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11 Instagram Hacks To Influence Customer Purchase Intent

In 2010, Instagram launched as a social media platform where users could share their personal photos with followers and none could have predicted the importance of Instagram hacks for ecommerce growth. 

Now, the Meta-owned platform has transformed into a powerful tool for brands to market their products and capture an audience that’s eager to shop. Instagram has blossomed to become a community of 2 billion monthly active users, 83% of whom discover and research products in-app.

The idea of using Instagram marketing for ecommerce isn’t new, as it's been attracting more and more companies for well over a decade. After all, Instagram is the social media platform that might just wield the most  influence over customer purchase intent.

How Does Instagram Influence People’s Purchase Intentions?

Unlike traditional ecommerce, where products are typically laid out on a category-specific grid using studio-shot images, on Instagram, audiences see “authentic” interactions with brands and real-world content showcasing products in use. There are three main reasons why Instagram is so influential when it comes to purchase intent.

  • Users and influencers give brand endorsements – Instagram is all about visual content, and people often post photos or videos of themselves enjoying products, whether it’s food, cosmetics, clothes, accessories, wellness supplements or any number of other categories. When followers see interesting products, they often reach out to the authors and ask for brand endorsements, which helps ecommerce brands get a wider audience of customers even without direct promotion of their products.
  • People discover and research products on Instagram – The content-sharing platform has unofficially become a search engine. When you hear about a brand for the first time, many people use Instagram to learn more about it. In fact, when a brand doesn’t have an Instagram account, people may question its legitimacy. Approximately 79% of users claim that they take action after seeing a product on Instagram
  • Instagram offers powerful features to sell products in-app – Instagram Ads was first launched in 2013, which allowed posts from brands to appear in users’ feeds, even when people aren’t following the company’s profile. That feature alone is an excellent way to sell products to the platform’s massive audience. Virtually countless other features have been introduced since then. Today, brands can choose from multiple ad formats, post “shoppable” content, create an Instagram storefront where users can browse and shop without leaving the app, and so much more. 

11 Instagram Hacks to Influence Consumer Purchase Intention

Now that you know the potential of Instagram to influence your customer’s purchase decisions, let’s take a look at 11 great hacks to help you get the yes: 

1. Make an Instagram Storefront

When walking through a mall with hundreds of stores, what pushes you to enter one shop over another? Brand recognition aside, it’s always the window display or whatever you can view from the outside looking in. This is exactly how your Instagram Storefront works, albeit in a digital setting. 

Having an Instagram storefront makes it easier for customers to browse, learn more, and shop for your products. Plus, in a world where convenience and instant gratification are expected, your customers will appreciate not having to open another app or webpage to shop. 

Making it more convenient for your leads to shop increases your chances of converting them into customers. 

Take a look at Food52’s Instagram Storefront:


Food52 organizes its products by categories, making it easier for customers to find what they’re looking for. It's one of the best Instagram best practices for ecommerce that creates a positive user experience, not only influencing consumers to convert but also encouraging brand loyalty and repeat purchases. For businesses that lack the internal resources or expertise, ecommerce outsourcing companies can help with setting up and managing an Instagram storefront

2. Optimize Your Instagram Account for Shopping

On top of having an Instagram Storefront, you can optimize your Instagram account for shopping by leveraging the platform’s multiple shopping features and creating a seamless user experience for your customer from discovery to purchase. Here’s how:

  • Add product tags to your in-feed posts – This will help customers quickly pinpoint which items in your posts are for sale and view their prices. 
  • Use Shoppable Stickers in your Stories – Shoppable Stickers have the same function as Product Tags, except they’re specifically for your Instagram Stories. 
  • Show your products in action – Show your customers how your product works and what they can expect from it. This makes it easier for them to visualize how your product can solve a specific problem or satisfy a need. 
  • Always include a call-to-action (CTA) – If you don’t ask, don’t expect anyone to take action—that’s the golden rule of social media. 


Fashion brand Madewell adds product tags to its in-feed posts so customers can easily find what they want. 

3. Collaborate with Instagram Influencers

Influencer marketing has become an unofficial core feature of Instagram, with 31% of users discovering new products through influencers and 41% of global social media users following at least one. This ensures that your customers are constantly seeing product recommendations. 

Influencers don’t just play a vital role in product discovery, they also influence your audience’s purchase decisions. For example, 21% of people between the ages of 18 and 54 have reported buying a product after seeing a recommendation by a trusted influencer. 

Even legacy brands like BMW have collaborated with influencers.

In honor of the relaunch of its X5 and X6 models, BMW wanted to find new and creative ways to reach new audiences and boost awareness. Thus, the leading automaker was looking for relevant influencers who could make creator-built video ads. To make the process easier, BMW turned to the influencer marketing service Popular Pays for selecting creators and iterating on the campaign with a test-and-learn approach. In this manner, BMW was able to increase its reach by 36% and achieve a 20% more efficient cost per action. 

Instagram Business: BMW

4. Show Off Products with Instagram Videos

Video is the most powerful and effective type of content on Instagram. An analysis by Mention revealed that videos receive significantly more engagement compared to other forms of content like photos and carousels. So, if you want to convince your target audience to take action, videos are your best bet. 

Reels, in particular, have proven effective for numerous brands. 

Instagram Business: KiwiCo

Children’s science and art brand KiwiCo used Reels’s built-in features, such as music, stickers, and sounds, to acquire more customers and increase subscription sales. This technique gave the brand a 30% higher return on ad spend compared to its standard ads. 

5. Leverage the Power of Ephemeral Content

Your customers scroll through the app with less than a 10-second attention span, which means you only have a few moments to capture their attention. A great way to do this is by triggering their fear of missing out, or FOMO. 

Use Instagram Stories to post limited-time offers that expire as soon as the content disappears, or use Instagram Live to take advantage of being on top of your followers’ feeds. 

Makeup brand Benefit Cosmetics hosted a live shopping event through Instagram Live to launch its newest waterproof mascara. During the live event, the products were pinned on the screen while the host talked about how to purchase them.

The campaign was a massive success, with 2.4 times more sales compared to its average, 95% of which were new customers—proof that ephemeral content can shorten the decision-making process and convince even first-time customers to take immediate action. 

Instagram Business – Benefit Cosmetics

To encourage impulse buying, it's also important to optimize your viewers’ Instagram Story experience. Here are two main Story features that influence consumer purchase intention:

  • Product tags. Include information about featured products along with the prices so that viewers can buy them in-app.
  • Swipe up link stickers. Add a relevant link that provides further information about your products. And remember to add a strong Instagram CTA that encourages viewers to tap on your link.

6. Utilize the Power of the Countdown Stickers

Similar to ephemeral content, countdown stickers can create hype around a launch or product release. This will give customers a sense of urgency and encourage them to finally make a purchase which results in more sales. 

The urgency brought about by the countdown sticker can boost your conversion rates and store traffic.

Hill House

Clothing brand Hill House utilizes Instagram’s countdown sticker to create hype about new product launches, thereby encouraging customers to take action as soon as the timer runs out. 

7. Create Branded Instagram AR Filters

Instagram AR filters allow you to engage with virtual audiences like never before. You can create an immersive interactive experience that can quickly boost engagement, increase awareness, and, as a result, positively influence your customer’s purchase intention. If you think videos are powerful for brand building, data show that AR filters are considered 4 times more engaging than regular video content, with an average dwell time of 75 seconds.


A specific AR filter that can directly influence your audience’s purchase intention is a “Try Before You Buy” filter. Since online customers aren’t able to physically try on your product, this AR filter can help them visualize what the actual product may look like when worn. 

Pro tip: if you use offline marketing techniques to reach your potential customers, you can generate a dynamic QR code that redirects interested people to your Instagram profile, where they can try AR filters and therefore test out products virtually.

8. Sell Solutions, not Products

In today’s crowded marketplace, it’s almost impossible to be completely unique. There may be tens of thousands of brands selling products just like yours. So, instead of focusing on the product itself, it’s crucial to highlight how it can solve your target audience’s problems or satisfy their needs. 

Take a look at this creative t-shirt ad by Urban Outfitters:

Urban Outfitters

Instead of simply describing the product, Urban Outfitters tells the story of the customer and how the product makes them feel. Bonus points for the comedic effort. 

And if you need more Instagram post ideas that sell solutions, check out the list below:

  • Case studies
  • Customer testimonials
  • Pain points' solutions
  • How-tos and tutorials
  • Niche interviews and trends

9. Feature Your Happy Customers

User-generated content (UGC) is an effortless way to sell your products without being too in your face about it. After all, people on social media don’t like being sold to in an over-aggressive or interruptive manner. By featuring your customers, your brand becomes more relatable and trustworthy. Not to mention, UGC is significantly more cost-effective than any other marketing effort because it’s mostly free. 

Plus, consumers trust UGC more than brand-driven content. In fact, 79% of people say that UGC influences their purchase decisions. 

Patagonia regularly posts UGC on its Instagram page, accompanied by a personal story about the featured customer. This shows that Patagonia doesn’t just share UGC for easy content but rather invests time in getting to know its customers, who are at the core of the brand.


However, if you receive customer feedback from happy customers, you can also ask for permission to repurpose it for your Instagram feed and feature customer reviews, testimonials, or case studies that increase brand loyalty and trust. 

10. Give Away Brand Freebies

Everyone loves a freebie. Even if the freebie isn’t a big-ticket item, your customers will surely appreciate it. You can host a simple giveaway contest to encourage engagement on your post, which is a quick growth hacking technique to build your following. 

Check out this giveaway by Pepper.ph:


The giveaway received thousands of entries even if Pepper.ph’s Instagram page only averaged in the low hundreds in terms of post engagement rate during that time. This helped boost brand awareness and consideration, which undoubtedly increased purchase intention. 

You don’t even have to give away a physical item. It can be as simple as offering free shipping for every $XX amount spent—customers are incentivized to take action whenever a reward is offered. 

11. Promote Loyalty Programs

Another great Instagram hack that affects consumer purchase intention is promoting loyalty programs. It's one of the most effective tactics for customer retention that gives your customers a solid reason to come back and buy from you.

Customers love loyalty programs. On average, American consumers belong to 16.7 customer loyalty programs. So if you have a program, it can be an important element of the post-purchase flow that encourages existing customers to come back and buy from you again.

Let's find out how M.A.C. spreads a word about its loyalty program to encourage followers to buy from them again:


In Short

Over the last decade, Instagram has evolved from a photo-sharing app into a powerful marketing tool that helps brands promote their ecommerce goods and sell them in-app. What’s more, this social media network has potential to influence consumer purchase intention and the above-mentioned Instagram hacks are effective in turning your followers into customers.

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