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Shoppable images and creative made easy: Google, Instagram, what’s next?

Global companies (the kind that are key players and household names who can afford just about anything) have been making use of shoppable content for years. However, for most businesses, it hasn’t been so easy. Shoppable content takes a lot of resources to produce and manage. More recently, social platforms like Instagram and Pinterest have started adding advertising options specifically to tackle this. They’re helping everyday marketers make shoppable images and creative with just a few clicks.

And why not? Who could resist an ad like this?

instagram shoppable posts

Source: Facebook

Though this change seems to be slowly growing in popularity – trickling down through more and more marketing departments – it won’t be long before it’s a necessity. These ads are available on so many major marketing platforms, and just about every statistic shows that they drive returns.

  • Tyme increased traffic 44% with Instagram
  • Lulu drove 1200+ orders and 100K+ sessions
  • Rich Pins helped increase sales 95% for TIPTOE (Seriously! 95%.)

Here’s what marketers will want to know about their options as well as what we can expect in the (perhaps not so) distant future.

The where, who, and how of your shoppable image options

Depending on what type of audiences you usually work with, you may associate shoppable images with one particular platform. However, these ad types are already available on Google, Instagram, and Pinterest – they just use different names.

Google Shoppable Images

Google Shoppable images

Surfaces in:

Google Image results


This sponsored format surfaces ad images, and advertisers can tag multiple products in the image for sale


Users searching for general inspiration related to terms or looking for specific products and types of products

Instagram Shoppable posts & Stories

instagarm shoppable stories

Surfaces in:

Brand’s own post or story


Advertisers can add shoppable tags directly to their own posts and Stories


Account’s followers, targeted audiences, and others who may come across post organically

Pinterest Product Pins

Surfaces in:



Advertisers can either use a feed or product pages to make pins shoppable


Browsing pinners, targeted audiences, and those using Lens

Snapchat Shoppable Lenses

Surfaces in:

Sponsored lenses


Advertisers can add “buy now” buttons to their Website Shoppable AR lenses


Targeted audiences


Surfaces in:

In-stream video ads


Using TrueView for Shopping, advertisers can ad product cards directly over video ads


Targeted audiences

What’s next for shoppable images and creative?

For many businesses today, the upcoming task will be getting up to speed technologically. They’ll need to ensure that their product data management practices line up with each platform’s requirements for shoppable creative. That may include new software or even new job roles cropping up. It could even include an even larger focus on creating high-quality, compelling imagery. It’s clear there are also a lot of new opportunities to look forward to. So what can we expect next from shoppable images and creative?

User-generated content turned ad

User-generated content has been all the rage since the early 2000s. It started with customer reviews and ratings, and now it’s turned to user-created images. Whether it’s on Google or Instagram, consumers love user-generated content. It cuts the business out of the equation and allows shoppers to speak to one another. Consumers can be assured that the image isn’t doctored marketing material, and they can see products out and about in the real world.

Solutions already exist to automatically analyze user-generated content and make it shoppable, but it’s not quite ready for mass use.

Platforms as shopping malls

11% of U.S. social media users shop on Instagram. Sure, sometimes that is because they were served a beautiful ad and they made a purchase completely by chance because it was just the right time and right place and the moon was new. However, as users flock to social platforms to join groups and be part of a targeted community, they’re also flocking to find inspiration. They’re actively looking for products to complement their lifestyle and choices. They’re seeking out products to build up their life – directly on social.

While shopping malls were once the place to hang out, browse, and share experiences, social media is the new stomping grounds. Shoppable imagery will take the place of window displays and carefully curated racks that were meticulously managed for all those decades. This means businesses also need to start getting their priorities in order. Window display artists have been key to setting the mood in retail for decades – so how will businesses handle digital images?

AR is real and Gen Z loves it

AR has been a popular choice for any “ecommerce trends” assessment over the last five years. However what we can’t deny is that Gen Z has taken an actual, real-world shine to it. Let’s use Snapchat Lens as an example. Snapchat knows teenagers. In fact, it reaches 90% of all 13-24 year-olds in the U.S.

Thus far, names like Nicki Minaj and Adidas have been popular Lens use cases. Papa John’s drove a huge number of pizza orders on Valentine’s Day by letting users AR heart-shaped pizzas into their house. The results have been undeniably cool.

But smaller names can also benefit from these kinds of ads – if they can get creative. Don’t forget this is the app that has a whole solution to overlay AR on your cat’s face (we highly recommend you click that link for proof). For example, put him or her in a slice of toast. If you can use cat-face-toast lenses to relate to your product, you’re probably golden.

Shoppable images are here to stay

There have also been some hiccups with shoppable content – namely shoppable TV, which has generated some bad press for the topic. However, this is not really similar, as search and social are an entirely different beast from traditional television.

Shoppable ads are increasingly relevant to shoppers today. Plus, they let marketers personalize ads to their hearts’ content. Exactly which ad formats or platforms will come out on top may not be clear, but what is certain is that shoppable creative is here to stay.

Facebook Dynamic Ads Campaign Creation Free Guide

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