New features on Instagram, Pinterest and TikTok accelerate social commerce competition

by Krish Karthik
New features on Instagram, Pinterest and TikTok accelerate social commerce competition

On Monday, Instagram made some changes to the way brands and influencers interact, which will make it easier for the two to do business, a representative for the platform said.

There are two big changes. First, influencers can tag up to two brands in a sponsored content post. They can then request brand approval through the app to have their post officially designated as branded content. Brands can see which other brands are tagged and can approve the post automatically. The post can be posted with or without approval, but the “Paid Partnership” tag and brand name will not appear until approved.

Second, brands can now see data and information for every Reels and Sponsored Live post they are tagged with. Influencers have access to information on the posts they tag since May 24. Brands can now view analytics on performance, engagement, and reach. It comes shortly after Instagram released its Drops Feature , which launched in late May.

The new features are among the new features introduced by social platforms from Instagram to TikTok to Pinterest last month. Each is an effort to compete for the lucrative social commerce market. Social commerce in the United States is expected to grow 34% this year to $ 36 billion , according to eMarketer. In 2020, eMarketer saw a 38% growth in social commerce sales, exceeding its projection of 20% growth. Social trade is already massive in Asia, especially in China where it represents 300 billion dollars.

Instagram’s new Drops feature allows brands to announce upcoming drops, create buzz, and release limited-edition products at a specific time, much the same way streetwear brands like Supreme work. A representative from Charlotte Tilbury, one of the first five brands to use the new Drops feature, said the brand will continue to use the feature in the coming weeks.

Some big names have touted the success of Instagram Shopping, like Sephora, which joined the program last year. Carolyn Bojanowski, general manager of Sephora’s e-commerce business, told Quartz on June 1 that there are “all indications that [social commerce is] going to be big” next year.

Pinterest also heard from social commerce on Monday. It launched a two-week revolving online store with exclusive products from DTC brands. The store is called The Goods and includes Outdoor Voices in its first batch of brands. Aya Kanai, head of content and creator partnerships at Pinterest, said the platform’s shopping pages saw a 200% increase in engagement between March 2020 and March 2021, while downloads from Merchant products have increased 14-fold over the same period.

“We see shopping as an experience, as opposed to a transaction,” Kanai said. “What our pinners love about shopping on Pinterest is that they can make purchases based on the inspiration they find through boards, ideas they’ve saved and even the real world with. our Lens camera search function. ”

TikTok, the group’s newest under five, is also testing social commerce. As of last month, the platform was piloting a social commerce program in the UK and parts of South East Asia, with a focus on streetwear brands. While TikTok has yet to make any formal announcements about plans for a global Instagram Shop rival, it’s probably just around the corner.

Despite the lack of a dedicated store page like Instagram, TikTok’s merchant ads have proven to be popular. Brie Olsen, Brand Director at PacSun, said she credits the brand’s presence on TikTok as one of the main reasons the brand ranked third, in teenage preference, at Piper Sandler ” Taking stock with teens ” Spring 2021 report.

“We’re beta testing the purchasable ads with TikTok, and it’s something we’re really excited to develop,” Olsen said.

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