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BizReport : Social Marketing : August 26, 2019

Expert: How Instagram's Explore could impact brands

Instagram's Explore is setting the social platform up for even more ecommerce content. The move could help Instagram become a full funnel platform - giving consumers the ability to discover and purchase products in one place. But, some IG influencers and even some merchants worry about how the new offerings will impact their business.

by Kristina Knight

"The Explore page allows marketers to target new consumers, in real time, at the moment of interest based on the images and/or content they choose to view / explore. This is a highly targeted opportunity over a campaign with look-a-like audiences and frequency capped impressions," said Oz Etzioni, CEO, Clinch. "It provides a win-win situation for both brands and consumers, as brands get to hyper-target users who have shown very specific interest, while the consumers experience hyper-personalized ad content relevant to what interests them at that specific moment in time. I anticipate this feature will be extensively used by eCommerce marketers and will be a big driver in sales within Instagram in the near future."

It could, Etzioni believes, make Instagram the go-to for shoppers looking for their next purchase, and into the already trending need for stoppable content. This trend has been growing for the past few years as shoppers look for places where they can discover and buy in one place. For merchants, this is trend is a good thing. The less friction there is between product discovery and final purchase the more likely a shopper is to a) complete the purchase and b) return for another product. But, it could also make it harder for merchants to collect the right data about shoppers, making it essential for merchants to begin creating Instagram-specific strategies.

"On the one hand, the implications for merchants might be that less data is available on the user journey and less first-party data. However, on the other hand, the new feature could increase sales with less effort , in a more cost-effective way that will save the merchants on cost of driving the potential consumers progressively down the funnel all the way to a purchase, as it'll shorten the funnel stages and process duration from discovery to purchase," said Etzioni. "Each platform requires its own strategy and creative / experience execution as the users are using it to experience a specific experience / for specific reasons (e.g. more socializing, more content discovery, more purchase-oriented, etc.). Each platform and its audience are different- the brand's creative content and strategy should match the platform and the audience it's targeting on that platform."

That growing difference between giants Facebook - more social - and Instagram - more commerce - will be key for merchants moving forward. Although, Etzioni believes both Facebook and Instagram will remain important blocks for a holistic social strategy.

"Both platforms are still strong for all stages of the funnel and users usually consume content on both. Instagram will slowly take more of the eCommerce-oriented platform (discovery-to-purchase) while Facebook  will maintain the "social" aspect," said Etzioni. "For specific marketers such as ecommerce/retail in fashion, cosmetics, lifestyle , etc. [Instagram] is the most important channel. More brands need to find ways to produce "valuable" and "Instagram-worthy" content in order to attract attention and have impact within the platform. It is clearly the top platform for any brand who seeks an online conversion of any sort (purchase, registration, subscription, etc) especially for eCommerce brands, as that seems to be the future of the platform."

Tags: advertising, Clinch, ecommerce, instagram explore, instagram marketing, m:commerce, mobile marketing, social marketing

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