Brands make plans for new Instagram tagging feature
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Instagram is officially doubling-down on its product tagging feature, recently announcing it will be rolling out the functionality to all users in the United States, no longer reserving it for just brands.
Instagram has already well documented how an increased cadence of tagging increases a brand’s on-site conversion rate: Tag a product at least five times across a month’s time and almost double your purchases, per Instagram.
But that only accounts for branding tagging their own products. What does it mean that now every Instagram user and creator in the United States will be able to tag a product? And how are brands preparing for this?
What’s more, these findings only account for brands tagging products in their own Instagram posts. Imagine what could happen if your brand, creators, and the lay Instagram user were also tagging your products in their posts.
The full roll-out is projected to be complete by the end of the summer, and your brand’s biggest fans can start giving their favorite products of yours a shoutout.
Let’s take a closer look at how brands plan to take advantage of this new tagging feature.
1. Brands will invest more in product discovery initiatives with their biggest fans
While brands have been tagging products on their Instagram posts since 2016, this new update makes it so all US users can join in the fun.
This is especially advantageous, considering how big of a role social media plays in product discovery. Instagram reports 70% of Shopping Enthusiasts use Instagram for product discovery. And, half of shoppers come to Instagram weekly to make purchases.
The math is easy: The more people who tag a brand’s product across Instagram, the more brand awareness and potential purchases.
In the upcoming months, expect to see more brands setting up Instagram Shopping accounts, and sharing their products with their most loyal customers.
“The new Instagram tagging feature will be a fantastic way for all of our fans and customers to become mini-influencers in their own right. If they love our products and want to tell friends or family about it, now they can. As a brand, we can reward our customers and encourage product tagging by creating competitions, ambassador programs, and taking advantage of the affiliate sales program that’s also in the offing! Exciting times ahead for Instagram,” said Jo Barnes of Your Lifestyle Your Business.
"The new Instagram tagging feature will be a fantastic way for all of our fans and customers to become mini-influencers in their own right."
- Jo Barnes of Your Lifestyle Your Business
Not only will brands incentivize customers to tag products in their Instagram posts in fun and unique ways, but many brands plan to partner more with micro-influencers (users with less than 10K followers) and creators with niche followings in return for a product tag.
Digital marketing expert, Shana Bull, explains how she envisions this working. “I would love to see more collaborations that involve creative ways to show off products. Unboxing videos & product hauls are popular pieces of content from influencers because they provide value to customers looking for more info; they also create excitement, and customers can get a close-up look at everything that is included in the purchase,” said Bull.
Collaborating with micro-influencers is a particularly smart idea in light of this new feature, considering 92% of customers trust micro-influencers more than traditional ads or even celebrity endorsements. And, more than 82% of consumers are likely to buy something based on a micro-influencer recommendation.
2. Brands will incentivize creators with larger audiences to create shoppable content
While micro-influencer recommendations build trust and bring in sales, there’s no denying that creators with larger audiences get more eyeballs.
Before this rollout, creators were still partnering with brands to create branded content, but it looked quite different than it does now.
Take digital creator Tenicka (@tenickab), for example. Tenicka has an amazing eye for fashion and it shows in her Instagram content. As such, brands often recruit her as an ambassador.
If you browse Tenicka’s older posts, you’ll notice she talks about her looks extensively in the comments and even tags the brand. Here’s an example of an older post, tagging the enviable Hermes bag.
But, here's the thing. To purchase this bag, a follower would have to read Tenicka’s comment, click on the brand’s tag, find the bag on the Hermes Instagram feed, and then hope Hermes is set up with Instagram Shopping. If it wasn’t, the consumer would have to navigate to the Hermes website and search all of the products to find the bag.
That’s enough steps to lose a purchase.
This new tagging feature solves the problem of complicated social shopping. If you look at Tenicka’s more recent posts, you'll notice her fashion is still on point. But, now she can create a look, and tag the products directly in her post. All her followers have to do is click on the product tag and make a purchase.
Daniel Bari, marketing director at Dreamland Jewelry, explained how they have more than 10,000 designs on their website, and what a headache it can be.
“At DreamlandJewelry.com, we have over 10,000 designs,” he said. “If you see one of our items you love on Instagram, it could be a very tedious process finding it on our website. But with the new tagging feature, it's just one click.”
Bari also projects that this new feature will boost their conversions based on the success he saw with product tagging on Facebook. “Facebook has long had this tagging feature and our testing showed a 42% increase in conversion rate. We expect a very similar boost with Instagram product tagging,” said Bari.
Moving forward, expect to see more brands on Instagram Shopping, and cultivating relationships with large creators who have big followings.
3. Brands will invest more in user-generated content (UGC)
Instagram reports that 1.6 million people tag at least one brand on average every week. This represents a gold mine in terms of finding stellar user-generated content.
As more customers start using the product tagging feature, it opens the doors for brands to capture significantly more user-generated content to use across customer touch-points.
Crace Baena, director of operations at Kaiyo said, “The new product tagging feature on Instagram provides a new avenue for user-generated content. This is key when it comes to marketing and building a community with your customers. By utilizing the photos taken and tagged by customers, you get a great source of new content and new support.”
Not only does this new tagging update allow brands to discover more UGC, but it also provides additional social proof.
“Social proof is imperative in today's retail market. Consumers like to see products in action that are solving real world problems. Giving the content creator the ability to tag within the post they are already publishing will provide extra backing of the brand and give customers a quicker way to find products,” said Casey Simmons, owner of Royal Locks Curl Care.
Bull added to this sentiment. “What I love most is that this new product tagging feature also serves as social proof for businesses that get (or pay) users to tag them. When Instagram users click over to an individual product, they will see a carousel of images and videos from creators who tagged that product. Those images/videos could show off the product in different ways, or even be a video explaining how to use the product,” said Bull.
The best news is product tagging isn’t a free-for-all, which also helps with social proof and reputation. Brands have control over who tags their products.
“When someone tags one of their products on Instagram, the business owner will be notified. They may also see all of their profile's tagged content in one spot. By regulating their product tag options in their settings, brands may also manage who tags their products,” explained Martin Luenendonk, CEO at FounderJar.
If the Instagram user who tagged a product doesn’t fall in line with the brand’s mission or theme, the brand can remove the tag.
4. Brands will set up affiliate marketing
Another trend the social shopping world should expect is brands building more affiliate marketing programs that reward creators.
"In the past, most brands would pay on a per-post basis for their instagram influencers. With the latest product tagging feature on Instagram, you'll start seeing brands offering either a percentage of sales commission to influencers, or set rate per "x clicks" (e.g., 1,000 clicks) to their store. It will come down to the brands preferences based on their products,” said Dennis Kubitz, founder of Beckiano Marketing.
But, brands won’t have to build their own affiliate marketing initiatives for long. Instagram is currently testing out an affiliate marketing program that will work hand-in-hand with the product tagging feature.
This will make it easier for brands and creators to form mutually-beneficial partnerships where brands get more exposure and creators get paid for affiliate sales.
In the end, social commerce is all about community. Instagram extending the product tagging feature to include everyone is one way brands, creators, and users can interact, discover/promote products, and build a better social shopping experience.