Instagram now lets you shop from Reels, its TikTok-alike
Instagram, Facebook’s photo-led social network has announced the arrival of shopping to Reels, its version of TikTok. The feature begins rolling out today and will allow users, businesses, and influencers to tag their posts with links to buy products featured, for users to click-through and buy, or save for later. Influencers can even add their own-branded tags to paid posts. Instagram first announced the addition of shopping on IGTV back in October, with a promise that testing in Reels would be followed by a launch in the coming months.
As first spotted at Techcrunch, the launch means that Instagram users can now shop across their news feed, stories, IGTV, and Live, as well as Streams. This represents an extremely important income stream for parent company Facebook. Because Instagram is such a visual medium, the ability to impulse-buy things as soon as you see them can be a huge money-spinner for both the seller and for Facebook which takes a commission on each sale. Instagram uses Facebook Pay and includes e-commerce features such as basket and checkout pages, meaning that users are not taken off-site when they make purchases.
The arrival of shopping within Reels is part of an aggressive program of upgraded functionality over the past few months, which includes the long-awaited interoperability with Facebook Messenger, as well as a revamp of the user interface. The changes have had a mixed, sometimes hostile reception from users who have objected to the increased visibility of Reels, and to the new ‘shopping’ tag on the home page.
It comes at a difficult time for Instagram. Yesterday, its parent company, Facebook, was served with a lawsuit sponsored by 48 US states, questioning its market dominance, its use of power, and proposing that the company be broken up. Under the proposals, this would mean the disposal of both Instagram and mobile messaging service WhatsApp, as the US attempts to reign in the dominance of its technology mega-corps.