Instagram Extends Shopping Features Ahead Of Wider Roll-out
Following the recent launch of Facebook's bumper ecommerce launch, Instagram has expanded Instagram Shopping to incorporate more types of businesses, including creators (i.e. influencers) that want to connect with shoppers and sell their merchandise on Instagram.
"Whether you are a candle business making a foray into e-commerce, a musician selling merch or a food blogger expanding into your own cookware line, any eligible business or creator account with at least one eligible product can use shopping tags to drive people to their website to make a purchase.
US businesses that are part of our checkout beta on Instagram can drive people to purchase directly in-app."
With the opening up of Instagram Shopping, Instagram has released new and more expansive criteria which need to be met.
The updated requirements go into effect on 9 July in all countries where Instagram Shopping is supported, including Australia and New Zealand.
Facebook Tick boxes Galore
Firstly, comply with Facebook's bourgeoning base of platform policies.
In addition, lack of compliance with all policies, including Facebook's Merchant Agreement, Commerce Policies, Ads Policies and Pages, Groups and Events Policies, may result in loss of access to Facebook Commerce surfaces, Commerce features or may lead to your account being disabled.
FYI – Facebook is pinging and disabling accounts like nobody's business at the moment.
Affiliate marketers, dropshippers and influencers spruiking other people's random bikini body, teeth-whitening, eardrops need not apply.
The account can't serve as a front for others, i.e. the Amazon affiliate program.
You Can Only Sell Items From Your Store
Your Facebook Page or Instagram professional account must contain product listings that are available for direct purchase from your website or Checkout on Facebook or Instagram.
Your Facebook Page or Instagram professional account must represent the shop or website associated with the domain provided, or you may be required to complete Facebook's domain verification process.
While Instagram and Facebook Shopping are supported in most western markets (incl. AU/NZ), Checkout on Facebook and Instagram is currently only supported in the United States. Launched in 2019, Checkout offers a more seamless shopping experience akin to Amazon's one-click-buy.
On the other hand, for influencers that have their own line of bikini body, teeth-whitening, eardrops, they should get ready to make it rain… maybe.
"Your Facebook account and Page or Instagram professional account must have demonstrated trustworthiness through an authentic, established presence. This may also include maintaining a sufficient follower base."
In other words, if Facebook detects any foul play related to buying, followers, likes, etc. or maybe even pod behaviour that could come back to haunt merchants.
Similarly, Facebook user customer feedback will likely feature into how Facebook judges merchant credibility, much like it does with ad behaviour.
Be Kosher Or Go Home
Facebook launched Customer Feedback Score in in 2018.
The customer feedback score runs from 0 – 5 and is determined from a variety of sources; including surveys from people who make purchases through ads on Facebook products to help verify whether the advertiser is accurately representing the products delivered to customers. These scores are updated on a continual basis, based on the most recent feedback.
For applicable businesses, if your Page's score drops to two or below, your Page will be penalised.
Pages with a score between two and one will see a delivery penalty applied to its ads, meaning that they'll reach fewer people for the same budget.
If your Page's score drops to one or below, it will automatically be disabled from running ads.
Lastly, product information listed on Facebook Commerce surfaces must contain accurate pricing and availability information.
Your refund and return policies must be displayed and easily accessible from your website or on Facebook or Instagram.
Failure to satisfy these requirements at any time may lead to loss of access to Facebook Commerce surfaces, Commerce features or may lead to your account being disabled.
Facebook Commerce surfaces include, but are not limited to, Facebook Shops, Facebook Page Shops, Marketplace Shops, Live Shopping and Instagram Shopping.
When businesses sign up for Instagram Shopping, they will be notified as soon as they are approved and ready to start tagging products.
If a business is not approved, Instagram claims that it will "offer a clear reason so they can take the necessary action or appeal." Although, given how painful Facebook moderation and approvals are at the moment, smooth sailing may well be wishful thinking…