Instagram is the top destination for brands. Our latest Q4 research on the State of Social Commerce supports this statement. Interestingly, the results show that 36% of people surveyed recalled Facebook Marketplace as their most recent social shopping destination. However, the leading destination for brands was Instagram with 23% and then TikTok followed with 14% of the vote.
Driving traffic and sales is a heavy investment in both time and advertising budget for brands. And, as we know, with the average person spending 2.5 hours a day on social media, the need to convert shoppers from social and make it a great experience is top of a digital marketer's to do list.
To help, we have compiled Six Recommendations for Brands on Instagram. The recommendations come from the Instagram Mystery Shopper Report. A first party research project undertaken by the SimplixityDX research team.
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The Instagram Mystery Shopper Report
In 2020, Instagram launched its social commerce checkout and 26 brands signed up as early adopter references. Innovators and major brands such as Michael Kors, Prada, Nike, Burberry and Dior were on that list and hopes were high. The SimplicityDX research team bought and returned products for all of these brands to test the experience, looking to find the best-in-class customer experience.
SimplicityDX’s Instagram benchmark methodology entailed reviewing the 26 Instagram launch brands anonymously, from a shopper’s perspective. The purchase experience from browsing to returning includes seven markers: 1) navigation, 2) consistency, 3) product, 4) checkout, 5) communication, 6) post-purchase and 7) returns. The full report, “Instagram Social Commerce – Mystery Shopper Results,” details the findings and is available as a complimentary download at https://simpldx.com/instagramshopreport.
Six Key Recommendations for Brands on Instagram
Based on The SimplicityDX Mystery Shopper Research, our recommended approach for brands is as follows:
1. Don’t use social checkout
The established pattern of “discover on social, buy on the brand site” should be the model going forward for most brands. This ensures that brands are building a customer base that they have consent to market to and is how the majority of customers want to buy. This is also aligned with Instagram’s refocusing on advertising and away from social checkout.
The most recent results from our Q4 addition of the State of Social Commerce survey shows that 66% of people surveyed prefer to checkout on the brand site.
2. List products
Brands should upload their entire product catalogs into Instagram (and other social networks) since this connects aspirational lifestyle imagery with products that can be purchased. Customers should then be directed to the brand site to purchase.
3. Tag Posts
Brands and their social agencies need to ensure that every product featured in posts is tagged. When brands emphasized the tagging of products in posts of all kinds and adverts the journey worked great. It is clearly quite an intensive process to tag every product, but it really pays off when it comes to customer experience and is likely to result in higher sales.
4. Show promotions on social
While challenging for brands, especially during peak periods, we recommend reflecting seasonal promotions on social. This ensures that price is consistent across social and online channels. Driving traffic to the brand site eliminates inventory synchronization issues.
5. Fasten Seat Belts for Landing
Brands directing social traffic to their e-commerce stores frequently direct traffic onto product detail pages. This causes an experience “hard landing” as the aspirational context is replaced with a hard transactional experience, resulting in high bounce rates and low conversion rates. We recommend brands soften these landings with a blend of social and product content to drive engagement and nurture the sale.
6. Think Social + Email + Retargeting
Social media is a great place for new customer acquisition, enabling brands to showcase products in an aspirational context not possible on their brand site. But new customers rarely buy on the first visit. Encouraging these new visitors to subscribe to brand communications and use of retargeting to drive repeat visits will encourage purchases over time. Consequently, social teams need to work closely with their email colleagues to synchronize efforts around new subscriber acquisition.
To read the Instagram Mystery Shopper results for yourself and view the brand analysis and best practice advice please visit:
Coinciding with the study findings, SimplicityDX has also made the Benchmarking Service available for retail brands. This online survey enables retailers to benchmark their own Instagram shopping experiences against the 26 leading brands selected by Meta to launch Instagram Shop.
The service is free, confidential, and provides a custom report based on a 10-minute series of self-guided, customer experience questions. The Instagram Benchmarking Service is available at https://simpldx.com/instagramshopservice.