Instagram expands shopping to Stories

The app has also added shopping to its "Explore" page, giving users a separate area to browse brands and their products.

Brands can now add shoppable units to their Instagram stories, in addition to their in-feed posts.

The Facebook-owned photo sharing app first began testing the feature in June. It is now officially being rolled out to 46 countries, including Canada.

Instagram has also rolled out options to shop on the Instagram “Explore” page. The page will now include a channel (located at the top of the feed) dedicated to shoppable posts, both from brands that users follow and brands the platform recommends to them.

The goal is to essentially create a catalogue-style shopping experience for users. Both of the updates give brands the opportunity to get their products in front of users and make for quicker transactions.

The shoppable tags don’t actually allow people to make purchases directly in the Instagram app, but they do take users to a third-party page where they can learn more about the product and make the final purchase. According to Instagram, more than 90 million users tap to reveal tags in shopping posts per month. However, the platform has not revealed how many users actually click through to make the purchase.

In a July interview with MiC, Instagram COO Marne Levine said that despite the rise of national advertisers using tools such as shoppable ads and stories, much of the innovation on the platform has been driven by independent and small businesses as they find creative ways to use Instagram’s tools.

According to Levine, 80% of Instagram users follow a business voluntarily. She said her hope is to soon introduce the “actions” feature, which is currently in the U.S., to Canadian users. This would allow people on a business profile to take a direct action, such as booking a reservation, buying a ticket or viewing a menu.