A Lot to Like About Instagram’s New Checkout Feature… But at What Cost?

Natalie Hapgood

Senior Director, Brand Planning, Jellyfish

Last week, Glossy published an insightful interview with a DTC brand marketer regarding their decision NOT to use Instagram’s new ‘Checkout’ feature. A relevant story for brands navigating the world of data, it raises some important questions: Do they have useful data? How are they collecting it? Are they being effective with it and using it to help drive business objectives?

At Jellyfish, our mission is to help brands achieve business objectives through a strategic, data-driven approach to purposeful content. One way in which we achieve this is by empowering brands to gather their own data in order to build their business and engage directly with their consumers.

Collecting data (with the correct privacy protocols, of course) plays a critical role in helping brands do business. Knowing this, marketers must weigh the pros and cons of using this new Instagram feature. We all agree that social media is incredibly important, and should be in every marketing plan, but there is a way to connect with audiences AND still ensure that you’re not giving up valuable insights that can help drive your business. 

Shop Talk

All brands have access to Shoppable Instagram. It’s a great way for brands to create and build out their digital stores through leveraging existing accounts, fans, consumers, and target audiences (hello, media spend!). It creates another pathway for commerce, directing consumers to a brand website or online store and begin (or continue) to build a relationship with them, understand how they shop and what they are looking for. Instagram is an incredible platform for both lifestyle and lifecycle marketing, driving engagement, awareness, retention, and conversion. 

Given how popular Shoppable Instagram is, it is easy to see how alluring IG’s new “Checkout” feature is. While only available to a select group of companies at the moment, marketers and sales-centric brands should be aware of what they might be losing out on, too. 

Check It Out

‘Checkout’ offers a seamless shopping experience for the end-user. There is an easy autofill option for returning shoppers (name, shipping address, credit card, etc.), creating a frictionless shopping experience. It’s a quick and easy way for any user to buy what they want, and then keep scrolling. The great user experience is ideal for Instagram, too, with fewer distractions to take the user away from the platform. 

But this also brings up some real pain points for brands. The first: margin loss. There is a 5% fee to consider, plus all of the marketing tools traditionally used to create a good customer experience (order confirmation, shipment tracking, etc,) are managed by Instagram. This could preclude the opportunity for important, impactful remarketing and follow-up (emails, retargeting, reviews, etc.). And Instagram also has strict rules around customer service and fulfillment to consider as well. 

Short-term Gain = Long-term Pain

Ultimately, brands are no longer talking directly to their customers… because they aren’t their customers anymore. They are Instagram’s customers. Brands need to weigh if losing ownership of, and subsequent access to, all of that data is worthwhile. It leaves them with no way to build or refresh their own database. Data yields insights, which inform brand strategy, drive creative and, ultimately, how brands connect with their consumers. 

 The only real way to do this is by creating content for, and talking about, the things that consumers care most about. We help our clients develop more purposeful marketing strategies because we understand what the people who buy their products are interested in. This, in turn, is a key driver of organic traffic to their branded website, creates more robust retargeting pools, and raises the profile of their brand within the industry. 

Accessing, capturing, and leveraging the right data can be a gamechanger for brands… and we can show you how to do that. Talk to us and let us work together to maximize your impact.