Since its inception, Instagram has been a powerful way for entertainers, brands, and influencers to reach audiences and expand their impact- and sales. Now, those looking to boost their outreach through the photo-oriented social media platform will have even more reason to seek more Instagram followers. That’s because Instagram is going to extend a service to merchants which will let them see what brands users bookmark.

At present, and for the foreseeable future, the vast majority of commerce on the Internet comes in the form of monetizing consumer research. This new Instagram feature will give merchants access to a powerful new form of consumer interest data. This is significant for a number of reasons, not least of which is the unparalleled directness of this type of information.

More often than not, user search data is just that- data. It only establishes a behavior pattern but does not tell marketers precisely what consumers intend, or wish, to purchase. In contrast to search histories, bookmarks do much more to alert brands to a potential purchase. An ordinary data point says, ‘This person has looked at this website.’ It does not indicate interest with much certainty. To ascertain certainty, you would have to see several visits to the same or similar sites over time- and of course, you would have to buy all of that data whether or not it adds up to a real lead.

Bookmark data, on the other hand, says ‘Person X has expressed manifest interest in product/service Y.’

That’s actionable intelligence. This is going to come in a bundle with a handful of analytic tools that Instagram is developing which will give subscribing brands a range of new ways to target their audiences.

The social media giant introduced its new toolset last month. Instagram product manager, Layla Amjadi said, “It’s a difficult thing to maintain all of the products that have piqued your interests across these multiple sites. That’s a problem that businesses told us they personally have and are excited for us to help them solve within Instagram.”

For consumers, it means bookmarking a product on Instagram means they will soon receive advertising related to similar products. What it does is send out a signal that merchants can lock onto to deliver the type of ads consumers are looking for. It’s a form of passive marketing that takes much of the guesswork out of putting together an advertising campaign and adds new meaning to the ‘Insta’ in Instagram.

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