[SMK] Social Media Knowledge


Instagram Kills Live Shopping In March

Instagram is no longer interested in live stream shopping. From 16 March 2023, users will no longer be able to tag products while running a live broadcast.

Meta’s latest rollback follows a similar move in 2022, where it also culled shopping on Facebook Live. Both moves demonstrate how hard it’s been to make live stream shopping successful in Western markets.

Instagram Help Centre

Beginning on March 16, 2023, you will no longer be able to tag products in live broadcasts on Instagram. This change will help us focus on products and features that provide the most value to our users.

You will still be able to set up and run your shop on Instagram as we continue to invest in shopping experiences for people and businesses across feed, stories, Reels, ads and more.

Other live broadcasting features will be unaffected, including the ability to schedule a live broadcast, to invite guests to join your live broadcast, and to hold a live Q&A.

While incredibly popular in Asia, where WeChat, Taobao Live and Douyin have made money hand-over-fist from live stream shopping, the success is yet to translate to the West.

TikTok has gone through similar pains on the live shopping front, yet unlike Meta, it doesn’t seem ready to throw in the towel, with new channel partnerships announced towards the end of 2022.

TikTok Spokesperson via The Financial Times, October 2022

“When it comes to market expansion for TikTok Shop we are always guided by demand and are constantly exploring new and different options for how we can best serve our community, creators and merchants in markets around the world. These efforts include exploring partnerships which further support a seamless ecommerce experience for merchants, which is an important part of our ecosystem.”

Even as the global pandemic ushered in an era of online shopping, customers remained unconvinced by live stream shopping. Things have now essentially returned to normal on the ecommerce front, and bricks and mortar stores’ popularity has returned to pre-pandemic levels.

Meta is sharpening the axe

The change is part of Meta’s “year of efficiency”. As dystopian as that sounds, it basically means that Meta will focus on becoming leaner.

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO, Meta, via Tech Crunch

We’re going to be more proactive about cutting projects that aren’t performing or may no longer be as crucial. But my main focus is on increasing the efficiency of how we execute our top priorities.”

As part of its efficiency drive, Meta has also laid off more than 11,000 people to focus on being “stronger and more nimble”. That means we can probably expect more features and products to be axed in 2023.

Reels and AI – or content recommendations to you and me – look like the ‘top priorities’ that will keep Meta’s focus through the coming year.

The future of Instagram shops

The removal of live stream shopping isn’t the only shopping change Instagram has introduced recently. It has also removed the Shop tab from the navigation bar at the bottom of the app. While its removal doesn’t signal the total death of shopping, it does signpost where Instagram’s priorities lie.

Businesses will still be able to set up and run a shop on Instagram, but they will not be as accessible to users. Of course, that could prompt a vicious cycle in which fewer brands put effort into Insta shopping, so Instagram sees less money to be made via the feature and relegates it further down its list of priorities until it ceases to exist.

But, for now, Meta remains focused on shopping. However, a report in The Information and shared on Reuters says it will be scaled back. Instagram will test a simpler version of the shopping page that includes less personalised recommendations.

Don’t fret, use these key products instead

Despite this pivot away from shopping, Meta still has some key shopping ads that marketers could utilise. After all, Meta is still very much invested in ecommerce, albeit more from an advertising perspective, rather than becoming a shopping platform itself.

Meta’s Advantage+ Shopping Campaigns are a particular highlight.

Powered by machine learning, Advantage+ allows brands to automate campaign creation and optimisation. Meta says this feature can give advertisers a 12% lower cost-per-purchase conversion than business-as-usual ads.

Launched last year, Advantage+ Shopping Campaigns use automation to eliminate the manual steps of ad creation.


“Advantage+ shopping campaigns help advertisers get smarter and faster on which campaigns are converting. This helps advertisers more quickly learn what ads are working, while making the most of their advertising budget.”

According to Meta, small businesses can also experience the benefits of Advantage+ campaigns as they automatically adjust ad creative for each person who views an ad, and creates a personalised audience based on your Page details and adjusts it over time.

So, instead of live shopping, marketers can focus on hitting customers via more traditional advertising routes – and have the tools they need to pay less for the privilege.

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