#insta revolution in shopping experience

Instagram Becoming More Than Just a Photo App

We all love and use Instagram on a daily basis. Seeing all the filtered pretty photos makes us happy and going through a uniformly looking news feed full of cats, dogs, influencers, food and other things that we enjoy has almost a therapeutic effect on our stressful lives. However, Instagram is becoming much more than just a photo app cunningly exploiting our love towards it for brand promotion and now in-app payment. 


Since its launch in 2010 and takeover by Facebook in 2012, the number of Instagram users has reached 1 billion in 2018. It has undisputedly become one of the most significant social media sites. How did Instagram take over the world? 

First, its success was in making photos look cool. Suddenly, everyone was feeling artistic with the polaroid-shaped hipster-looking photos. The pre-set filters made even the lamest photos look extraordinary and artsy. Unlike other photo apps or websites, Instagram exudes simplicity and ease of use whereas a couple of clicks share your content with the entire world and myriad of its users.

When celebrities started using Instagram, that’s when it all clicked together for the ones who have a great admiration for celebrities no matter what their talent is or if they have one at all. 

However, Instagram matured from being just a photo app to being the main source for general advice, recipes, traveling ideas, a wide array of tutorials on makeup, exercise, DIY, brand awareness, and, of course, taking a sneak peek into the everyday life of the people on the follower list.

Additionally, Instagram opened up a plethora of opportunity for marketing, and now selling, as the platform is visibly becoming an unavoidable part of everyday lives. Brands are also using the social media influencers and celebrities to nonchalantly advertise clothing, cosmetic products, and services

Since influencers are all the rage among Ig users, their trend-setting lifestyle is being imitated by young adults by buying the same products or reproducing the content as authentically as possible.


It’s not that we don’t know who uses Instagram but some facts and figures might give us a clearer picture of the whole Instagram ordeal. The numbers are changing rapidly but here is what we know so far:

The Facebook study Coming of Age on Screens carried out in 2014, which focuses on the biggest user age group of 18-24 year-olds, shows the meaning behind their use of social media and tries to show that not all of them are motivated by superficiality. For example, 53% of Instagrammers in the study said the platform helps them define who they are, 56% said that the platform makes them feel more connected to the people they know, and 52% agreed that it gives them a sense of community, which can be important for those on the path of self-discovery.

A more ‘grown-up’ study showed that adults use it more as a creative outlet as well as for sharing, documentation, seeing, community, and therapy. It was also found that the adults are mostly drawn to the social news and entertainment on Instagram rather than political or controversial content.

Do not let these smooth words fool you because we are all aware that superficiality plays a big role in the motivation behind using the platform which is visible when the selfies come bursting out in everyone’s news feed. For example, according to a recent survey by Schofields, more than 40% of those under 33 prioritize ‘Instagrammability’ when choosing their next holiday spot. The tourist industry has thus cleverly used this for marketing.

Brands are also extremely important to the users of which 68% say they interact with brands regularly, whether it’s by looking at photos, liking content, following accounts, or visiting a website after discovering the respective content. 

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Instagram is making a decent buck due to its enormous power of advertising. Its shares are predicted to rise significantly and its revenue is expected to reach around 7 billion by the end of the year.

There are around 70% of businesses/brands estimated on the Instagram and 80% of users follow at least one business. The fact is that 70% of performance campaigns generated significant rise for online conversion and that more than 5% of Instagrammers, which is more than 5 million people, take action after being inspired by a post like visiting a website, searching, shopping or telling a friend.

Banks and other financial brands recognized the massive power of #instamarketing and are thus increasingly turning to using Instagram for promoting their human side and raising likability. Allianz, CITI, and J.P. Morgan are one of the most followed financial brands. 

They all recognized Instagram’s engagement ratio and the platform’s overall opportunity to have a dynamic and empathic outreach. These businesses tailor their posts according to the customers’ needs and share heartwarming human stories. Smaller banks are engaging more in an empathic communication with their clients and use stories to take them behind the scenes since they don’t need to get as many approvals as the bigger corporations and financial brands. 


Instagram is continuously striving to make everything easier including shopping which recently became available within a few clicks. Businesses are not restricted to using Instagram only for marketing purposes as they can increase revenue by selling via posts. Before this, Instagrammers had to tag designers’ profiles or use hashtags to guide buyers to purchase certain products. 


The feature was trialed in 2016 but made widely available in 2018. The posts that have buyable content will show a white shopping bag in the right upper corner of a photo’s thumbnail. Since Instagram is all about the uninterrupted browsing flow, a simple tap on the photo shows or hides the products (up to five per post) where you can see more details on individual products. Another step leads buyers to the business’s website where they can finalize their purchase.

Although Instagram hasn’t yet revealed all of the details, it has gone a step further in March this year by adding an option for buying within the app itself and is testing the grounds for a new in-app feature for booking and shopping. Currently, this option is only available for booking services from a limited number of businesses, and if that works, it will be extended to make shopping available. 



Instagram has added a native payment option within the app. Native Checkout works only for card payments and gives the option of creating a custom payment form so that customers never leave a certain website when booking or purchasing by a card payment. The feature, announced by Instagram in 2017, lets users add a credit or debit card and a PIN for additional security.

Payment settings are now made visible and they are backed by Facebook’s Payments rules which can be seen in terms of service.

These in-app payment features are a very powerful tool for businesses because that makes buying impulse quicker and presents a better opportunity for buyers to finalize purchases. Due to the ever rising number of users, Instagram proved to be an attractive platform for businesses and the new feature makes it even more promising for online shopping and for businesses to make more revenue than before.  


Even though we unfortunately do not hold the answers for what might happen in general future, following the Instagram’s evolution timeline we can give our best shot at predicting what the future will look like for Instagram. 

Some of trends that are expected to happen soon:

  • Capturing real-time content on Instagram will probably become more powerful and present.
  • Instagram will become crucial for brands, be it fashion or financial, for promotion, selling, and communication.
  • Progressing from shopping tags to native payment, Instagram will undisputedly expand its opportunity for shopping in the next years.