Readable, clickable, shoppable

Instagram recently introduced shoppable posts, or posts with e-commerce links allowing users to buy featured items directly within the app. Although not the first social platform to introduce shoppable content, Instagram is set to make a huge impact with over 1 billion users.

Online shopping has been around almost as long as the internet but has only recently begun integrating into content. Shoppable posts on social media are a new development that evolved from the earliest attempts at shoppable content: advertorials and sponsored content. Although directly promoting a brand or product, they didn’t always shorten the buying process, especially if they were print.

Then came listicles, gift guides, and shoppable videos. Instead of being rooted in social media, this content lives on webpages but does include links that take users directly to the buying page, or sometimes even allows them to add items to a cart while continuing to read. Shoppable content tends to do well with consumers because it hits multiple points on the content checklist. The informational value is high, it provides interaction opportunities, the buying journey is shorter, posts are trustworthy because they come directly from the seller, and potential buyers get detailed product descriptions.

Shoppable content tends to do well with consumers because it hits multiple points on the content checklist.

Instagram now enables shoppable posts and ads, hopping on the bandwagon with some other platforms that are already using shoppable content. YouTube, for example, allows brands to place embedded links within videos. Pinterest includes “buyable pins” in search results, which trigger the buying process when clicked. Instagram, similar to YouTube, is in a unique position to provide alluring visual aids that encourage consumers to buy.

Shoppable posts facilitate the buying “reaction”

In chemistry, there is a concept called “activation energy.” It’s the energy needed for any chemical reaction to happen. Enzymes sometimes work by lowering the activation energy, thereby allowing the reaction to occur more easily.

The consumer journey is similar to a chemical reaction in a lot of ways. There are certain obstacles that stand in the way of a consumer buying a product. Effort, time, level of interest—these are all potential barriers. A good advertisement lowers a barrier by increasing interest. Likewise, shoppable posts lower barriers by decreasing the time and effort needed to buy. They allow the reaction (purchase) to happen more easily. For B2C businesses with products or services to sell, shoppable posts should definitely be integrated into the marketing plan.

They need to include many different elements to be successful. They should have a buy link and product description at the very least but shouldn’t lose sight of what makes a successful post. Posts should still feel appropriate for the platform and should feel equally valuable to the users who are interested in the content rather than the buy. It’s a tough balance to strike and if you’re not quite sure how to get there, email or call (914) 607-7888. We’ve done every kind of social post there is.

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