In March 2022, Instagram announced that it will allow any user 18 years or older to tag products directly on their Instagram posts.
That means, when someone posts about the new shoes they just bought, they can include a link to the specific product, so long as that product is available through Instagram Checkout.
Click the product tag in their Instagram post, and you’ll be taken directly to a page where you can purchase the new pair of kicks.
For brands, universal product tagging should be a great thing. Now, when customers are talking about your product on Instagram, there’s a more direct way for them to push their friends to view the product. Having a checkout option directly in-app is likely to increase conversions.
Instagram also seems to be betting that democratizing product tags will convince more brands to upload their products into Instagram Checkout. Because product tagging essentially gives you free extra publicity, brands that previously didn’t see the benefit in Instagram Checkout are likely to give it a second look now.
Instagram Checkout is the platform’s in-app payment tool. Users who have signed up for Instagram Checkout save their shipping address and their payment methods into Instagram itself, allowing them to make quick purchases directly on the app. When buying through Instagram Checkout, you never have to click over to an external website.
When you sign up for Instagram Checkout through your business account, you upload your product catalog, as well as your shipping options and return policy, directly into the app. Instagram charges businesses a 5% commission on sales referred through the platform.
There are plenty of reasons why brands should upload their product catalog into Instagram. But if you do opt to use Instagram Checkout, you have to be aware of the ways that anyone can tag you.
Instagram once limited product tagging only to each brand’s approved creators, which gave brands a lot of control over who could tag their products in posts. Now, tagging is open to anyone by default.
The downside is that people might end up tagging your products in ways you don’t approve.
For instance, if someone is negative about your product and decides to tag it on Instagram, in the worst case scenario they might be inviting their followers to leave negative reviews of the product. You want to be attentive to make sure the tagging system isn’t being abused.
There also might also be public figures that you don’t want your brand to be associated with who might start tagging your products in their posts. Or the photos might feature your products alongside other imagery with which you don’t want to be associated.
That’s why brands should be careful not to take a hands-off approach to product tags. Here’s what you can do.
If someone is repeatedly making negative posts about your products and tagging them in it, you can remove their right to add tags of your products at all. Go to the offending post, tap the four-dot button, click “Post options,” and “Remove all tags from post” to get rid of the product tags.
If you’re getting too much negative feedback, or if managing the influx of product tags is becoming a stress, you can turn off tagging for the general public. In Instagram, hit View shop > Settings > Privacy > Posts. From there, you can select “Product tags” and uncheck “Allow all.” The benefit of this approach is that it turns off product tagging for the general public, but the influencers you work with—who you should be sure are listed among your Shopping Partners on Instagram—will still be able to tag your products by default.
Product tagging is going to send a lot of new traffic to your Instagram account, including your Instagram Shop, and that means you’re going to need to have customer support agents who can meet your new customers where they are. As more people buy products off of Instagram, they’re going to want to be able to interact with brands without having to leave the app. Chatdesk Teams provides flexible customer support teams who are Superfans of your products, and they can respond to inquiries directly in the comments or DMs on Instagram.