2021 Instagram New Features including Shopping Ads


To stay on top in the world of social media, brands need to be constantly evolving and innovating to stay one step ahead of the game. Users want features to be offered to them before they realize they want or need them. Instagram is one company obviously investing a lot of time, energy, and resources to ensure they stay relevant.

And as a consultancy committed to helping our clients get the most out of the various opportunities offered through social media, it is exciting to see how Instagram is rapidly developing new features and functionalities to tackle emerging business issues and help users support their favorite brands. Of course, it is a priority for us to stay on top of these different tools and updates and evaluate just how useful they are and what they say more broadly about the social media landscape.

Ready to dive in? Let’s take a look at a few of the changes and new feature launches that Instagram has made (or might make!) in 2021.


Ads in the Instagram Shop tab

An important development for retailers of all stripes, Instagram has recently introduced a function that enables companies to place ads in the Instagram Shop tab. This is big news, because it allows merchants to reach users who are already enthusiastic about buying. The ads can be displayed as a single image or as a carousel, and of course, they will be shoppable.

By clicking on the ads, users will be redirected to the product page, where they can be informed in more detail about the product they clicked on.

Recently, Instagram announced ads in reels that look the same as any reel with the difference that there is a sponsored tab on these short clips.

As Hannah Gardner, Senior Associate of Acquisition Marketing at Away told Instagram Business,

“I’ve found the most success running ads in an environment where the consumer is already in a shopping mindset, which the Shop tab naturally attracts. The more frequently I can get in front of the consumer in that mindset, the better my potential for ROI.”


Link sticker to replace swipe-up in stories

Now, all users who have the opportunity to use this option and bring the audience from their profiles to websites will be able to do the same with stickers. In addition to this change, creators can now use different sticker styles, sizes, and can place the sticker link anywhere they want on their story.  Furthermore, users can send reactions to stories with links stickers like they do on any other story, something that wasn’t possible with the swipe-up link.


Will we soon be able to like stories?

Until now, anyone who wanted to express their enthusiasm for an Instagram story could only do so using emoji or text reactions. The option of liking a story the way we do with a feed post was simply not possible. But that could change soon: Instagram is currently working on the possibility of adding a heart to stories. Mobile developer (and known leaker) Alessandro Paluzzi revealed on Twitter. In addition, it might even be possible to like a story not just once but multiple times. It remains to be seen whether Instagram will actually roll out the feature in this form.


The way we use Instagram will continue to evolve

All in all, the ability to run ads in the shopping tab is what offers the most apparent opportunities for merchants. As one of our Junior Marketeers, Stephanie Gerfin puts it, “as long as a person is not actively looking to buy their product (or a product in their field) they don’t really exist as a potential client for a company. There needs to be at least a slight interest and intent to buy a product—otherwise, the marketing cost is wasted money. Therefore the Instagram Shopping ads are a very good addition to the other advertising options on the platform because they ensure that the user is already interested in buying or maybe even buying a specific product.”

In addition, all the updates that Instagram runs ultimately expand the horizons for how brands can interact and engage their audiences. It is a matter of thinking creatively about how you can use these features to reach more potential clients. If you’d like to discuss how these new tools could be leveraged to benefit your business, get in touch to speak with one of our experts. Likewise, follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter for the latest digital marketing news.

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