May 15, 2020

Strategic vs Organic Concept

Instagram – Shopping & Ads – What The Difference?

Instagram has evolved from a meticulously curated photo sharing app to a shopping experience that’s more spontaneous, casually organic, and even authentic. 

Every month, approximately 200 million people tap on Instagram posts to learn more about products.  While shopping on Instagram isn’t new for the social media platform.  Instagram’s been creating, refining, and fine-tuning its customer shopping experience through feature evolution.

If you’re a brand or business with a physical product, you don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to introduce your products to millions of Instagram daily users.  Instagram Shopping Posts transform your feed into an easy shoppable experience for customers in a consistent way that facilitates converting followers into shoppers, boosting engagement, and increasing sales. 

What’s in an Instagram Shopping post?  

Instagram made it simple for businesses to “tag” up to 5 products directly in their posts, making it easier for people to discover and engage with products through Instagram Shopping. All at no cost other than time to complete tagging once you’re set up with Instagram Shopping.  You can tag your products in the photos to your store catalog.  Every time you post to your feed you can create a shopping experience for your followers that showcases your product line, creating a uniquely streamlined customer-oriented e-tailing experience.  Tagged shopping posts organically move followers and customers alike through the purchasing continuum from product inspiration to product view to product information to online purchase conversion – all without ever leaving the Instagram app. 

Fashion brands are wasting no time in taking full advantage of the Instagram Shopping enhancement. They’re releasing entire clothing collections tagged on Instagram posts – enabling them to gain more views and followers, which are being converted into purchasing customers.

In a nutshell, Instagram shopping posts make it easier for people to shop the products they find on Instagram by viewing “tagged” products in posts.  Additionally, you can create Instagram shopping posts in your profile feed or your Instagram Stories, and you can choose any image or video you like as an Instagram shopping post; creating a seamless branded look and feel from beginning to end.

What Does Instagram Shopping Post do for Brands?

Gone are the days where a customer had to tap a product description page after tapping on a product tag.  From there, they could decide if they wanted to “View on Website,” which would take them to a dedicated product page where they can make a purchase. 

Now, when customers tap to view a tagged product from a brand’s post, you’ll see a “Checkout on Instagram” button on the product page.  You simply select from the products various options, such as size or color, and then continue to payment.  Once there, you enter your name, email, billing information, and shipping address the first time you check out.

Thanks to Instagram Shopping’s innovative “checkout” feature, when customers find a product they love they can buy it without ever leaving the app.  After completing their first order, their information is saved for future purchases.  Customers then receive notifications about shipment and delivery right inside Instagram.  This enables them to keep track of your purchase inside Instagram while making future purchases easier and quicker. 

What’s in an Instagram Ad?

With paid Instagram Ads you’re actively targeting to extend your brand’s reach to an even larger audience, who might not know about your brand yet, to grow followers, and ultimately gain conversions.

Since Instagram Ads are PAID advertising, you’ll need to keep in mind costs like for both Instagram feed and Story ads ranging from about $0.80 to $1.30 Cost Per Click (CPC).  You don’t want to waste time and money by trying to target everyone – identifying your brand’s goals, objectives, budget, content strategy and ad timing is crucial for success.  As important as it is nailing down your brand’s target audience, location, demographics, interests and behaviors, languages, etc., determining the appropriate ad type(s) to create awareness, consideration, and conversion will help to optimize scheduling and placement for revenue generation. 

So what’s the Difference?

In short, Instagram Shopping (other than the incremental “checkout sellers fee”) Post is Free!  Running an Instagram Ad campaign will be a cost centered in your marketing budget since they’re setup as a “cost per click” (CPC) basis.  From a social media strategy, it’s best practice to employ both organic (shopping posts) and paid tactics (Instagram Ads) to drive business and sales.  

To learn even more about the power of Instagram for your business, check out “Instagram for Business Help Center” for strategies that work.