Two More Social Sites Add Buy Buttons to their Platform

Social sharing sites Pinterest and Instagram each announced new features to reduce friction and convert more users into customers by adding buy buttons and other calls-to-action directly within advertisements or posted content on their respective mobile apps. Rather than follow links to start checkout directly on a merchant’s site, users will be able to make and complete purchases or signup for services without leaving the Pinterest or Instagram mobile apps.


By the end of this month Pinterest, a mobile app and website for browsing and sharing content online, will be rolling out what they call “buyable pins” for their iOS app. A pin is essentially a bookmark that is represented by an image on a Pinterest user’s pinboard, which is an electronic version of a pin or bulletin board where users can post and save web pages or other content. Many online merchants have leveraged Pinterest accounts to group and display products on various pinboards as a way to increase exposure and make impressions on new potential customers. Pinterest users can re-pin these posts leading to sharing and more impressions across that user’s followers. Today, if a Pinterest user sees a pin with a picture of shoes they might be interested in buying, they can click the pin and may be taken to a web page with more information about the shoes and how to purchase them. Soon, however, the option to buy directly within the Pinterest app will be available.


Pinterest plans to roll out this feature for their iOS app sometime this June and will then launch “buyable pins” for their Android apps and desktop site in the months following. These new pins will feature an embedded Buy button, and when clicked the user will be able to select size and color options then pay with Apple Pay or other payment options directly within the Pinterest app. This reduces friction as the consumer no longer has to go to an external site to initiate and complete the purchase. The ease of paying with Apple Pay and fingerprint verification will also reduce friction versus entering in payment information manually. The company plans to launch 2 million buyable pins this month and several major retailers, including Macy’s, Nordstrom and others, are already onboard.


Image sharing app Instagram also announced “action-oriented” ads that feature buy buttons will start appearing on the platform in early June. Many merchants have official Instagram accounts for sharing images and connecting consumers with their brand, but similar to parent company Facebook organizations can purchase ad impressions as well. Facebook recently announced they will expand their advertising and payment features including buy buttons that will appear directly within adds as well as ways to send payments and confirm purchases via Facebook Messenger.


Instagram’s action oriented ads won’t be limited to buy buttons. Other features include a button to sign up for a site’s services or email list, and buttons that take the user to download a mobile app. Many of the ad targeting tools Facebook offers advertisers will be brought over to Instagram as well, so marketers can better target their ads based on demographics and interests of the Instagram user.


Instagram and Pinterest are popular apps and websites that millions of users enjoy for sharing and browsing photos and interesting products or websites, and many businesses leverage these platforms to build their brand and awareness of products or services they offer. While these have been great sources for merchants to get users onto their websites, now they will also be able to leverage ways to allow Pinterest and Instagram users to complete purchases more easily.


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Pinterest and Instagram get serious about getting shoppers to buy