How to use Pinterest and Instagram to Make Purchases
Becki Griffiths / August 11, 2015

Pinterest & Instagram have been taking their time implementing sponsored content, so at the beginning of June when both companies announced ‘Buy It Now’ functionality, it was met with much excitement.

I’ll be exploring the expected functionality in this post and as always I’d love to hear your thoughts on the news.

Screen shot 2015 08 10 at 17.01.26


At the beginning of June, and with much excitement, Pinterest unveiled Buyable Pins on their blog. With Pinterest proving time and time again that it’s a platform used by customers with a high purchase intent, a ‘Buy Now’ pin makes great commercial sense.

It’s being rolled out first in the US, and payment options are via Apple Pay or a credit card. Interestingly, and clearly showing Pinterest’s user behaviours, it will be rolled out on iOS first, and later Android & desktop.

Searching for buyable Pins

It’s been a great coup by Shopify too, partnering themselves with Pinterest to make it easy for businesses (that sell in USD) to start selling their products via the blue buyable pin. We will be excited here at GPMD for the UK launch and we can start implementing it on The Coolector.


Instagram has always been a safe haven from in your face advertising. It’s beauty, and perhaps its power, was it’s lack of commerciality. Allowing brands to really become brands but also allowing Sarah in Bedford to gain as much recognition for her beautiful photography as Coca Cola (okay so maybe not this extreme but you see my point).

With workarounds (clickable links in bios etc) there always was a way to push people onwards in their buying journey, but now with new call-to-action buttons, showcased on the Instagram blog a month ago, that journey is going to become less clunky. The mock ups Instagram debuted show their Facebook familiarity with, ‘Shop Now’, ‘Install Now’, ‘Sign Up’ & ‘Learn More’ buttons.

Screen shot 2015 08 10 at 17.17.12

When Instagram launched their ‘sponsored posts’ in the US and then the UK, it was to a select few (big budgeted) brands, something the company have said won’t be the case for the new functionality, which is great news for smaller businesses. It seems Instagram advertising will take the lead from its parent Facebook with targeted audience sets (age, location etc) which will allow marketers to ensure their adverts are served to the right and most importantly, relevant people.

With Pinterest and Instagram being image led social sites, it will be interesting to see the results of the ‘buy it now’ functionality. The transition for Pinterest, in my opinion, will be great. It makes sense - you pin something because you have purchase intent, or at least you are on the journey.

For Instagram, the transition could be more difficult. The resistance from users on Instagram’s Sponsored Posts was strong. I don’t think I saw a single Thomson Holiday sponsored post without negative comments. However this is where marketers need to raise their game and think about what they are selling and who they are selling to.

A well thought out and executed campaign will result in minimum negative feedback. Instagram have always prided themselves on a seamless experience so it will be great to see how they deal with the payment process.

So all that leaves us to do, is ensure our strategies are in place on these platforms, grow our fan base and keep our eyes peeled for those UK launch dates!

Talk to us about Social

GPMD is happy to help...

We love social media here at GPMD and know its important role when it comes to maximising an ecommerce store. If you want to speak to us about your ecommerce store, we're only to happy to help. Just click the button below:

Contact Us