries how they use the platform. The study, released this month, found that 54 percent of people surveyed made a purchase either in the moment or after seeing a product or service on Instagram. This is particularly true for fashion brands: a recent report by the Office of National Statistics showed that more consumers than ever are shopping online in this category.
Social media is important in product discoveryEven if a retailer’s social media presence is not directly driving sales, it is still incredibly important for building brand perception and presence. 83 percent of those surveyed said they discover new products or services on the Instagram. In addition, 81 percent said they actively research them there. By showcasing products on Instagram, whether this be the brand’s own content or content produced by their customers, retailers are giving potential purchasers a real-life view of what the products look like. This could be pivotal in helping the customer make a decision to buy. Indeed, 46% of those surveyed said they purchased a product or service after seeing it on Instagram. With recent updates now allowing brands to ‘tag’ products in their content, the path to purchase from the platform is smoother than ever for customers. Added to this the ‘swipe up’ option in Instagram stories and it is likely that Instagram’s role in the sales funnel will continue to grow in importance.
“I really like the price tag feature because I always want to know more information before making my purchases.” – Sunyoung, 37, South Korea (Facebook study)