One of the most common questions our clients ask is, “What’s the ROI of an influencer program?” That answer may become even more achievable for influencer marketers on the heels of Instagram’s latest announcement. The app plans to roll out a new Shopping from Creators feature that provides users the ability to purchase items from brands tagged in the influencer’s posts, all without leaving the app.
For the time being, this new feature will only be available to some of Instagram’s top-performing creators, including the Kardashians, Gigi Hadid, Vogue, GQ, Hypebeast and Refinery29. But, if all goes well, you can expect this new feature to make waves across the industry. For now, participating influencers will only be able to use this feature for the select brands that are a part of Instagram’s checkout feature beta, including Adidas, MAC Cosmetics, Revolve and more. As part of the new shopping process, both influencers and featured brands will have access to analytics on the posts.
How Will This Affect My E-Commerce Brand?
The User Experience Will Be Optimized
Some of the most common direct messages that influencers receive from followers are 1) where is that piece from? And 2) how much does it cost? The current checkout experience for users on an influencer’s post is complicated, to say the least. For example, if a user wants to buy a t-shirt, they have to overcome quite a few obstacles before ultimately making the purchase. First, the influencer needs to tag whatever brand they’re wearing. Then, the user needs to find that t-shirt on the website. Typically people will screenshot the photo, save it to their camera roll and hunt through the website to find an exact match. After all those steps, the user needs to complete the checkout process. As you can imagine, many potential purchasers could drop off the marketing funnel as the steps go on.
By providing influencers the ability to make shoppable posts, the purchasing experience will be fully optimized and users can make a purchase with just a few clicks or taps.
Influencers Will Make More Money
We predict that influencers will be quick to identify various ways to monetize this feature. Potentially, they will turn shoppable Instagram posts into an affiliate program in partnership with brands featured in their posts. For each direct purchase, they could make a commission off of the sale. With that in mind, we can expect influencers to likely seek out more long-term, campaign-based partnerships in order to make the most profit from the partnership.
Conversely, influencers who buy likes, followers and use bots to drive engagement will be completely exposed for their fraudulent activity. Brands won’t make any money off their partnership posts and will therefore seek out only influencers with high engagement and conversions.
Brands Will Make More Money
Apps such as LikeToKnowIt, which allow users to shop influencers’ posts by taking screenshots, have been semi-successful to date but many would-be purchasers are spending hours commenting on influencer posts or fruitlessly attempting to find the desired product online. By optimizing the user experience with shoppable influencer posts, brands are adding an entirely new direct response channel to their marketing strategy. This will open a new revenue stream for brands and will also provide advanced analytics data into the purchase process. We should expect to see Instagram continue to become an increasingly important channel in the marketing mix.
Influencer Marketing Will Become a Necessity
With Instagram’s latest updates including the checkout feature and shoppable influencer posts, brands need to start thinking of Instagram as a second landing page for their website and influencer content as paid advertisements. The bottom line is that if e-commerce brands aren’t running influencer marketing programs, they’ll be missing out on an entirely new form of revenue.
In addition to the shoppable influencer posts feature, Instagram also announced a new ability for ordinary users to collect money for charities of their choice. To learn more about these updates, check out this story on TechCrunch: https://techcrunch.com/2019/04/30/instagram-will-now-let-creators-and-influencers-sell-items-directly/