The Product Data Lab

How to Sell with Instagram Shopping

As the old idiom states: an image is worth a thousand words, which may be why the social media app, Instagram, is growing at a rapid rate, with 1 billion monthly active users, up from 800 million in September last year.

In November 2016, Instagram introduced ads to its platform which has been producing fantastic results with retailers reporting increased ROAS and lower CPC. Advertising on Instagram may be a successful step in driving revenue on mobile.

The social media platform embrace a new, better form of paid advertising called native; a technique many channels and marketplaces are adopting quickly.

Consumers dislike intrusive ads and will often reject them. Resistance to ads can be also seen with the rise of adblockers, which cut a large amount of revenue from businesses.

Native ads shouldn’t look like ads. It is a non-intrusive, natural ad format which slots in among regular posts and this is what channels such as Facebook and Instagram are excelling at, and through which they are seeing a great deal of revenue.

Native advertising isn’t just about tricking viewers into clicking on your ad. As you can see below, both posts are visually pleasing and eye catching, though one is a post and the other is a paid ad. It’s about high-quality products in a high quality, attractive format that your customers would want to click.


Ad vs. regular Instagram post


The Body Shop Instagram post


Paid ad:

 Hubble Contants Instagram Ad


 In addition, the channel has a good range of ads available to businesses.


Types of ads available on Instagram:

Image ads

In a square or landscape format, image ads are a simple, natural way to get your products in front of your customers.

Friends of the Earth Instagram picture ad


Video ads

Ads can be created now at a maximum of 60 seconds in landscape or square format.

TENZING Instagram video ad


Carousel ads

Users can now swipe to view up to 10 images or videos as part of one ad.

kinandtam carousel Instagram ad


Stories ads

Instagram Stories, a relatively new feature with 300 million daily users, has been a great success and provides businesses an opportunity to live-broadcast announcements, product launches and Q&A sessions. In 2017, Instagram internal data revealed:

“One third of the most viewed stories come from businesses, and one in five stories gets a direct message from its viewers.”

Bare Minerals Stories Ad Instagram


Instagram also provides businesses with the ability to track their ad success with analytics and insights. The ability to track video views, traffic and conversions makes it easier to see what’s working well.

The 2016 Pew Survey claimed that 59% of users are aged 18-29 and that many on the platform are financially well-to-do with 30 – 40% of users in each paygrade using Instagram. This makes the platform a prime location to sell into if your business suits these demographics.

It’s more important than ever for images to be optimal if you wish to advertise on Instagram, but also provides a degree of creativity (more so than marketplaces and paid search).

Get in touch to find out more about advertising on Instagram.


27-Apr-2018 17:10:22

Instagram, Social Commerce