Is Instagram Testing an “Orders” Story Sticker?
By Iris Hearn
As Instagram continues to add new shopping-focused features to its platform, users are spotting apparent “tests” to integrate these features with the rest of the platform.
Most recently, Twitter user Matt Navara spotted an “orders” sticker within Instagram Stories that appeared alongside the existing stickers.
New! Instagram is testing an ‘Order’ sticker for Stories! pic.twitter.com/6zkqMw0eTt— Matt Navarra (@MattNavarra) May 28, 2019
While Navara’s tweet didn’t specifically say what the sticker was designed to do, we can assume that the green dollar sign icon alongside the “order” text suggests that users can make a purchase of the product featured. It’s unclear if this would utilize Instagram’s “Checkout” feature, or if it would link out to an existing site, similar to Instagram’s “Swipe Up” CTA feature.
Is this feature coming to Instagram?
According to Mashable, an Instagram spokesperson commented on the feature, stating that the company is not testing any kind of “order” Stories sticker, and thus is not considering expanding its in-app shopping features.
So, how do we explain the sighting?
The most obvious answer is that while the order feature may not make its way to Instagram in the form we see it now, this is a sign that Instagram is in the process of experimenting with various iterations of shopping features, some of which may never make it to an official launch.
What we do know for sure is that Instagram has certainly been pushing shopping in the past few months. The company has recently rolled out in-app shopping to select brands, and most recently expanded that feature to allow select influencers access to “Checkout” tags that will also enable users to check out in-app.
Knowing this, it’s possible designers are testing many features to see the most logical next step in the process.
It’s well-known that Instagram makes the majority of its money from ad revenue, but at a certain point, it can’t cloud our entire feed with ads. So, why not explore more opportunities within Stories?
While it currently offers both photo and video ads in between users’ Stories, the platform has yet to fully monetize the Stories feature for brands and users outside of this feature.
The “order” feature could allow Instagram an opportunity to better showcase brand products within the space that users are actually viewing, instead of them tapping out of ads between the content they’re looking to view.
From a marketer’s standpoint, this could offer several benefits as well. It’s been shown that Instagram influences shopping behavior at various stages of the funnel, and offering more features that allow brands to capitalize on this in a more meaningful way increases the chance of driving action from marketing efforts. In such a cluttered landscape, standard display ads won’t always be the most effective option.
Clearly, Instagram seems to be recognizing this and is opting to help brands diversify their offerings to drive more bottom of the funnel actions. This “orders” button, if rolled out, reduces friction in the buying cycle, and can drive more purchases if a user sees a product via Stories instead of needing to find the same product on the brand’s website.
While we may not see the “orders” feature rolled out in the exact format we saw in Navara’s sceenshot, we can expect that Instagram may want to utilize this opportunity and roll out a shopping-focused Stories sticker in the near future.
For social media platforms, finding a balance between showing paid advertising content while prioritizing the organic content users love is an ever-present struggle.
One one hand. platforms need money from ad revenue to sustain themselves. On the other, their users don’t enjoy seeing an influx of advertisements on their feed.
Like we see with this new “orders” sticker experiment, platforms seem to be testing ways to monetize the content users actually enjoy seeing, rather than sticking in ads to disrupt their experience.
If done successfully, this can be a win-win for both the user, the advertiser, and ultimately the platform itself.
So keep on the lookout for these features to roll out, and be sure to take advantage of ad formats that add to — rather than detract from — the users' on-platform experience.
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