I'd heard about Instagram's huge update a few weeks ago, but it wasn't until I saw the the public announcement, demo videos and functionality descriptions that I realised the enormous potential of the functionality.

What you're looking at here ladies and gentlemen is the 21st equivalent of product placement. The 21st spin on it is that is on a best content first algorithm timeline, that my friends is a thing of b-e-a-uty.

In a nutshell, the functionality allows businesses to tag their products in their posts like you would a friend in a Facebook photo. Clicking the tags take users to the individual product page on their website.

How can businesses utilise this best? Let me break it down basic-style for you with two examples, one good use of the function and one bad use of the function. I'll use a made-up headphone company called... erm... Jackrules:

#1 Good

  • Image: An image of a somebody alone with Jackrules AC82 headphones on with a slight smile.
  • Copy: The best kind of music is the music that reminds you of somebody else.
  • Shopping Tag: Link to Jackrules AC82

#2 Bad

  • Image: Stock photograph of the product.
  • Copy: Buy the new Jackrules AC82 headphones today.
  • Shopping Tag: Link to Jackrules AC82

The reason one is good, and one is bad is the best content first algorithm timeline. Yes it is true that the conversion rate of #1 will be lower, but the reach will be so much higher that conversions will outweigh the high-converting but low reaching example #2. We see this time and time again.

#1 Good*

Engagement rate: 10%

Reach: 100,000

Reach to click: 0.5%

Click to sale: 20%

Sales: 100

#2 Bad*

Engagement rate: 0.2%

Reach: 2,000

Reach to click: 2%

Click to sale: 25%

Sales: 10

*These statistics are estimated.