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All About Instagram for eCommerce

Instagram is today one of the favourite platforms for online marketing. From posts and stories to influencers partnerships and branded content, to sponsored posts and ads, almost every kind of business can benefit from Instagram. Since we at DataFeedWatch are all about eCommerce, today we want to focus on how online retail businesses can leverage Instagram to build their brand and increase sales.





Why Instagram is so great for retail


Shopping on Instagram


Instagram Dynamic Ads


Instagram Checkout




Why Instagram is so great for retail


Facebook, which owns Instagram, stated in a 2019 study that "Instagram plays a key role at every step of the purchase process. People use the platform to discover what's trending, research products before buying and decide whether or not to make a purchase. Each of these moments offers touch-points on Instagram where marketers can drive action."





People surveyed in the study also said that they took the following actions after seeing a product or service on Instagram: 




After all, we all know we spend a lot of time on Instagram and most of this time is spent looking at "product-heavy" content. Be it our dream holiday destination or the summer outfit we always wanted to buy. The above stats definitely don't come as a surprise! Now, what you as an eCommerce marketer can do about it? Well, Instagram offers three main products for eCommerce businesses:

  1. Shopping on Instagram
  2. Instagram Dynamic Ads
  3. Instagram Checkout (beta)

Let's explore them!

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Shopping on Instagram


While scrolling your feed or watching stories on Instagram you might have encountered posts like the one below 

Instagram revamps the Explore tab to ensure brands' presence in the center of culture. This way business accounts may reach new audiences. Followers who are focused on discovering new things.






Essentially, what you are seeing are products tagged in Instagram posts or stories. If you tap on the product tags (or product stickers in stories), you will land on an Instagram-hosted product detail page like the one shown below.




These product pages show a large image of the product, the name, the price, the brand name and also a description which can be viewed when expanding the "Description" tab just under the "View on Website" CTA. After clicking on the large blue CTA, users land on product pages on the advertisers' site. So they can add that item to the basket and complete a purchase. Also, a new Shop tab is now visible in brands' profiles, which gathers all the products tagged in posts and stories. 




Getting Started with Shopping on Instagram


Getting started with Shopping on Instagram is not really straightforward and requires quite a few tricky steps. But don't worry, we'll show you step by step how to get there!


#1 Make sure your country is eligible for Shopping on Instagram


All the major western countries are now eligible for Shopping on Instagram, but it worth having a check at this link to make sure yours is eligible too. 


#2 Make sure you have an Instagram business account 


Having an Instagram business account is a requirement for Shopping on Instagram. If your account is not a business account yet, it is super easy to set it up. Check out how to set up a business account on Instagram


#3 Connect your Facebook page to your Instagram business account 

This is also easy to do. You can connect your Facebook page to your Instagram account either through the Facebook Page Settings or through your Facebook Business Manager Settings.






#4 You sell physical goods only 

As of October 2019 Shopping on Instagram is only available for retail businesses. Services are not supported. 


#5 Create your product catalogue 

Your product catalogue can be a simple .csv file. Make sure your product feed fields are in the correct format. You can download a template feed from this link and learn more here

Also, be sure you don't make these 6 Common Feed Errors in Facebook Dynamic Product Ads

Ensuring your feed is well-formatted and contains product information as accurate as possible will be essential for your Shopping on Instagram success. Once you have your feed ready, it is time to upload it.


#6 Upload your product catalogue on Facebook 


There is no way to upload your product catalogue directly onto Instagram. Rather, you have to go through the Catalogue section in Facebook Business Manager. This is the same place from where you would manage your product catalogue for Facebook Dynamic Ads. 

In fact, if you are already advertising with Facebook Dynamic Ads, you will be able to use the very same product catalogue.




As previously mentioned, only eCommerce catalogues are eligible for Shopping on Instagram.



Select "Upload Product Info", unless you work with Shopify or BigCommerce and want to connect them to Facebook.





Now that you have created your catalogue, it is time to connect a product data source to it.




Select "Use Data Feeds", just unless you have very few products and you want to upload them manually 



Select "Set automatic file upload schedule" so Facebook will automatically fetch your feed on a schedule that you choose. Once a day, once a week, etc Enter your feed URL. 




#7 Connect your Instagram business account to your catalogue 

Now that your product data feed has been uploaded and linked to your Facebook catalogue, you can finally connect it to Instagram.

In the Catalogue section in Facebook Business Manager select your catalogue and click on "Use cases" in the left-hand-side menu.


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If you followed all the instructions you should see "Instagram Shopping" as an additional option. Click on it and then click on "Connect Profile". Select "Add a new Instagram Business Profile" and log in to your Instagram business account. You will have connected a catalogue to your Instagram business account! 


#8 Sign in for Shopping and submit your Instagram account for review 

Once your account and catalogue are connected, open the Instagram app to sign up for Shopping. Go to your profile settings, tap "Business" and tap "Shopping on Instagram". 


Follow the steps to submit your account for review. Usually, the process takes a few days, but sometimes it can take longer. You can visit Shopping in Settings at any time to check your review status. 

Once you've been approved, you'll receive notifications from Instagram and complete setup in Shopping to start tagging products in your posts and stories! 


#9 Tag your products in your Instagram posts or stories


  • Posts: create a post, tap the products in the photo that you want to tag. Enter the names of the products then select them as they appear in the search box.
  • Stories: while creating a story, select the product sticker from the sticker tray. Select the product from your catalogue that you want to feature. Move the product sticker to where you would like it to appear in your story.


#10 (Optional) Run Shopping Posts as Ads 

Facebook recently allowed advertisers to promote Shopping Posts on Instagram. All you have to do is going to your Facebook Ads Manager and select "Existing Post" when creating a new ad. Select Instagram from the menu and choose your post. It couldn't be easier! 

Note: promoted Shopping Posts can run on Instagram Feed only. Therefore, you want to create a specific ad set with Instagram Feed selected as the only placement.



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You may also find interesting: How NOT to Sell on Instagram: 12 Common Mistakes & How to Avoid Them


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Instagram Dynamic Ads


While Shopping on Instagram is an Instagram-specific feature, you always need to remember that the photo-sharing platform is also part of Facebook. This means that any ad type that runs on Facebook can also run on Instagram. It is just a matter of selecting the right placement when creating Facebook Ads campaigns.





If you are reading this post chances are you are already familiar with the Facebook Ads platform and its ad formats. Facebook and Instagram Dynamic Ads are without any doubt the most powerful ad format for eCommerce. 


They show a carousel of products that users have previously engaged with on your website or that they would be most likely interested about. For example, you might want to retarget users with products that they abandoned in the basket. Or you might want to show some specific products to users who already made a purchase and are looking for additional accessories and upgrades. 


You can create a Dynamic Ads campaign selecting the Catalogue Sales campaign objective in the Facebook Ads platform.




If you have already uploaded a product catalogue for Shopping on Instagram, then you can use the same for Facebook Dynamic Ads. You simply need to select the correct catalogue during the campaign creation. 


As said, Facebook Dynamic Ads can run on both Facebook and Instagram. They enhance your Instagram marketing strategy covering a lower section of the purchase funnel. 


Ideally, you want to reach new potential customers through Shopping Posts and then retarget them through Dynamic Ads. 

We covered the topic of Facebook Dynamic Ads extensively on our blog. Have a look at Facebook Product Ads for Retailers: All the INs and OUTs and How To Use Custom Labels for Facebook Dynamic Ads to know more about it!


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Instagram Checkout


The checkout on Instagram functionality is the latest addition from the Menlo Park firm. It basically allows users to purchase from their favourite brands directly on Instagram without leaving the app. 




When tapping a product tag in a Shopping Post on Instagram, users land on a product detail page. Instead of seeing the usual "View on Website" CTA, they would see "Checkout on Istagram". 


From there, users will be able to seamlessly place an order directly from the app. It goes without saying that this has the potential to be a game-changer for the eCommerce industry! 


Unfortunately, this functionality is still in closed beta and available in the US only. For the moment only a selected group of fashion & beauty brands can avail of this feature.


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For eCommerce marketers the challenge is to maximize the chances of making a sale and increase revenue and profit. Instagram is proving to be your perfect partner for achieving these goals. Make sure to check out our other article on the top Instagram updates to take advantage of in 2020. More Instagram for eCommerce news coming soon!

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Written by Magdalena Kiczek

Creative & Communications Manager at DataFeedWatch

Feed Marketing Geek, passionate about marketing in all shapes and forms — content-based in particular. Keen enthusiast of traveling, psychology, and movies.


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