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The Ins and Outs of Instagram Reels Shopping

Finally! Shopping has arrived on Reels. The roll out of this feature started in December of 2020, but like most Instagram features - it’s taken Instagram a while to give this feature to the public at large. Instagram is definitely playing catch up with TikTok - who introduced shopping directly from videos back in November of 2020. Adding shopping to Reels was certainly a response to TikTok’s move of allowing users with Shopify accounts to add products directly to in-feed videos. Instagram has their own selling platform via Instagram checkout - so what is shopping going to look like on Instagram Reels?

How Does it Work?

Now when you’re scrolling through Instagram Reels, you may see a small shopping bag icon at the bottom of the screen next to the title of the sound used on the Reel. Next to the shopping bag icon you’ll see the words “View Products”. When you tap on this, a screen will pop up with products tagged in the video. You can then click on products to view them, buy them, or save them to wishlists for later. If your business or brand has Instagram Checkout enabled, people can purchase your products without even leaving the app - streamlining the process from viewing a Reel to spending money into a few taps.

Influencers will also be able to directly tag products they are promoting in their Reels, as opposed to simply tagging the business’s account. This will hopefully create more fruitful relationships between brands and influencers, as it greatly minimizes the steps a casual Instagram user will need to take to discover the product or brand being promoted.

Helps Make Ad Partnerships More Clear

It also helps influencers and businesses comply to the FTC’s rules about disclosing that content is a paid advertisement. Influencers must disclose somewhere in their caption that their post is being used as an advertisement for a brand, and that disclosure can’t be hidden in a hashtag cloud. It’s got to be up front and featured. There is also a small disclaimer “Paid partnership with …” shown by the username. By allowing influencers to tag products in their Reels, Instagram is helping make it extremely clear when something is an advertisement and when it isn’t.

TikTok is currently leading the way in eCommerce, but we’re interested to see what steps Instagram (and let’s be honest, Instagram is Facebook - so we’re actually waiting to see what Facebook does) takes to claim authority in this arena. You can currently shop in all areas of the app: Reels, Feed posts, IGTV, Instagram Stories, and Instagram Live. But will this be enough? Only time will tell.


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