How Instagram Ads Are Changing Shopping

7 Steps to Instagram Shopping - Instructions for DUMMYS

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Instagram shopping has become a must in 2020. But many shop owners are often frustrated because, following the instructions from Instagram and Facebook, they actually did everything right. In the last 2 years we have activated over 100 Instagram shopping accounts.

Therefore, I would like to describe my experiences in this post and give meaningful and successful step-by-step instructions and explain for beginners why Instagram shopping is so important.

PS: If you are already too frustrated, book a strategy call with us and we will find a quick solution.

What is Instagram Shopping?

In 2017, the social media platform presented the option of tagging not only people, but also products on your photos. This has attracted a lot of attention, as many brands, dealers and manufacturers are represented on the platform and can use this opportunity enormously to be closer to the customer with their own products. A customer of ours once summed it up well:

Instagram shopping is a win-win situation where customers can find their favorite products faster

Quote: Instagram

The Instagram shopping function ?️

Instagram shopping advantages at a glance

  1. more visitors to the website after Instagram shopping was activated
  2. higher increase in sales
  3. higher conversion rate
  4. Increase in brand reach
  5. better way to work with content creators

Don't get me wrong, IG Shopping is a powerful feature. But if we take a look at all of a customer's sales (linear attribution analysis) across all social networks, you will see that IG Shopping is “only” in third place.

Instagram shopping requirements

You can find the requirements for Instagram shopping on the Facebook support page. But we have put together a few more tips that will be helpful when activating Instagram Shopping:

The right products

Do you sell products that are approved for the shopping function? In general it can be said that only physical products that do not cause harm can be sold. For more information on this topic, see the Facebook Terms of Use for Shopping. We can share the following with you from our experience:

Simple activation:

Difficult to unlock:

Activation not possible:

  • alcohol
  • weapons
  • Drugs
  • Narcotics
  • Medication

Shop, not a blog

You probably already know that you cannot sell products using your personal account. An Instagram Business account has already been created. Now it is also important that it is maintained like a business account. If your profile is more like a personal blog, it will likely not be approved for shopping. Delete the photos from your last weekend with friends or the family outing and show off your products! You can keep the following as a guideline: 8 of your last 10 photos should be photos of your products.

Profile picture or logo?

Your goal is to sell products. So what do you think is more convincing and more professional? Right, the logo. The best thing to do is to delete your face from your business profile and insert the logo from your shop. The best way to do this is to use a square one and at least 1080 x 1080.

Think about your category

Instagram Business lets you add a category that best describes your business. Try to avoid “personal blog” and rather choose a category that makes it clear that you are selling products. The “product / service” category, for example, is quite broad, but works very well for activating Instagram shopping.

Instagram shops examples

Do you need some inspiration for your Instagram shop? Then take a look at our blog post with 13 top Instagram shops.

Instagram shopping guide

With the following 7 steps you will have easier access to the shopping function of Instagram:

Step 1: Turn your Instagram account into a business profile

Instagram shopping requirements must be met. You can find it on the Instagram page and you have probably already read it. In most cases, anyone can tick them off.

Step 2: Create a Facebook Business Manager account

To do this, go to and register with an email address for a Business Manager account. In the first set-up you can link your website to the Business Manager.

Step 3: Create a catalog

You can use the navigation within the Business Manager to create a catalog. It's relatively easy to do, and Facebook does it very well. You have the option to upload your own data feed (via CSV or XML) or to synchronize product data directly from your shop system (best option). Below I list some shop systems or extensions that will help you with this.

Step 4: Set up the Facebook shop

My experience shows that with a set up Facebook shop, you can be activated for Instagram shopping more quickly. In most cases

Step 5: create an advertising account

You can add or create an advertising account on the homepage of your business manager. You don't need to enter any payment details or start a campaign.

Step 6: Link Instagram to Facebook

Go to your Instagram app. Under Settings -> Account -> Linked Accounts you can connect your Instagram account to your Facebook profile. Make sure that it is the same Facebook account that you used to create your Business Manager account in step 2.

Step 7: Wait and contact Facebook in an emergency

If all else fails, contact Facebook support. You can let your worries run free via an email form or directly via chat (not very often busy). In most cases, support will need the following information from you:

  • Instagram username
  • Product catalog ID (can be found in Business Manager under Product Catalog
  • on which device have you already tried it?
  • and which IOS or Android version is currently available there

Instagram shopping pictures guide

Since July 2020 Instagram has changed its internal guidelines. This should make it easier for new users to activate this function. We have again set up a little picture guide here.

Not approved for Instagram shopping - what now?

Should you get the following error message after all your efforts.

"Your account has not been approved for Instagram Shopping"


Then you shouldn't bury your head in the sand. I am currently getting 4-5 inquiries per week because Instagram is apparently making its shopping function more and more restrictive.

So you have to be extremely careful that there are no errors in your product feed, that the titles and descriptions do not contain red flag words and much more. Here I have listed the most important malfunctions and problems that can lead to your being rejected on Instagram Shopping:

  1. Prohibited content or products - One of our customers sells weapons or knives. Here you have to be careful that the title or description does not cause any problems. Various products also completely violate Facebook's regulations and are generally not permitted. Check out the full list in the Facebook Policy.
  2. Digital products - If you mainly sell digital products or service products such as video courses, coaching or training programs, then you hardly have any chance of being able to use the Instagram shopping function.
  3. Technical errors in the product feed - Again and again I see major errors in the product feed from our customers. It should contain all important information. Above all, this includes: title, description, availability, condition, price, ID and link to complete the purchase.
  4. Purchase completed via the messenger - Many people like to set up a Facebook shop before they start shopping on Instagram. Now there is also the possibility to regulate the purchase process in the Facebook shop via the messenger. If this is the case with you, you have to create a new catalog of goods and submit the application again.
  5. Does your shop really look like a shop? - see if around 80% of your account consists of product photos. If you have too many private photos in your feed, Instagram could reject the shopping feature for you.
  6. A logo is essential nowadays - have you already set yours?
  7. Assign a category to your shop - this way Instagram can better classify your shop. Are you unsure which category suits your shop best? From experience we can say that the category “Product / Service” has been accepted by Instagram for some shops.

No matter what errors should appear. As an agency partner, we have direct access to Facebook and can address your case directly. Does that sound interesting?

Our customers say everything ...

Congratulations, you did it

If you've made it this far, you should be Instagram shopping ready. Congratulations 🙂

Now everything should be ready to mark your Instagram posts with products.

How was your experience

Did everything work out the same for you as it did for us?

Feel free to write us in the comments whether it worked.

PS: I answer all comments and I am happy to help. Speaking of help, here you can answer a few questions if you want personal and quick help. I usually activate Instagram shopping within 14 days.