Instagram debuts tool to help creators earn commission on purchases

Dive Brief:

  • In a bid to increase their support for influencers and creators, Instagram and Facebook on Tuesday announced plans for new affiliate marketing and e-commerce features, according to a blog post

  • Select Instagram creators can already tag products from affiliate brands or sell their own products via the Shops feature. In the next few months, the platform will test a “native affiliate tool” that will enable creators to earn commissions on purchases they drive by sharing items with their followers.

  • Instagram and Facebook have also enhanced their badges on Instagram Live and Stars on Facebook, which help creators earn money from their followers. Instagram and Facebook users can now earn additional payouts when they achieve certain milestones, per the announcement.

Dive Insight:

The rollout of these e-commerce features builds upon Facebook and Instagram’s efforts to help users monetize their audience and products. In 2020, Instagram introduced monetization features for Instagram Live and IGTV and debuted Shopping in Reels to let merchants and creators tag their products. Earlier this year, the platform rolled out its Live Rooms feature to allow users to host virtual live rooms with up to three other users. 

To kick off this latest set of features, Instagram is testing out its affiliate program with select U.S.-based merchants and creators, including retailers and brands like MAC, Sephora and Pat McGrath. It will expand to more partners in the future, the company said. The social network also noted that select users could establish a shop and drive product launch sales with one of four companies: Bravado/UMG, Fanjoy, Represent and Spring. That feature will be available to all eligible U.S. creators by the end of the year.

“We want Instagram and Facebook to serve as a home base for creators to tell their story, grow and make a living,” the company wrote in its announcement. “Whether they are just starting out or are further along in building their business — we want to support creators and give them ways to accomplish their goals.”

Meanwhile, other social platforms are unveiling new features to capitalize on emerging social commerce trends. Earlier this week, Pinterest debuted its Shopping List feature, allowing users to save product pins and receive price reduction alerts. And last month, Snapchat and Poshmark teamed up to create Poshmark Mini, which lets Snapchat users browse select products, attend virtual shopping events and purchase items from top-selling brands on Poshmark all within Snapchat. 

Research suggests that livestream shopping and social commerce are on the rise. Per a report from Coresight Research, the livestreaming market is expected to grow to $6 billion by the end of this year and $25 billion by 2023. A 2020 report from Sprout Social found that the majority of shoppers purchase from brands they follow on social media, and they spend more with the brands they follow. Plus, 2020 research from Poshmark indicated that more than half of consumers were open to buying goods via social media instead of a company’s website, and three-fourths of shoppers would make purchases from other people online.

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