Ultimate Guide to Instagram Shopping
Every month, 130 million fingers tap on an Instagram shopping post to learn more about products.
For brands and businesses, using Instagram shopping posts is a great way to showcase your products and use your Instagram feed to drive more purchases — especially now thanks to Instagram’s new checkout feature, which lets you buy products *directly* on Instagram without ever leaving the app!
Not only can you easily introduce and educate your followers about your products with shopping posts, but you can guide your followers to make a purchase with just a few taps!
You want to make sure you’re using Instagram shopping posts as effectively as possible — we’re talking beautiful imagery, great captions, and sales pitches timed to perfection.
Want to learn more about how you can drive more sales with Instagram shopping posts?
In the following guide, we’ll take you through the steps to get set up with shopping on Instagram and reveal a few handy tips and tricks to seamlessly integrate your shopping posts into your feed.
Table of Contents:
- What are Instagram Shopping Posts and Should Your Business be Using Them?
- How To Set Up Shopping On Instagram
- Creating a Shoppable Feed with Linkin.Bio by Later
- 8 Tips for Creating Instagram Shopping Posts that Convert into Sales
- Track and Measure Your Instagram Shopping Posts with Instagram Analytics
What Are Instagram Shopping Posts and Should Your Business Be Using Them?
In a nutshell, Instagram shopping posts make it easier for people to shop the products they find on Instagram by “tagging” products in posts.
If you’re a brand or business with a physical product, you definitely don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to introduce your products to Instagram’s 500 million daily users!
Instagram Shopping Posts Give Your Followers an Easier Way to Shop
What’s so great about Instagram shopping posts is that they get rid of the guesswork — you can go from product inspiration to product information in just a few taps, and do so in a way that’s organic to the Instagram experience.
Plus with the ability to share posts to your feed or your Instagram Stories, you’ve double the chance to engage with your audience and provide them with an easier way to shop.
But it’s Instagram’s latest shopping feature that will likely have the biggest impact for both brands and shoppers: the ability to buy products without ever leaving the Instagram app.
According to Instagram’s announcement, now when you tap to view a product from a brand’s shopping post, you’ll see a “Checkout on Instagram” button on the product page.
You can tap it to select from various options, such as size or color, and then continue to payment — all without leaving Instagram! All you have to do is enter your name, email, billing information, and shipping address the first time you check out.
This is a much more streamlined approach to shopping on Instagram. Prior to the update, viewers would be taken a product description page after tapping on a product tag.
From there, they could decide if they wanted to “View on Website,” which would take them to a dedicated product page where they can make a purchase.
Now thanks to Instagram’s “checkout” feature, when you find a product you love, you can buy it without ever leaving the app.
Once your first order is complete, your information will be saved for future purchases — and you’ll also receive notifications about shipment and delivery right inside Instagram, so you can keep track of your purchase.
Note: The new checkout feature is currently in closed beta for several major businesses like Nike, Burberry and Zara, and only available to users in the United States. But Instagram plans to roll it out further in the coming weeks and months!
Instagram Shopping Posts Act as a Virtual Shop Front:
Aesthetically speaking, an Instagram shopping post can seamlessly fit in with your Instagram feed and your brand’s overall look and feel.
You can create Instagram shopping posts in your profile feed or your Instagram Stories, and you can choose any image or video you like as an Instagram shopping post.
So you’ll be able to maintain your editing or image style, and not have to compromise your Instagram aesthetic to create a shoppable post.
Once you set your account up for Instagram shopping (we’ll cover this in detail below!) it’s really simple to create your first shoppable post. For feed posts, you can tag up to 5 products per image or up to 20 products in a carousel image post. And just like a regular Instagram post, you can add filters and write a caption.
In Instagram Stories, all you have to do is tap the sticker icon and select the “product” sticker. You can even customize the color of your sticker before sharing your story.
And because it’s so simple to set up, it’s even easier to plan and strategize your shoppable posts, especially for Instagram Stories. For example, if you’re planning a new product launch on social media, you’ll want to plan your content around the announcement – both your feed posts and Stories, as well as where you’ll position your Instagram shopping posts!
And the key is to make sure you have a natural balance of shoppable posts among your feed! Check out how brands like Summer Friday and Artifact Uprising integrate shoppable posts seamlessly into their feed.
And the trick to getting this balance right is with planning! Using a tool like Later’s Visual Planner and scheduling your Instagram Stories and feed posts in advance helps you create this harmony between sales and creativity — making it a great shopping experience and an interactive shop window for your brand!
Instagram Shopping Posts Tap into an Already Engaged Audience
Firstly, you’re going to be sharing your Instagram shoppable posts and stories with your followers who are already interested in your brand and products.
When your shoppable post appears in your followers’ feeds, all they have to do is tap the shopping bag icon on an image to reveal more info about the product.
If a user taps on the info box, they’ll be able to checkout directly on Instagram or they’ll be directed to a URL where they can shop and purchase the product!
When it comes to shoppable posts in Instagram Stories, there are over 500 million accounts globally tapping through stories each day, and one-third of the most viewed stories are from businesses! So you know you’re going to be showing off your products to an engaged audience from the get-go!
Finally, while it’s still in testing stages, there is a chance your shoppable post will appear on Instagram’s Explore page!
Earlier this year, Instagram launched topic channels in the Explore page that allows you to browse content based on your specific interests, like Sport, Fashion, Travel, Music, and more.
And now, Instagram has included a Shopping channel to help you find product-related posts from the brands you follow and brands that Instagram thinks you might like.
This opens up a huge opportunity for online retailers and e-commerce brands to tap into new audiences and show off their products to a really wide and engaged audience of over 200 million people each day!
While there are lots of different ways for brands (especially e-commerce brands) to weave sales opportunities into their Instagram marketing strategy, having Instagram shopping posts in your feed is a feature you definitely want to take advantage of!
And the good news is that it’s pretty easy to get set up with sharing shoppable posts.
If you’re looking for more info and inspiration on how to make sales from Instagram, check out this video we created with three super-successful e-commerce brands that have great strategies for their Instagram sales:
How To Set Up Instagram Shopping For Your Account:
Ready to start sharing Instagram shopping posts with your followers? Let’s get started!
There are a few steps to go through before you can share your first shoppable post, but here’s everything you need to do:
Step #1: Check That Your Business and Account Fulfill Instagram’s Requirements
Instagram has some fairly strict requirements when it comes to getting set up with their shopping features.
This ensures that only genuine retailers and e-commerce brands are able to make sales via the app.
Here are some of the requirements needed (and you can find more details on them here):
- Your business must be located in one of Instagram’s 46 approved countries for Instagram Shopping. Approved countries include Canada, US, Puerto Rico, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Netherlands, Switzerland, Ireland, South Africa, Belgium, Austria, Portugal, Poland, Greece, and many more, but it is worth checking the country limitations before starting the process to get set up with Instagram shopping.
- Your Instagram account must be for a business that primarily sells physical goods. You must also have a business profile on Instagram and comply with Instagram’s merchant agreement and commerce policy.
- Your Facebook Business Page connected to your Instagram account cannot have country or age restrictions.
- Your Instagram business profile must be associated with a Facebook catalog for your products.
Step #2: Connect your Instagram Business Profile to a Facebook Catalog for Your Products
If you meet all these requirements, you’re ready to move onto the second stop, creating a catalog for your products.
There are two ways to do this:
Option #1: Add a Shop Section to Your Facebook Page
Go to your Facebook Business Page, and click the Shop tab. If you can’t see the Shop tab straight away, you may need to change your Page template to the Shopping template — just follow these steps to do that.
- Click “Set up Shop” and agree to the Merchant Terms.
- Enter your business address and click Next.
- Choose a currency for your Facebook shop and enter the email address associated with your business page. Then click Next.
- Add the tax registration number for every state/country that you have a business presence in.
- Click Finish and you can then start adding products to your shop!
Option #2: Use a Product Catalog on Business Manager
- Go to the Business Manager account that owns the Facebook Page linked to your Instagram business profile.
- From your Business Manager account, create a new catalog or identify an existing catalog you’d like to use with shopping on Instagram. If the catalog you’d like to use is in another Business Manager account, make sure the two accounts are partnered.
Note: If you’re using Shopify or BigCommerce to manage your product catalog, you can choose to set up a shop on Facebook directly through those platforms! It’s a really easy way to manage all your online shop and product catalogs in one place.
For more info on how to connect your business profile to a Facebook catalog, check out our in-depth guide here!
Step #3: Your Account Will Be Reviewed by Instagram
Once you’ve set up your Facebook shop or connected a product catalog on your Business Manager account, Instagram will review your account before granting access to the shopping features.
It’s a nail-biting time as the review process can take a couple of days. Or if you’re setting up everything from scratch or adding a new catalog to your existing shop, the process can take a little longer as the whole catalog needs to be reviewed by Instagram too.
All you can do is sit back, relax, and wait for Instagram to give you the green light for Instagram shopping!
Step #4: Start Posting to Instagram With Product Tags
Congratulations! You’ve been approved by Instagram and you can now start adding product tags to your Instagram posts and stories!
Here we’ll look at the steps you need to take to add shoppable product tags to your posts:
How to Add Product Tags to Your Instagram Posts
Ready to add a product tag to your first post?
Start by uploading an image to Instagram as you normally would. Add your filters, edit the image, write a caption, and add hashtags and location tags if you like.
Once you’ve done that, tagging products is basically the same process as tagging other Instagram users in your posts. And it happens in the Share screen once you’re happy with your caption, edits, and filters.
Tap the Tag Products section and then select the products in the photo you want to tag.
Next, enter the names of the products you want to tag in your image, and then select them as they appear in the search results.
Once you’ve added all the tags you want (you can add up to 5 in a single image post), just tap Done and share your post!
How to Add Shopping Stickers to Instagram Stories Posts
The shoppable stickers for Instagram Stories are similar to regular Instagram shoppable posts: you’ll be able to tag a product from your catalog and users can tap for more info, like the name of the product, price, and description.
For Instagram Stories, the shoppable stickers can be placed on both images and videos, and there are 4 different types of stickers to choose from: a shopping bag icon, a sticker with the product name in rainbow or grey, and translucent text (similar to the current hashtag and location stickers).
Here’s how to add a shoppable sticker to your next Instagram story:
- Open the Instagram Stories camera and take a photo or video or select one from your camera roll
- Next, tap the stickers button and select the new “product” stickers.
- Now you’ll be given the option to select a product from your catalog.
- Once you’ve picked a product, you can change the color of the sticker by tapping it and move it wherever you’d like on your story.
Just remember that you can’t edit the product name in your story. If you want to rename a product, you’ll need to do it from your product catalog and manually change the name there!
One of the biggest bonuses of Instagram Stories’ shoppable stickers is that you don’t need to have over 10k followers or be verified to use it!
So regardless of your current following or business size, you can add shoppable tags to your posts and make it easier for your audience to shop your products!
How to Set up A Shoppable Feed with Linkin.Bio by Later
While Instagram is definitely making tracks to introduce new ways for people to shop on Instagram, most brands will have to wait for the new shopping “checkout” feature to be available to them, and you want to supplement your profile with other ways to shop your feed.
Thankfully, there are other ways to guide your followers to your online store and create an easy shopping experience for your users and generate leads on Instagram.
For businesses, particularly e-commerce brands on Instagram, Linkin.bio by Later can help you drive traffic to your website, and make sales from your Instagram posts.
Linkin.bio allows you to add links or tag products in Instagram posts to turn your feed into a clickable, optimized landing page.
Plus, you can connect your Shopify store to tag products in Instagram posts and get sales data every time you tag a product!
When people click the link in your bio, they’ll then be able to browse all your products and shop your feed!
So if you have a Shopify account, setting up a Linkin.bio profile could really help you direct your audience to your product shopping pages, and generate sales. And it only takes a few minutes to get set up!
Instagram is continuously looking for ways to improve how people shop on the app. And while Instagram product tags and shoppable stickers are huge assets to brands, aswell as the shopping channel on the Explore page, the new “checkout” feature and using Linkin.bio shoppable feeds could really help bridge the gap between product discovery and purchase!
So it’s more important than ever to create awesome Instagram shoppable posts that appeal to your audience and show off your products.
And to help you do just that, we’ve rounded up 8 of the best tips for creating great shopping posts!
8 Tips for Creating Instagram Shopping Posts that Convert into Sales
Tip #1: Make Sure Your Shopping Posts Are in Line with Your Overall Instagram Aesthetic
You’ve probably been working hard at creating an Instagram aesthetic that reflects your brand style and looks curated and cohesive across all your posts. So don’t disrupt that gorgeous flow with a shopping post that stands out against the others!
Make sure that the images you pick as your shopping posts are in line with your overall Instagram aesthetic. That means applying the same tone, editing style, content, or filter to your shopping posts so they can seamlessly fit in with your feed!
Tip #2: Use Photoshoot Images to Create a Lookbook With Carousel Posts
Did you know that you can tag up to 20 products in a carousel post that has 10 photos?
That’s a huge opportunity to show off your photos from a recent product shoot.
A carousel post can act as a lookbook for a new collection or special campaign launch. So don’t be afraid to experiment with a carousel post and have all your products tagged in each image.
Tip #3: Double Check All Your Shopping Tags Links Go to the Right Products
This might seem like a simple tip, but there’s nothing more frustrating than a broken link, especially if you were looking to make a speedy purchase.
Instagram shopping tags are all about helping users shop faster and without fuss, so spending time auditing all your links and testing the post once it’s live can make a real difference to your audience’s experience and your business sales!
Tip #4: Space Out Multiple Products Tags in One Image
Remember the space on your phone screen is small, even if you’re viewing an Instagram story.
So if you’re tagging more than one product in a single image post (you can tag up to 5), make sure they’re evenly spaced out so they don’t overlap and obstruct the information on the tag!
If you’re struggling to easily fit in product tags to your post, remember less is more! You can always tag the other items in another post further down the line, or make a carousel post!
Tip #5: Use Descriptive Hashtags So Your Products Are ‘Searchable’ and ‘Followable’
The Instagram algorithm pays attention to your Instagram shopping post too, so you want to make sure you’re optimizing them.
Having descriptive hashtags is one way of making sure your post is ‘searchable’ on the Explore page or appears in the new Shopping channel. Plus, a user can also follow a hashtag, so there’s even more opportunity to have your products discovered by the right people.
If you use hashtags effectively on your Instagram shopping posts, you’ll soon start to see an uptick in engagement and conversions as more people discover and follow your posts.
Don’t know where to start when it comes to hashtags? Don’t worry! Our Instagram Hashtag Strategy Guide will help you plan, and implement a hashtag strategy for your brand that will grow your engagement and boost the effectiveness of your Instagram marketing campaigns!
Tip #6: Try Out User-Generated Content For Great Shoppable Posts
If you have some UGC content that your followers shared that feature your products, why not use them as shoppable posts?
User-generated content (or UGC) is a great way to show off your brand while letting customers be the spokespeople for your products!
Just make sure you’re legally re-posting another user’s content before you share it to your feed. We have a whole blog post on how to legally repost user-generated content on Instagram to help you!
Tip #7: Spread Out Your Shoppable Posts Throughout Your Grid
We understand how exciting it can be to get a new feature on Instagram — and sometimes that excitement can turn into over-use of that feature!
In the case of shoppable posts, it’s better to phase them in, and spread your Instagram shopping posts across your feed and stories.
That way, your followers and audience won’t feel like they’re being hit with a sale pitch, and the shoppable tags can integrate smoothly into your overall feed!
Tip #8: Use Instagram Stories Videos to Show Your Product in Action
Want to demo your product or show it off in real-time?
Instagram Stories videos are a great way to integrate shoppable stickers to your product posts and show off just what your product does or looks like IRL!
Particularly good for clothing brands, jewelry, or anything that can be personally styled, it’s a fun and easy way to capture your product from all angles and give your followers a sneak peek of what it might be for them once they purchase!
Track and Measure Your Instagram Shopping Posts with Instagram Analytics
One of the most important steps of an Instagram marketing strategy is measuring the success of your campaigns and posts.
And while success is measured differently for every brand and business, it’s really important to check in with your Instagram analytics and see how well your post performed.
When it comes to Instagram shopping posts, you’ll want to keep a close eye on how your audience reacted to your post. Did they engage more or less? Was the tap forward rate higher than usual with your Instagram Stories post with a shoppable sticker?
Try to find the patterns that metrics that relate to how your audience responded, and if you can pinpoint any kind of shoppable post that did better than others. Perhaps it was video demo in Instagram Stories that worked well for your brand, or your audience resonated more with user-generated images with shoppable tags attached.
Here are three ways to keep track of your Instagram shopping posts’ performance and how you’re driving traffic to your website from Instagram:
#1. Use Instagram Insights:
Instagram Insights holds a ton of useful data on how your shoppable posts are performing.
To find out more, tap View Insights on a shopping post or swipe up on shopping stories in self-view to see the insights.
From here, you also have the option to sort top shopping posts on various metrics through Insights on your business profile.
You can see engagement and tap through metrics on both shopping posts in your feed and Instagram Stories. But we suggest separating out your metrics for Instagram shoppable posts and Instagram Stories so you can clearly identify what type of content works best on each.
Note: If you tap View Insights below the image in your post, you’re able to see all the business insights for that particular post.
But if you want to access the metrics behind your account’s performance overall, Instagram Insights allows you to sort top shopping posts, on various metrics:
- Go to your profile page
- Tap the bar chart on the top right corner
- Tap See More in the Posts section
- Tap the header of the next page and filter the posts with tagged products by metric.
If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed by all the metrics behind your account, don’t worry! We have an Instagram Analytics Strategy Guide that will help you start tracking your account’s performance and make better decisions about your strategy. And it’s completely free!
Later also tracks tons of Instagram metrics for your account, even on the free plan! You can learn more about how your posts are performing and discover which type of content gets the most Instagram engagement!
#2. Create UTM Trackable Links for Google Analytics
Creating UTM trackable links is another way to stay on top of who visits your site via an Instagram shopping post.
UTM is short for “Urchin Tracking Module”. To put it in easier terms, a UTM is the piece of unique code you’ll add on to the end of your URL.
Paired with your Google Analytics account, UTM tagging can make sure Google Analytics is tracking your Instagram traffic with complete accuracy. It’s a great way to see precisely how many people are visiting your website by using your trackable link.
So when it comes to measuring the traffic coming to your website from each individual product post, you can set up separate UTM trackable links for each product shared through shoppable posts and stories.
Check out this blog post for more info and tips to tracking your Instagram traffic using UTMs and Google Analytics!
Lots of brands, like Casetify for example set up separate UTM trackable links for each product shared through shoppable posts and stories.
If you click on their shoppable post on their Instagram feed, you’ll see this pop up on the image:
From here, you’re directed to their product page with the option to “view on website” and make a purchase:
By clicking the button, visitors are redirected to a UTM trackable link to shop the item on their website:
This means Casetify is able to find out exactly which posts are generating traffic from their Instagram feed or stories and which products are generating the most interest.
While setting up UTMs does take a little bit of time, the pay off is worth it! You’ll have a much clearer picture of how your Instagram viewers are interacting with your shoppable posts!
#3. Track Your Website Traffic Using Linkin.bio
Plus, you can even track your revenue for that individual post if you’ve integrated your Shopify account with Linkin.bio!
We’ve integrated Linkin.bio traffic analytics into Later’s overall post performance analytics, allowing you to track clicks at a glance, get detailed data on clicks over time, and even rank your Instagram posts by how much traffic they drove.
Later’s Instagram Analytics include the insights you know and love from the Instagram app, plus additional data for calculating your best times to post, engagement rate, click through rate, and more.
We’ve covered just about everything you need to know to get started in the world of Instagram shopping.
Just start by taking the first steps to be an approved retailer with Instagram, and then you can begin creating awesome posts with tagged products for easier Instagram shopping for your followers!
And remember to track, measure, and learn from all your shoppable posts so you can always grow and improve your strategy for the future.
Ready to drive traffic and track sales from Instagram? Start using Linkin.bio today for just $19/month!