Live shopping trend prompts Instagram Live scheduling update November 12, 2021

Insta Live Shopping

In a bid to capitalise on the live shopping trend, Instagram has added a new posting option which will allow users to schedule upcoming IG Live broadcasts in the photo-sharing application.

The move comes in the wake of the live shopping trend catapulting to popularity and high engagement. Whether a tendency for consumers to stay at home following a tumultuous pandemic period or a different shopping culture amongst the younger generation are the cause, it is clear that this trend is here to stay.

As a result, Instagram has announced the Instagram Live scheduling option to aid users and influencers in content creation. 

How will Instagram Live Scheduling work?

Instagram users that want to schedule any upcoming Lives will be able to do so up to 90 days in advance. Use the Live Composer section to access the scheduling feature.

When setting up a Live to be scheduled, the user can add a title and description for the live, as well as product tags (we’ll get to this in a bit), to inform their followers of the stream’s content and aim. 

Followers will be able to tap through on scheduled IG Lives and set a reminder to be notified on the day of the broadcast. Instagram will send reminders a day before the broadcast and then 15 minutes before the stream actually starts. 

Furthermore, another small addition includes Live Practice. This option lets users test their lighting, their camera and their set up in the Live Menu without beginning a broadcast. 

The fact that this update has been built into Instagram, arms brands and influencers with a connection tool. You get a sense of how many of your followers are convertible and it then allows you the chance to convert even more. 

What is the live shopping trend all about?

Over the last few months, Instagram has been conducting a series of live-stream shopping events. The aim on these streams is to improve both product and business discovery by overtly promoting the purchasing capabilities in the application. 

These streams appear in the ‘Live’ section of the ‘Shop’ tab – Instagram’s dedicated section for shopping and e-commerce capabilities. 

In fact, Instagram launched the ’10 Days of Live Shopping’ event not long ago. During this event, celebrities and influencers – such as Selena Gomez and Lil Yachty – would live stream from product launches, brand events and shopping trips. The result was a showcase of Instagram’s like-streaming shopping, as well as an example to brands of the connection between Instagram’s audience and e-commerce potential – especially considering how easily you can bounce users to a virtual checkout. 

TikTok has also seen a massive rise in live shopping in its native China, which has prompted the video sharing platform to test the feature in the west – much like Instagram. 

Why has live shopping skyrocketed?

E-commerce has become a vital revenue stream for apps such as Instagram during the pandemic. As consumers find themselves shopping from the comfort of their own home, social media networks have positioned themselves as live-shopping experiences and digital storefronts. 

Facebook has fast-tracked Instagram Shops and initiatives such as Live-Shopping in order to capitalise on the rise of e-commerce during and after the pandemic. Facebook’s end goal is to make every post on Instagram potentially ‘shoppable’. They want creators to bounce followers to brands and products and provide new monetisation options for the application. 

Facebook, the gigantic parent of Instagram, have conducted their own research into live shopping. They have found that 89% of their users are keen to try live-shopping with 27% of users trying live-shopping over the course of the last year. 

Facebook is already working on automating object tagging. This feature would work in tandem with live-shopping streams so users can click on any item or product they see in a stream and be redirected to a store portal. 

Where did this trend originate?

A report by McKinsey reported: “In China, live commerce has transformed the retail industry and established itself as a major sales channel in less than five years. In a 2020, survey, two-thirds of Chinese consumers said they had bought products via livestream in the past year.”

McKinsey goes on to estimate that e-commerce, initiated by live shopping streams, could account for between 10-20% of all e-commerce by 2026.

In truth, this trend is another way for the social media platforms to generate revenue on the app. Or, at the very least, encourage their user base to be more active consumers of products, rather than passive consumers of social content. 

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