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Instagram shopping tags help you buy what you see

It wants to turn your photo ad views into purchases.
Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
November 1, 2016
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Ads in your Instagram feed may be irksome, but wouldn't it be nice if you could at least find out how much it would cost to buy those sweet shoes or stylish bags? Instagram sure does. It's starting to roll out shopping tags that identify the products in ads. Tap a button and you'll see the basic details of products in a photo ad; tap those products and you'll get both more details as well as links to visit their store pages on the web. You can't buy goods directly from Instagram right now (possibly a good thing), but you also don't have to scrounge through a retailer's website just to find what you saw a moment ago.

The tags are initially viewable only to a subset of iOS viewers in the US. Most of the early ad partners are fashion brands like Kate Spade and Warby Parker. Expansion to Android, video ads and other countries will follow as Instagram figures out how it can display and recommend products. Eventually, you'll have the option of saving products you like so that you can buy them later.

Despite what you might think, Instagram isn't taking a cut every time you tap a "shop now" link. Instead, it's all about convincing advertisers to line up -- they may be more likely to pay if they know that they can turn your ad view into a purchase within seconds. Also, the upcoming save feature is a not-so-subtle way of taking on Pinterest. While Pinterest isn't limited to saving products from ads, you might have less reason to check it out if you can bookmark inspiring products on Instagram.

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