How to Increase Purchase Intent on Instagram

In the last few years, customer behavior has changed, as modern customers have begun to favor shopping via social media.

For ecommerce businesses, the idea of using Instagram for promoting products isn’t new. With a user base of 2 million monthly active users, 90% of whom follow businesses and 83% discover products in-app, ecommerce businesses see great potential in Instagram.

As more people use Instagram for product discovery and research, Instagram shopping is gaining in popularity, too. Product tags, clickable links, and in-app checkouts are some of the key Instagram features that make it easy for ecommerce businesses to increase purchase intent on Instagram and boost more ecommerce sales.

When you know the right Instagram marketing strategies for ecommerce, you can turn Instagram followers into paying customers.

How Does Instagram Help to Increase Purchase Intent?

At first blush, Instagram is a simple visual-sharing app that people use to communicate with friends and family. But it has evolved into a powerful marketing tool that can increase purchase intent, and here are the three main reasons why.

First, people spend a lot of time on Instagram. The top performing marketing channels are those that audiences use often. Since the average Instagram user spends 33 minutes a day on the platform, Instagram has become an important place for brand communication and product discovery. In other words, your target audience is active on Instagram, and potential customers are ready to find out more about your products in-app.

Next, Instagram in-app shopping is growing in popularity. People want to use the same platform for product discovery and purchase, as it’s easier for them. As specified in one study, users take actions after seeing products on Instagram. Some 80% of users decide whether they want to buy it, 79% search for more information, and 65% visit a website for more information. 

Finally, Instagram has all the features necessary to help you interact with potential customers.  Instagram is one of the fastest-growing social media platforms and has the most engaged user base, so the platform improves its functionality to meet users’ expectations. It allows ecommerce businesses to tag products in images or videos, link back to website landing pages, or even complete the purchase in-app, so it’s getting easier to convert followers into customers once they are interested in your products. This translates directly to increased ecommerce conversions.

Now that you understand how Instagram affects decision-making processes among followers and visitors, let’s take a closer look at seven tips on how to increase purchase intent on Instagram.

  1. Optimize Your Account for in-app Shopping

Whether you want to start a clothing brand online or you already sell cosmetics, Instagram can be a powerful marketing channel for selling items, especially if you know how to encourage a smooth customer journey, helping potential customers to discover and buy products with ease.

To boost your ecommerce site with Instagram, first and foremost you need to optimize your profile for in-app shopping. Here are some tips to help you with that:

  • Write a descriptive IG bio (select the right category, write about your business, add branded hashtags, include a website link)

  • Organize separate Instagram Story Highlight albums for better customer journey (new items, reviews, niche tips, etc.)

  • Upload product content (posts, videos, Stories) that show off your products from different sizes

  • Set up an Instagram shop and make good use of product tags and product stickers

Any inspiration needed? Let's take a look at J.Crew:

Image source

And here's an example of a product tag Instagram post that helps interested visitors tap on the icon and find out more about the featured products or even complete a purchase:

Image source

  1. Get Creative with Product Imagery on Instagram

Strong product imagery matters. Customers want to touch and feel products before buying them, with 56% of shoppers saying that they visit physical stores occasionally before buying something online. 

For ecommerce, product photography is a great way to showcase products and tell your story. With great photos, customers feel as if they can touch and feel your products from the comfort of their own homes. 

When selling on Instagram, a platform with a strong focus on visual content, uploading product imagery isn't enough – you need to get creative to stand out from the crowd and grab the attention of your audience.

Today, there are many photo editing tools that offer advanced in-app features to improve imagery without having designer skills. For instance, Photoleap by Lightricks offers editing tools like filters, effects, and fonts that help to add a personal touch to your product images. For product imagery, Photoleap also offers easy ways to replace the backgrounds of your product shots.

Or you can rely on its AI image style transfer and apply the same style to all product photos to create a cohesive Instagram feed with ease. Not only does it simplify the editing process, but it also gives a professional look to your images, helping to grab the attention of potential customers.

3. Secure More Influencer Endorsements

Nowadays, people follow at least one opinion leader on social media, and we trust influencer recommendations as much as our real-world friends. This means influencer marketing has become one of the most powerful tactics to increase purchase intent.

When it comes to Instagram, working with influencers gives you a chance to market your products to a wider audience of potential customers and therefore boost brand awareness and increase brand trust. 

Once you've selected the right influencers for your brand, encourage them to create content that reflects their true experience with your products. Being authentic resonates with your audience and builds trust making endorsement even more impactful. 

You also need to track the impact of collaborations with influencers on your brand and profile. You can check key metrics directly in your account or in an Instagram analytics dashboard and see which posts perform better.

4. Help Followers Make Purchase Decisions with AR Filters

Augmented reality (AR) is changing online shopping and consumer behavior. According to one report on augmented reality, the market is valued at $32 billion, AR-based shopping encourages almost half of all consumers to spend more, and 91% of gen Z-ers have a strong interest in AR-based shopping.

AR offers higher levels of interactive experiences that can create more engagement than other traditional advertising narratives. It also helps Instagram followers see products and try them out virtually before buying. As a result, customers gain a better understanding of products and potentially reduce uncertainty while increasing sales.

Here's how AR filters work in action:

5. Encourage Impulse Buying with Ephemeral Content

Snapchat was the first platform to experiment with ephemeral content, but its success inspired Instagram to implement ephemeral content elements into their platform. Back in 2016, Instagram Stories with a lifespan of 24 hours appeared, and this content format quickly reached 500 million monthly active users.

What's behind its success? The answer is FOMO (fear of missing out).

Since this content vanishes after 24 hours, people are motivated to watch it before it's gone, so it also gives a perfect opportunity to increase purchase intent and encourage impulse buying if you make good use of in-built features.  

Ephemeral content is a perfect way to implement ecommerce storytelling and grab the attention of your audience. What is more, Instagram Stories can be  perfect for promoting your time-limited sale as ephemeral content encourages action. 

For example, when LC Waikiki decided to create ads for its Black Friday campaign, the company created a series of Instagram stories with countdown stickers and also ran poll ads that invited people to choose their favorite products for discounts. The campaign yielded a 6.4-point increase in ad recall and a 4.1- point increase in brand awareness.


To get inspiration for your strategy, it's a smart move to spy on your competitors and you can use an Instagram Story viewer to view competitors' ephemeral content anonymously. 

6. Leverage the Power of Customer Feedback

Another great way to affect the purchase intent and turn potential customers into paying ones is to ease their worried minds during the discovery phase of the customer journey. Among sponsored posts, people want social proof now more than ever. According to one Nielsen survey, people seek out peer recommendations and 90% of them trust product recommendations from people they know and trust.

Thus, it's important to leverage the power of customer feedback and publish reviews from customers on your Instagram profile. Here are customer feedback options to use on Instagram:

  • Customer reviews

  • Case studies

  • Video testimonials

A good idea is to rely on social media monitoring tools to find brand mentions and collect customer feedback which you can use on your profile.

But if you don't have many reviews to repurpose for your feed, another option is to encourage user-generated content and repost fan-made posts to your feed. Check out how it looks in action:

re-sharing IG story

7. Promote Customer Loyalty Programs

For ecommerce businesses, loyalty programs have always been a great way to motivate new or existing customers to buy from you and test your products for getting something valuable in exchange for their loyalty.

If you have an Instagram presence and you want to increase purchase intent, spread a word about loyalty programs and the benefits of signing up for them on your profile. 


Increasing Purchase Intent on Instagram

Instagram has become a great marketing tool for business owners to market products and encourage potential customers to make purchase decisions. Moreover, Instagram has various strategies that help to increase purchase intent and therefore drive more ecommerce sales.