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Instagram Is All in on E-Commerce

Social media juggernaut Instagram will celebrate its 10th anniversary on October 6, 2020, and the platform has certainly come a long way since its days of displaying grainy pictures of someone’s dinner. It has since become a source of income for creators and a sales platform for businesses.

In the visual-centric app’s eighth year, Instagram reached one billion monthly active users, climbing from 800 million in September 2017. That is a LARGE pool of potential customers and brand advocates.

To understand how Instagram became an e-commerce mecca, we must go back to 2012, when Facebook purchased Instagram. With this purchase, social media marketers knew it would just be a matter of time before advertisers and purchase capabilities would come to the platform — a move that the general public was not quite ready for. Developers took the time to create a shopping interface that would not disrupt the platform’s user experience.

For years, Instagram has been poised to become an ideal fit for e-commerce marketing. It first made the major jump from product and brand awareness to the discovery portion of the sales funnel in 2017 when it rolled out product tagging exclusively to Shopify platform users in beta. Fast-forward to today, when just about anyone who sells products on their website can apply for product tagging within Instagram. To fully take advantage of selling, brands can add call-to-action links directly in Stories or ads they run. Product tags on Instagram will also enhance the shopping experience for users.


According to Sprout Social, 83% of Instagram users discover new products and services on the platform. In addition, 80% of users claim that Instagram helps them make their purchase decision after research.

But Instagram’s shopping capabilities don’t just serve buyers. As brands continue advertising on Instagram, parent company Facebook will rely more heavily on its advertising dollars. It is projected that by the end of 2020, 30% of Facebook’s ad revenue will be Instagram-derived.

So, what does Instagram Shopping provide? It offers a one-stop online shop where users can search for products, add to a shopping bag and check out without ever leaving the app. Shopping is a strong feature that will surely become even more developed in the future. After seeing a product or service on Instagram, 79% searched for more information, 37% visited the retail store, and 46% made a purchase. Those are impressive numbers, and brands are taking notice. Instagram Shopping is a great sales channel for brands and a powerful marketing tool. It is estimated that 65% of consumers visit the brand’s website or app after seeing a product.

What are more advantages of the Shopping feature on Instagram for businesses?

  • Selling products on Instagram is available at no extra cost.
  • According to Elfsight inner data, traffic on a brand’s website increases rapidly because access to it becomes easy. Visitors to a business Instagram account get the direct link to the product page they desire without having to dig.
  • Many companies experience an increase in revenue of 30% or more, attributable to Shopping on Instagram. This is because people can directly get information they came for on a business profile. Also, products appear on a special Shopping Explore tab, which is visited by people with high purchase intent.
  • Instagram Shopping tags allow brands to promote products directly to the targeted audience. Thanks to the Instagram algorithms, you are able to connect to people who are really interested in a product and are more likely to purchase.“How do I start selling on Instagram?”

In general, to launch an Instagram Shop you’ll need: a website or a Facebook stand-alone product catalog; a Facebook business account; and an Instagram business account with enabled shopping feature.

Because an Instagram Shop pulls information from a Facebook business account, having profiles on both networks is imperative. It can be a tedious process to set up an Instagram Shop, but the benefits certainly outweigh the setup time invested. In its basic form, you will have to do the following things:

  • Link your business Instagram account with the Facebook business page.
  • Link your online store/website with that Facebook page, or create a Facebook product catalog.
  • Create a Facebook Shop using that product catalog.
  • Connect that product catalog to your business Instagram account.
  • Link a Shopify website with your Instagram account.


Sure, these steps seem simple in theory, but we can nearly guarantee you will run into roadblocks in the setup process — because nothing worth having comes easy. We recommend finding an online resource like this with detailed steps for setting up an Instagram Shop.

If you find yourself in need of assistance with platform setup, management or social media expertise, please contact our team of experts, and we will get you up and selling in no time!