Expect to see random sponsored posts squeezed in between your friends’ #foodstagrams and #OOTDs in the near future, because your favorite photo-sharing app is officially rolling out a "Shop Now” button. Though there are still no deets about how to make a purchase and when exactly the changes will be applied, at least one thing has been made clear—Instagram as we know it is about to make a big change.
The photo-sharing app, which boasts 300-million-plus users, is welcoming not only the big-ticket companies but also small-scale businesses with open arms. Advertisers can also target consumers based on age, gender, location and interests (with the help of its parent company, Facebook, of course). To quote Instagram’s blog, “This will not only help advertisers, but the community as well, as people will be able to learn about a product or service and then take action directly from an ad to sign up on a website, buy a product, or download an app.”
But is it really a change for the better, or is Instagram only digging its own grave by pivoting into the shopping game?
Anyone who was already online savvy in the mid to late 2000s is surely familiar with Multiply, the It social networking site before Facebook took over the reins a few years later. The website, which once housed photo albums and personal blogs of its users, converted itself into an e-commerce platform, eventually driving away its loyal frequenters and suffering a slow, painful death.
In the case of Instagram, it’s been a long-time frustration for bloggers and businesses alike that the app lacks the functionality to allow clickable links in its photo captions, leaving users with no choice but to settle for an awkward instruction that says “click on the link in our bio to know more.” The reason behind this, however, has always been justified with the social networking site’s main focus being to share visual content and not URLs.
While some are delighted (the consumers who can’t wait to go shopping and the businesses who are excited to advertise), others are also dismayed at the thought of their go-to photo-sharing app being bombarded with sponsored content from brands they didn't even follow.