Tech

With new shoppable stories, get ready to spend all your money on Instagram

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It was only a matter of time.

On Tuesday, Instagram announced the introduction of shoppable stories. Now, brands can tag their stories with the specific products featured in them. Then, when ‘grammers click on the tag, they can see more information about the product on Instagram, which includes a link to the brand’s website to buy.

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Instagram first introduced in-feed shopping in November 2016. It further rolled out a more robust version of that feature in March 2017, including business analytics. Most recently, in May 2018, Instagram debuted “action buttons,” which allow users to do things like buy tickets or make restaurant reservations directly on businesses’ profiles. Shoppable stories are just the next step in making every piece of delicate jewelry, glass of sparkling rosé, or pair minimalist sneakers that appear on the app available to buy — immediately.

Instagram says these shopping options are all about turning “discovery into action.” And with Instagram’s focus on beautiful photos and aspirational lifestyle,  shopping on Instagram makes a whole lot of sense. It removes almost all the barriers between seeing something enticing that represents the literally picture-perfect life you want to lead, and turning that impulse into cash. 

Clicking on the briefcase reveals the tagged products.

Clicking on the briefcase reveals the tagged products.

The product details page includes a link to buy.

The product details page includes a link to buy.

Instagram debuted ephemeral stories in August 2016, a format it outright stole from Snapchat. But now, Instagram story use is crushing Snapchat, and stories have become an increasingly dominant way that people are using the app. Up from 200 million daily active users in April 2017, Instagram now reports reports that 300 million people use Instagram stories every day. Hot damn.

Monetizing those interactions could be huge for businesses. Especially since up to this point, story creation just might not have been worth it. With filters, stickers, tags, and the need for a narrative (and not just a single, ad-like image), Mashable reported in May that story creation is cumbersome for some brands. Making stories shoppable gives brands more incentive to invest that time in the app.

Mashable has asked Instagram whether it takes any commission on in-app purchases, and will update this story if and when we hear back. But either way, getting brands to invest more time and money in the app is good for business.

UPDATE 6/12/2018, 1:15 p.m. ET: When asked about whether Instagram would take a commission on in-app purchases, Instagram said: “Instagram does not charge businesses for Shopping capabilities.”

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