Instagram is expanding shoppable videos to IGTV—and is already planning to add them to its newly launched TikTok competitor, Reels, later this year.
The platform launched see-and-shop videos in 2018, but until today, they were only available on Instagram Live and Stories. With the feature, brands can create standalone videos that let viewers buy products while watching.
Adding this function to IGTV creates “a new way to sell in an inspirational and immersive way through long-form, edited video,” Instagram said.
This marks the first time Instagram has introduced a major ecommerce feature to IGTV, its somewhat lackluster vertical video venture. Sure, brands always had the ability to post videos about their own products on IGTV, but shoppable ads are unique because viewers can browse items and add them to a digital cart directly from the video, without pausing it. Once they’re ready to buy, they can checkout via the selling company’s website or Instagram’s Checkout service, introduced last year. (If a user finishes off their sale through Checkout, the company pays Instagram a fee. Instagram has not disclosed how much that fee is.)
For now, IGTV users can find shoppable videos on individual brands’ accounts; in the future, though, Instagram will add IGTV content to its dedicated Shop section, which arrived in July as a new part of the Explore tab.
As for Reels, adding ecommerce early could give the nascent app a leg up on TikTok, which has still not wrapped in any significant moneymaking features for brands or creators (though it has begun doling out bits of a $1 billion fund to some creators). Reels launched in August, as TikTok began facing increasing government pressure over its China-based owner ByteDance.
“By bringing shopping to IGTV and Reels, we’re making it easy to shop directly from videos,” Instagram COO Justin Osofsky said in a statement. “And in turn, helping sellers share their story, reach customers, and make a living.”
Last year, early users of Instagram’s ecommerce tools reported impressive increases in digital traffic. Sportswear company Adidas, for instance, saw a 40% jump in year-over-year sales, and a 17% increase in net profit from the previous quarter.