Instagram continues its march to becoming a fully immersive shopping app.
After rolling out the ability to check out from 23 brands on the app in March, the social media app is putting that tool in the hands of creators like Kim Kardashian West, Camila Coelho and publishers like Hypebeast and GQ. Creators and brands part of the beta test can tag up to five items from one brand in either an image or video post, as well as in stories. As part of the initial beta test, Instagram’s working with 50 creators and five publishers. Creators do not receive any commission based on clicks or sales of these items.
“Discovery and the ability to drive cultures forward are in our DNA, and Instagram is a vital platform for us to provide this experience to our readers,” said Huan Nguyen, Hypebeast’s vice president of brand partnerships, North America, in a statement. “The ease of transacting provided with this update will allow us to deepen our relationship with our followers and improve their shopping experience within the platform.”
An Instagram spokesperson declined to share how long the beta runs for, but said Instagram hopes to “expand this to more and more creators over the coming months.” Some of those brands that are part of the checkout beta test include Adidas, Prada and Uniqlo, as well as brands like Kylie Cosmetics, Outdoor Voices, Huda Beauty and KKW Beauty—all of which have CEOs or founders who are part of the creator checkout beta test.
To comply with FTC regulations, creators and publishers can use the branded content tag when they tag a brand product in a shopping post. However, an Instagram spokesperson reiterated that not every post that a creator shares with a product is necessarily an ad.
“We believe transparency is important and we encourage everyone, including brands and creators, to follow industry best practices around transparency when content is sponsored or paid—and indicate it clearly,” an Instagram spokesperson said.
Currently, checkout on Instagram is relatively simple and easy to use. Brands that are part of the checkout beta tag products, which consumers can tap on, get to a product page, and then tap on another button that reads “Checkout on Instagram.” Consumers can save credit card and shipping information on the app, or enter in that information with every purchase.
This new feature has the potential to upend a significant part of the influencer marketing community, namely the number of companies that help influencers generate a commission from products in their posts, like rewardStyle’s LiketoKnowIt app. However, considering this new feature is only available to a select number of creators at the start, these type of influencer commission-generating companies don’t need to fret just yet.
On the other side, publishers—which are increasingly becoming commerce companies themselves—can reap the benefits from such a tool. Many publishers, including GQ and Refinery29, already write articles containing affiliate links as a means of generating additional revenue. Now, many of these publishers can use the checkout tool as an experiment to see if they can convert their followers into shoppers.
“As leaders in innovation, Vogue and GQ are thrilled to be beta partners and to bring Instagram’s new checkout experience to the millions of followers on our accounts,” said Susan Plagemann, chief business officer, the culture division at Condé Nast. “Both titles have a historical relationship with Instagram, and identify the platform as both a distribution method for content and as a means of storytelling and engaging audiences. Shopping is a natural extension for the platform and yet another way for us to satisfy our audiences’ desire to easily purchase the products we recommend and stand behind.”
With additional reporting from Sara Jerde.