With the holiday season only a few months away, Facebook Inc. is examining ways to improve the shopping experience on Facebook and Instagram. Both tests are with a “few select” advertisers.
On Facebook, the social network is running a test that aims to make it easy for consumers to shop by linking the platform’s in-app checkout with its ads system to eliminate the need for consumers to leave Facebook and be rerouted to another website.
And, on Instagram, the social network is testing the ability for retailers and other businesses to run organic shopping posts as ads within the platform’s Ads Manager tool. Those organic shopping posts enable brands to tag the items in their post. When a consumer taps on one of those items, she is taken to a product description page within Instagram where she can proceed to purchase from the merchant’s mobile site.
The test will run for the next few months as Instagram experiments with different ways to integrate a checkout option into the ads.
“We’ve seen shopping behavior blossom with the organic shopping feature, and now we are excited to test this new ads experience with businesses,” Instagram writes in a blog post. “With these ads, businesses can reach their target audience and scale, showcase products through the shopping format and move people through the path to purchase with an experience so many Instagrammers are already familiar with.”
The social network notes that “this is just the first step in experimenting with shopping posts as ads,” and it plans to monitor users’ sentiment throughout the testing period.
As Facebook integrates ecommerce into its social networks, it views Instagram as a platform where consumers can “discover” products, which is why it has spent much of the past few years rolling out organic and paid shopping features. For example, in April Instagram launched a test that lets influencers create shoppable posts on its platform.
Instagram says that more than 130 million users tap on Instagram Shopping posts to reveal product tags every month.