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Instagram will end live shopping in March

Brands and creators will no longer be able to tag products on livestreams.

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Photo by Solen Feyissa on Unsplash

Instagram is set to shut down live shopping in March.

The Meta-owned social platform shared the following on Tuesday:

Beginning on March 16, 2023, you will no longer be able to tag products in live broadcasts on Instagram. This change will help us focus on products and features that provide the most value to our users.

You will still be able to set up and run your shop on Instagram as we continue to invest in shopping experiences for people and businesses across feed, stories, Reels, ads and more.

Other live broadcasting features will be unaffected, including the ability to schedule a live broadcast, to invite guests to join your live broadcast, and to hold a live Q&A.

The move comes amid a wider rethink of shopping at Instagram. In January, the platform opted to remove the Shop tab from its homepage navigation, prioritizing the Compose button.

It’s not the first time a live shopping feature has been cut at Meta, either. Facebook ended its live shopping feature in October.

This move will no doubt add fuel the debate over whether live shopping can succeed in the U.S. at the same scale it has in China. To detractors, it will be a point to the column that it cannot succeed. Yet TikTok, Amazon and YouTube have all rolled out more extensive live shopping features over the last year, indicating that there is still plenty of energy being marshaled to make it work.

The move may say more about where shopping is heading on social platforms in general rather than a particular feature’s viability.

The last generation of social commerce was marked by features that made shopping a section within an app. With a shopping section, features to direct users there such as the Shop tab for browsing and the ability to tag products on a livestream run from a user’s shop are important.

However, social commerce is moving to become more embedded in the primary social experience. Pinterest recently said it would integrate shopping on the most-used areas of its app.

Similarly, Instagram said it will still integrate shopping across its popular feed, stories, Reels and ads. Look for shopping to play a bigger role within those experiences, rather than being a standalone feature within the app. The next wave of change seems to be betting that people will want to shop within the posts and stories that they’re already scrolling.

We’re not witnessing the end of social commerce, but rather a shift in strategy. This will mean change at the product level. Brands should pay close attention to the releases.

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