In the year 2020, it is almost compulsory that every human being manages their own private Instagram account dedicated to showcasing their life. Instagram was released almost a decade ago, back in 2010, and since then it has evolved in ways in which nobody could have predicted. The app is now so much more than just a “Social Media’ platform. Instagram now gives the public a whole playground to explore and be creative in so many different ways.
Over the last few years, we have seen the app become very welcoming to companies by allowing them to use the app as an extension of their online shop. In November of 2016, Instagram tested a shopping feature where verified companies could allow tags on items they were showcasing which would then allow users to tap on the item of clothing they were being shown and it would take them directly to the companies website where they could instantly purchase that item. Over the following 2 years, Instagram then began to experiment more with this feature by bringing a shopping feature to the Instagram story side which then made it more convenient for users to simply just tap and be transported over to the item on the website. 57% of consumers say that social media influences their shopping, and with paid influencers constantly promoting company products, it became very confusing for users to identify what was organic and what was just a paid promotion. It seems clear that Instagram is trying to keep its platform as clean and smooth as they possibly can, as in 2018 they introduced an influencer guideline that influencers had to abide by, which made them state promotional posts as (HashtagAD). This helps users easily identify what is an AD and what is not. Not only does this benefit the average user it also benefits the influencer by allowing them to separate themselves from spam or bot accounts. It can also help them differentiate between their own organic content and paid content allowing them to become more noticeable and attractive to other companies for other potential paid collaborations. This system introduced by Instagram is a win for both parties, by allowing a more genuine and trusted flow to the app.
In 2019 it was announced that Instagram would be bringing a first-party shopping aspect to the app which would then allow users to purchase items being promoted directly via the app.
This could potentially completely change Instagram as we know it, with the app evolving into its own super shop used by high-status companies. But, could this potentially be damaging to the app? A lot of the public are very opposed to big changes which affect platforms they use constantly throughout the day. An example of this being in 2018 when the app tested a new style of scrolling on a small percentage of users, by which instead of swiping down to see the news feed you'd have to swipe to the side. Instagram then received major backlash from the public, with people stating they would boycott the app if it wasn’t changed back to the old style.
This was only a minor update for Instagram as this feature didn't really affect the way the app operated previously, however the backlash from it stated otherwise. Could a big change such as turning Instagram into its own shop cause controversy among users? Or could it be the most effective change the app has ever applied?