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Tips sheet: Instagram seeks to attract creators with more native affiliate shopping and testing tools

Instagram is working to make its platform more attractive to merchandise creators as well as those looking to explore affiliate commerce.

On Tuesday, June 8th, during its first Creator Week, Instagram launched two new shopping features for creators. The platform will begin testing a native affiliate tool in the coming months that will allow creators in the US to earn commissions on certain purchases. Another new shopping product, available globally today, will allow creators to link their merchandise site to their businesses and now to creator profiles.

As more brands make influencer marketing part of their strategy, the content creation and social commerce tool platforms made available to creators become more important: more influencer testing leads to better tools that attract more influencers, which, in turn, they attract brands and retailers.

Key Details:

  • Instagram’s native affiliate tool is still in the testing phase and only US partner brands include Benefit, Kopari, MAC, Pat McGrath Labs and Sephora. The test will involve a “small number of creators,” said Facebook; the platform didn’t provide a specific number or timeline on when this will be released to more brands and influencers. The platform waived all fees yesterday for breeders until 2023.
  • Starting today, creators who own a merchandise line will be able to link their products not only to their merchant account, but also to their personal creative account.

Monkey see monkey do

The pandemic was a catalyst for the influencers’ space. With people trapped at home and on phones, brands turned to influencers to reach their customers on social media.

Instagram is feeling the pressure to do more for creators, especially when rival platforms such as Snapchat, TikTok, YouTube and Pinterest are already hosting influencer meetings, accelerator programs and fundraising initiates.

Instagram’s waiver of sales fees and affiliate space analytics can help move the needle when it comes to social commerce.

“Each [social] app will have a developer trade component. It’s here to stay,” said Chris Lamontagne, CEO of Spring, a merchandising platform for creators.

More platforms, more revenue

Either way, Instagram’s new features will be additional tools for creators to monetize their relationships with their fans.

While most creators start on one platform, they often expand their presence to other platforms as a way to grow their following and become more attractive to brands seeking additional reach. Just 9% of US influencers said affiliate links and promo codes were their top source of revenue, according to an April 2021 survey by eMarketer. Nearly 70% of influencers said brand collaborations were their main source of revenue.

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