Instagram Checkout: Everything You Need to Know

Instagram Checkout was first released in 2019 to just a handful of mega-brands in the US and after a year of beta testing, we could soon start to see it in our feeds worldwide!

The Checkout feature allows users to make a purchase without ever leaving the Instagram app — creating a streamlined, 2-tap process to converting Instagram followers into loyal customers.

To help you prepare, we’re taking a deeper dive into the benefits of Instagram Checkout. Plus, we share 5 top industry tips to drive maximum sales with this new feature!

Everything You Need to Know About Instagram Checkout

What is Instagram Checkout?

Instagram Checkout lets users buy products from brands *directly* on Instagram — without leaving the Instagram app!

With Instagram Checkout, customers can tap to view a product from a shoppable post and then continue to the payment process, all within Instagram! All they have to do is enter their name, email, billing information, and shipping address the first time they check out.

Checkout first launched in March 2019 with just 26 brands (including ZaraRevolveWarby Parker, and Nike) making up the original beta test group.

Fast-forward 12 months and hundreds of brands across the US are now trialing the new checkout feature — with huge names like SoulCycleSteve Madden, and Hollister in the mix.

But Instagram Checkout isn’t open to all brands and it’s currently only available to shoppers based in the US. However, given Instagram’s recent progress in the e-commerce space, it’s likely we’ll see this feature continue to roll out across the US (and beyond!) in the not so distant future.

Speaking to Glossy, Dan Gardner, CEO of digital creative agency Code and Theory, explains that  as more businesses gain access to the feature, the more successful it will become.

“If the [in-app Checkout] feature rolls out to everybody, it will have some level of success. Consumers will get more used to it and [brands will] see a bigger lift happen. Brands won’t necessarily replace [their] own e-commerce channels with Instagram Checkout, but it will be another meaningful way to convert,” said Gardner.

Mike Karanikolas, co-founder and co-chief executive officer of early adopter Revolve, shared how Instagram Checkout has been a success for the brand so far, but isn’t currently a big part of the company’s business.

“We’re excited about the long-term opportunity of it,” he said during the brand’s fourth-quarter earnings call in February.

Instagram has also already made it possible for a select number of influencers and content creators to drive sales through checkout on behalf of brands — creating a complete e-commerce marketplace.

With Instagram’s Shopping for Creators feature, influencers and content creators can now add product tags from their brand partners to their Instagram posts and stories that users can tap on and pay for directly within the Instagram app.

There currently is no affiliate model in place for influencers driving sales on behalf of brands through Instagram Checkout — but savvy influencers and creators are likely to be charging more for this extra level of product endorsement.

With over 200 million users visiting at least one business profile every day, and 83% of users discovering new products and services on the platform, it’s no surprise that Instagram is making moves to connect the dots between brands and shoppers.

And while Instagram is still in the process of rolling out some of these features, the future looks promising for brands, businesses, and influencers looking to make sales with Instagram Checkout!

What Are the Benefits of Instagram Checkout for Business

There’s no doubt that Instagram Checkout comes with a ton of benefits for businesses and brands on Instagram, and even more so if you’re an early adopter of the feature!

The ability to drive your audience from browsing to purchasing in just a few quick taps can have a huge impact on your conversion rate as it creates a seamless experience for your customers.

Plus, early adopters of Instagram Checkout can benefit from all of the extra exposure opportunities within the Instagram app.

For example, when users click on the “Shop” tab from the Instagram Explore page, there are various curated edits that showcase products from Checkout-enabled brands.

Instagram’s new @shop account (with over 200K followers) also features brands that are embracing Instagram Shopping tools — creating a huge opportunity to reach potential new customers.

However, despite such obvious advantages, Instagram Checkout might not be for everyone.

For some, Instagram’s transaction fees may be a cause for concern. According to their Business Help Center, the selling fee is 5% per shipment or a flat fee of $0.40 for shipments of $8.00 or less.

And Instagram Checkout can also mean brands lose out on valuable customer data (such as emails) as all communications are handled by Instagram rather than the brand directly.

Luckily, there are additional ways to drive traffic and make sales on Instagram!

For example, the link in your bio is super easy to find and readily clickable, making it one of the most valuable traffic-drivers on your Instagram profile.

And the good news is, with Linkin.bio by Later, you can turn your whole Instagram feed into a clickable landing page that updates with every new post you share.

drive traffic from instagram

This means you can share multiple links to your products for every Instagram post you publish.

Should You Switch to an Instagram Creator Profile?

Wondering if you should switch to an Instagram creator profile?

In late-2018, Instagram announced that it was rolling out a new kind of Instagram account, created specifically for their MVPs: Instagram influencers and content creators.

Instagram creator profiles are similar to business profiles, offering users exclusive features, analytics, and more.

But there are some big differences too!

In this post, we explain how to set up an Instagram creator profile and look at the pros and cons of making the switch: 

Should You Switch to an Instagram Creator Profile?

What You Need to Know About Instagram’s Creator Profile

Instagram influencer marketing is big and getting bigger — in fact, according to AdAge, it now accounts for at least $2 billion in annual marketing spending in North America.

But it hasn’t been without its hiccups.

Before Instagram announced its new creator profile, influencers had to use business profiles to access their account insights, call-to-action (CTA) buttons, and more.

What they lacked, however, were features like advanced growth insights and tools to monetize their Instagram content.

Ashley Yuki, an Instagram product manager, acknowledged this in a 2018 interview with The Hollywood Reporter, stating that the idea behind Instagram’s creator profile was to “create this space where we can now start to specialize the experience for the needs of creators.”

By switching to a creator profile, influencers and creators would get access to flexible profile controls, simplified messaging, and more growth tools.

instagram creator profile

But is this actually the case? Are the features worth making the switch?

Read on to find out!

Instagram Creator Profile Feature #1: More Growth Tools

One of the biggest concerns for Instagram influencers is understanding their follower growth and trends on their account — so it makes sense that Instagram creator profiles are designed with analytics in mind.

For starters, Facebook launched its new Creator Studio dashboard last year, which includes an “Insights” tab to help creators better understand their audience and how people are interacting with their content.

Within the Insights tab, you can view Activity Insights to see what actions people take when they engage with your account. It also tracks the reach and the total number of impressions of your content over the last 7 days.

instagram creator studio

You can also view Audience Insights with information about your followers and audience, including their gender, age range, and location.

instagram creator studio

While many of these analytics are currently offered on Instagram business profiles, the Creator Studio dashboard makes it easier for users to access their metrics directly from their desktop.

Instagram creator profiles also get access to daily follow/unfollow data, which will make it easier for influencers and creators to map new and existing content to net follower changes (and therefore see what’s resonating and what isn’t resonating with their followers).

instagram creator: follow and unfollow

Previously, influencers looked outside the Instagram app for follow/unfollow data, until Instagram’s API changes disabled many third-party apps.

Instagram Creator Profile Feature #2: Simplified Messaging

Instagram influencers are bombarded with DMs, ranging from “where’d you buy that top?” to collaboration requests, and more.

As you can imagine, this can be really overwhelming for influencers with hundreds of thousands of followers — how do you manage all of those messages?!

This is another issue that Instagram has attempted to address with the creator profile.

instagram creator profile

Creator profiles have more DM filtering options (including three new tabs: Primary, General, and Requests), allowing them to prioritize messages from brands and friends, or rank them by relevance or time to make sure they never miss an important request.

Instagram Creator Profile Feature #3: Instagram & IGTV Scheduling

Instagram Creator Studio also offers publishing tools for both Instagram feed posts and IGTV. This gives creators a unified place to manage their presence and content across both Facebook and Instagram.

To get started click “Create Post” in the top-left of the page (you should see options for both Instagram Feed and IGTV):

instagram creator account

The publishing flow is slightly different for Instagram posts and IGTV videos. Below we’ll cover how to schedule posts to your Instagram feed.

After you select “Instagram Feed,” a window will open on the right of the screen where you can upload your image (or images in the case of carousel posts), write your caption, add a location, tag accounts, and crop your images.

instagram creator account

Instagram Creator Profile Feature #4: Flexible Profile Controls

On top of having more control over who is messaging them, Instagram creator profiles also have more control over how they’re being contacted.

Creator profiles can designate their preferred method of contact on their profile (including call, text, and email), and have more flexibility on what they choose to include as a CTA on their pages.

instagram creator profile

By giving creator accounts more control over how they’re contacted, influencers will be able to filter out “cold” messages and spend more time engaging in meaningful interactions with brands they prefer to work with.

The new profile controls are a way to give Instagram influencers more control over their profiles, and the connections they make on the platform.

Instagram Creator Profile Feature #5: Shoppable Posts

Shopping on Instagram has been around for a while — but it’s only recently that it was opened up to influencers and creators.

Announced in mid-2019, Instagram creator profiles can now share featured products in their organic posts and stories. And it works almost exactly like regular shopping posts from businesses.

As a creator, when someone taps a product tag on your post or a product sticker in your story, they’ll be taken to a product description page where they can complete their purchase.

instagram creator profile: shopping

Before this feature was released, influencers and creators were fairly limited in how they could promote other brands and products.

In terms of process, influencers would usually tag the brands they were promoting, add details in the caption, and then respond to countless comments and DMs.

With the ability to tag products in their posts and stories, influencers can now get back to expressing themselves and sharing what’s on their mind, which should make their followers happy too!

Note: Keep in mind that creators can only feature products from brands that have approved access to their products.

instagram creator profile: shopping

Creator profiles are also gaining access to Instagram’s highly coveted checkout feature! According to a Glossy article, influencers that have partnered with brands on paid Instagram posts are now able to tag Checkout-enabled products in their own feeds.

While this feature is currently being beta tested with a handful of businesses, we expect it to be more widely available this year!

Instagram Business Profile vs. Instagram Creator Profile

Like Instagram business profiles, creator profiles have access to a number of exclusive features and in-depth analytics, but there are also some big differences between the profile types.

Here’s a quick rundown of the key differences:

With an Instagram Business Profile You

CAN:

  • Get access to Instagram Analytics about your followers and posts
  • Promote Instagram posts as ads
  • Add links to Instagram Stories

CAN’T:

  • Go private on Instagram

With an Instagram Creator Profile You

CAN:

  • Get exclusive access to the Instagram Creator Studio on desktop
  • Access creator-specific analytics, including follow/unfollow metric and engagement stats
  • Filter your Direct Message inbox
  • Tag products from brands directly within a feed post

CAN’T:

  • Connect your Instagram to any third-party apps

Wondering if you should switch to an Instagram business profile or Instagram creator profile? Find out with our handy flowchart:

Which Instagram Profile should use quiz

Is the Instagram Creator Profile Worth the Switch?

There are unique advantages and disadvantages to each Instagram profile, and it ultimately depends on what you’re trying to achieve with your account.

Of course, if you’re an influencer or creator that’s actively trying to monetize your content and build more partnerships with brands, switching to a creator profile could be hugely beneficial — especially since we expect Instagram to continue rolling out new features this year.

However, as we described above, there are some downsides to making the switch.

Have you switched to a creator profile? Which do you prefer? Let us know in the comments!