Instagram is always trying to create new ways for creators on the app to monetize the work they're already doing. Instagram is launching 3 new features that will “help creators make a living over the long run”, according to Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri during an Instagram Live. These features are:
1) Creator Shops
2) Affiliate Commerce
3) Branded Content Marketplace
Let's break down how all three of these new features will work, and when we'll get access to them.
According to Facebook creator and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, “[For creators] who want to sell your own products and merchandise, we’re going to make it easier to add an existing shop or open a new shop on your personal Instagram profile." If you've never set up a shop before, make sure your Instagram account is set to Business or Creator. Then you should immediately have access to the "Add Shop" button shown below. Then Instagram will take you through the setup of adding your shop to your Instagram profile.
Instagram developed Creator Shops to make it possible for Instagram users to buy products they see on the app without ever leaving the app. We all know that fewer steps and distractions between seeing a product and clicking "buy" means a more effective sales tunnel. While Instagram will take a cut of all the sales made through the Creator Shops, that cut might be worth it if your shop starts making more sales because your customers aren't getting distracted by leaving the Instagram app.
Instagram has long allowed affiliate marketing on its platform. Have you ever seen someone post a promo code offering a discount? Most likely, they'll receive a small commission of every purchase made using that code. That's affiliate marketing. Another form that has long popped up on Instagram is influencers using affiliate links, which are shopping links unique to them. If someone purchases a product through one of their links, the influencer will receive a commission. Instagram is unveiling a way to majorly streamline this process.
Over the coming months, Instagram will reveal more about how the Affiliate program will work (according to a recent Instagram post on the @creator account). When an influencer joins Affiliate, they'll be able to tag products in their Instagram posts. If someone buys a product from their post, they'll earn a commission. This is going to make influencer content sound much less "salesy". Instead of pointing their followers towards a discount code or the link in their bio, they'll be able to simply tag the products they're recommending in their posts. This rollout is going to take awhile, unlike Creator Shops which are already available to every Instagram user.
Branded Content Marketplace
The concept for the Branded Content Marketplace is pretty much a carbon copy of TikTok's Creator Marketplace. Instagram hasn't released much about this space yet, but we know that it will be a place where brands can discover influencers. Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri said, “We should be able to help brands find creators that are uniquely aligned with the work they’re trying to do and vice versa. If we can help with matchmaking, we can help drive more dollars to the smaller creators who can do amazing work for brands.” No one is sure how the deals between brands and influencers through the Branded Content Marketplace, but Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said they'll offer "very favorable terms" to influencers.
Many of these features are a response to how rapidly TikTok added eCommerce options to its platform. Instagram was beginning to fade into irrelevance as creators were focusing their time and effort on TikTok content. We'll be interested to see how these new eCommerce options might breathe new life into Instagram.