Instagram has launched shoppable tags on photos in a bid to enable retailers to promote and sell products through images shared via the network, allowing for purchases to be made directly through the app.

As of yesterday (November 2), 20 brands in the US, including Kate Spade, JackThreads and Warby Parker, can tag their pictures with products hidden behind a “tap to view product” button.

This provides Instagrammers with product details, price and further images – a “shop now” button will take those interested to the web where they can purchase the product.

“Most mobile shopping experiences today take people from the shop window right to check out – without giving consumers the opportunity to consider a product and get more information,” a spokesperson for Instagram commented.

‘Huge step’

Instagram currently allows retailers to promote their products via ads, but the new feature will be accessible to general posts. Shoppable tags is the latest in the series of efforts made by social media platforms to monetise their user base, after Instagram and Pinterest added the option to buy products displayed in pictures last year.

Romain Ouzeau, CEO of Instagram analytics company Iconsquare, lauded the new update, but expects there will be further developments needed before it’s a fully-mature part of the app.

“This is a huge step forward for Instagram as it aims to conquer new markets, but it will also face a challenge as businesses will now be able to measure the real ROI of Instagram.

“Will consumers buy products directly through Instagram or is it only a ‘discovery channel’? That is the big question, but I have no doubt that this new feature will be a success,” he commented.

Instagram is planning to release further functionality to the shoppable tags in due course, such as a ‘save for later’ button, and it will launch the feature across the US.