Instagram Finally Gives More Users Access To Product Tagging

Edition #15

Happy Friday! Has anyone else's week flown by? Earlier this week, Instagram brought back the chronological feed, but it's not what you think. Instead of going back to the exact feed everyone loved, you can now choose between three different feed options, including Following, which shows posts chronologically from people you follow. Sadly, you cannot save this setting as the default, so you will have to select it every time you open the app. Instagram didn't give us exactly what we wanted, but it's better than nothing, right?

Today’s Edition:

  • Instagram expands access to product tagging to all users in the U.S.

  • Instacart and TikTok team up for Shoppable Recipes

  • Adidas gives over 50,000 student-athletes the opportunity to become brand ambassadors

Instagram Expands Access To Product Tagging To All Users In The U.S.

Instagram announced its expanding product tagging to all U.S.-based users. Previously, product tagging was only available to users with professional accounts (e.g., business, creator).

Over the coming months, all users will be able to tag products from brands with Instagram Shopping set up. Users can do so by uploading a photo or video, adding a caption, tagging a brand, tapping Tag Products to search for the business, and selecting the relevant product(s).

Brands who have products tagged will receive a notification and be able to view all content where their products are tagged. As with the Branded Content Tool, brands can also control who can tag their products.

As Instagram reports that 1.6 million users tag at least one brand every week, there should be an influx of shoppable content as users get access to and use product tagging in addition to brand tagging.

This will primarily benefit brands since more content users share featuring their products will be shoppable, allowing for in-app purchasing. Creators will also benefit since product tags help demonstrate their ROI to the brands they work with. Tracking and affiliate links are standard ways for measuring lower-funnel activities like clicks and conversions, but product tags provide a more accurate view of how creator content impacts conversions.

Unfortunately today, users won't receive any portion of sales when someone makes a purchase using a product tag in their photo or video, but I think that will change down the road. Currently, Instagram is testing a native affiliate tool with select creators. I believe the tool will eventually be rolled out to all users, enabling anyone to leverage product tags and earn sales commission.

What does expanded product tagging mean for influencer marketers? If conversions are a KPI for a campaign, creators should be asked to include product tags in their content as part of campaign deliverables. Using product tags eliminates additional steps audiences typically need to take when they want to purchase a product from Instagram but have to do so outside the app.

Industry News

YouTube previewed new features for YouTube Live. During a recent episode of Creator Insider, the video platform provided an early look at some of its soon-to-be-released live streaming features. They include:

  • Go Live Together: Creators can easily invite guests to go live with them by sharing a link. They can also view combined analytics and enable pre-roll and mid-roll ads for monetization.

  • Cross Channel Live Redirect: Creators with at least 1,000 subscribers can redirect their viewers from one live stream or premiere to a live stream or premiere on a different channel.

  • Live Q&A: Viewers can ask questions based on creators’ prompts during a live stream. Questions answered by creators are then temporarily pinned to the live chat.

YouTube's 2022 roadmap includes a healthy dose of updates, especially for its live-streaming product. Most of these updates already exist on other platforms such as Instagram Live and Twitch but will add a new dynamic to YouTube. They will empower creators with new ways to leverage real-time video to engage with their audiences. YouTube noted that live shopping is a priority this year, making robust live streaming experiences crucial to setting the foundation for live commerce.

Instacart revealed Shoppable Recipes on TikTok. The online grocery platform and TikTok are teaming up for a new product integration that allows creators to make their recipes shoppable across the short-form video app. Through the TikTok Jump program, creators can link ingredients from Instacart to their videos via a See Recipe button, where viewers can then purchase the ingredients in a few clicks. Creators will also earn payouts based on engagements and sales.

With over 62 billion views of #FoodTikTok, TikTok has a robust food community powered by creators. Instacart can capitalize on this popular, engaging content through Shoppable Recipes. Like other Jump integrations (e.g., Whisk, Quizlet, Rotten Tomatoes), the ability for creators to make their content actionable enables them to provide more value to their audiences.

What makes this integration different from previous ones is that creators can earn commissions for sales they drive, as I predicted last December. In the future, expect more Jump integrations to have an e-commerce component.

Adidas announced the launch of its new NIL network for student-athletes. As the first major sports apparel brand to launch a NIL network, Adidas will give over 50,000 student-athletes at 109 Adidas-sponsored schools across 23 D1 sports the opportunity to become paid affiliate Adidas brand ambassadors. In addition to affiliate earnings, some athletes will be offered "elevated opportunities at a brand partnership and entrepreneurial level."

The network is part of its mission to create a more equitable and inclusive future for sports. It will roll out in four phases this fall, beginning with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and the Power-5 Conference before expanding to all schools by April next year.

Adidas may be the first to launch this kind of network in the sports apparel market, but it won't be the last. We can expect other sports apparel brands like Nike and Under Armour and other companies to take similar steps. Nationwide NIL deals allow brands to quickly scale their student-athlete partnerships and get in front of the often hard-to-reach college demographic. At the same time, a more significant number of student-athletes can profit from their name, image, and likeness.

The NIL era is quickly approaching its one-year anniversary, and more brands are realizing the value of student-athletes as partners. Just in the last few weeks, dozens of brands have partnered with student-athletes to support March Madness.

Hubspot announced the launch of Hubspot Creators, an accelerator program for emerging creators. Starting with an initial cohort of eight podcasters, the customer relationship management (CRM) company will help creators grow through financial and resource support. In a similar way to a venture capital program, creators enter at the seed level and advance through tiers from Series A to Series C. With each tier, creators unlock more investment, such as incentives and operational support. Hubspot plans to eventually expand the program to other types of creators, such as YouTubers and newsletter writers.

It isn't hard to understand why companies like Hubspot want to play a more prominent role in the creator economy, considering how hot it is. Although Hubspot is not a name most would associate with the creator economy, the company is an expert in building media brands. With its expertise and network of professional talent ranging from marketing to sales to operations, it can benefit creators in a number of ways, such as distribution and monetization.

In addition to tying itself closer to the creator economy, which is something most companies are attempting to do, Hubspot and its Podcast Network will see benefits. By using the accelerator program as a feeder to the network, HubSpot can cultivate podcast talent that can help expand its digital footprint and influence.

Many creator accelerator programs today target the biggest talents. Hubspot is taking a different approach since even creators that don't have an audience yet are eligible, which is quite refreshing.

Shopify has entered the link-in-bio market. The e-commerce giant launched Linkpop, a new free link-in-bio tool. It allows creators to share up to 200 links (e.g., websites, articles, videos, playlists, etc. ), access built-in analytics tools, and integrate their Shopify store to sell products. Although anyone can use Linkpop, shoppable links are only available to Shopify merchants.

The link-in-bio market is oversaturated but a power player joins the fray with Shopify's entry. Linkpop has many of the same features as other link-in-bio tools like Linktree, but its native shopping capabilities set it apart. Creators can connect their Shopify storefronts to convert their fans into customers. With more creators dipping their toes into e-commerce, providing a seamless experience will encourage their audience to purchase their products and services.

Link-in-bio tools have become the go-to way for creators to monetize traffic from their social media accounts. Although traditional websites and e-commerce landing pages are common, these types of tools are becoming more sophisticated; therefore, creators may choose these in the future due to their light setup and ease of use.

Viewers Recall Specific Brands Highlighted In YouTube Influencer Videos 68% Of The Time

EMarketer's Video Redefined study shows that 68% of teens and adults remember the names of specific brands mentioned in YouTube influencer videos.

Also, 81% of 13-34-year-olds and 93% of those 35 and older have purchased or considered purchasing a product endorsed by a YouTuber influencer.

Short-form videos, in general, might be the rage these days, but long-form creator-generated YouTube content has a lot of power, especially when it comes to driving brand recognition, recall and purchase consideration.

What I’m Reading

  • Here’s why your LinkedIn feed looks so different these days (Fast Company)

  • The rise of the everyday creator (Shopify)

  • Patreon CEO Jack Cote on his $4 billion company’s future and the creator economy (Fast Company)

  • Podcasters posed to benefit as influencer marketing budgets continue to grow (Inside Radio)

  • The plan is to become the number one in fit’: How Cassey Ho of Blogilates and Popflex built a fitness ecosystem (Modern Retail)