How Facebook and Instagram Shopping Affect You

Facebook and Instagram shopping are fundamentally changing the landscape for e-commerce. See how it is enabling social commerce →

Facebook Shopping
Mathew Slavica

Mathew Slavica

Founder, Digital Stand (Sydney), Industry Keynote Speaker. Obsessed with helping our clients grow.

Facebook and Instagram are the most widely used social media channels out there, so it's no surprise that shopping ad updates have become an essential part of each of their features. Read on to learn more about the latest Instagram and Facebook shopping ad updates.


Facebook ads

Between 2004 and 2018, numerous evolutions followed, Ad Taxi tells us, including 2005 sponsorship deals to big brands; a 2006 contract with Microsoft in which Microsoft agreed to be the exclusive provider and seller of banner ads and sponsored links for three years; the 2007 launch of the Facebook Ads platform; and the 2008 launch of Facebook Pages.

Sponsored Stories

In 2011, Ad Taxi notes, Facebook launches the desktop ad program Sponsored Stories. There were some privacy concerns, and Ad Taxi writes that Sponsored Stories were dropped just three years later -- but Facebook continued with other ad projects, such as Facebook Social Graph in 2012, which gathered data for advertisers based on likes, followers, and connections. And in 2013, Facebook bought Atlas Solutions from Microsoft for $100 million, says Ad Taxi.

Facebook product ads

An August 2019 WordStream article gives a list of facts about the new Facebook Product Ads updates, describing it as a mobile-friendly ad format that retailers can connect to their own catalogue by advertising on Facebook. Currently, WordStream adds, it's available through Marketing Partners on Facebook, but it will eventually be available on the self-serve platform. You can either tag a single product or a unit of three products -- complete with description, image, click target, and statistics. WordStream warns us not to confuse the new Facebook product ads updates with Google PLAs, explaining that the new ad format is actually closer to Google's remarketing display ads.


Instagram is run by Facebook - with 500 million active users each day, so there are some similarities in how they work. At the same time, Instagram has its own distinctive evolution both generally and in terms of Instagram shopping

Instagram stories for business

Instagram for Business lets businesses run compelling story campaigns for their brands. Users buy business accounts, and then receive metrics on their stories, followers, and promoted posts in real-time. According to Instagram, each day over 200 million Instagram users visit one or more Business profiles. Fast Company describes Instagram's not-so-smooth evolution into an ad platform for businesses in this article.

Instagram shop ads

Recently, an upgrade has been made in which Instagram allows turn your Instagram shopping posts into ads. AlliDropship (April 2019) explains that with Instagram shopping ads, you turn your posts into shopping opportunities for the viewers by tagging a physical product within a photo that you've posted. The shopper taps a picture to see the price and product description. A second click provides a more detailed product description, more photos, and a "View on Website" or "Shop Now Button," AlliDropship explains. From your website, the viewer is redirected to your store where the viewer makes their purchases.

Latest 2019 Instagram updates

Ana Gotter's September 2019 article on Instagram shopping ads updates observes that not only are shopping posts are being tested as ads, but Instagram may also be developing a feature similar to what teen app Tik-Tok has - a feature called Clips, where users can record video segments into an Instagram story and overlay it with music -- which would enhance Instagram story campaigns for businesses. Business Insider gives more details on Instagram's "copy-cat" app.

These are just a few of the ad evolutions that Facebook and Instagram have undergone over the years. But we're sure to see more versions as the evolution of online shopping ads on social media continues.

For more information about Facebook and Instagram shopping ads updates, and how you can use them to boost your business, please contact us.

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