Product Tag Marketing: treading a new path in the customer journey

Pioneered by IKEA and Instagram, visual product tags are breaking out of walled gardens and into retailers’ tech stacks. Here’s why the nascent technology has the potential to be the next PPC…

Mark Osuna-Senn and Pablo Alguindigue at Scopa Analytics take a look at the evolution of product tagging, and why the relatively new practice can be a triple-win for performance marketers, retailers and consumers alike. 

Tagging and product tagging can mean a multitude of things depending on the context. What we are looking at today is one instance of product tagging that we will see become a lot more prevalent in the coming years in making content more effective at driving sales.

As tracking cookie deprecation and Facebook outages have all-too-painfully demonstrated, the open web and first party data are growing in value to both brands and marketers looking to reach their core audience. As a result, new on-site tools like visual product tags are offering a host of new consumer touchpoints that can both drive sales and offer up valuable insights into customer behaviour without a reliance on big tech platforms. 

What is Product Tag Marketing (PTM)?

Product Tag Marketing refers to the form of product tagging as a user experience feature that helps users quickly identify and click-through to the items featured in a specific image. This feature allows marketers to accomplish a number of goals like growing product exposure, increasing user engagement, but most commonly to increase content-driven sales. 

As the concept grows outside of specific social media platforms to independent websites and catalogues, we will see product tagging as a UI feature become best practice.

We first saw instances of this with Instagram Shopping back in 2017. Content was suddenly more shoppable but still looked organic. Users would find that the “tap to view products” button would reveal product names and prices. 

Since then Instagram has further prioritised monetising their content and product tagging has become more and more front-and-centre.

Today there are a number of different avenues that Product Tag Marketing is making its way to the forefront of the digital content and shopping experience, outside of Mark Zuckerberg’s walls. From other similar platforms adding product tagging like Amazon and Pinterest, to more independent forms like brand-developed solutions and universal plug-and-play Product Tag Marketing solutions.

Platforms with Product Tag Marketing

Amazon introduced Posts in late 2019 as a way to create a more comprehensive customer experience. Shoppers can browse through products on their mobile devices and discover new brands through feeds populated with product Posts related to their searches. Shoppable Photos are just what they sound like: your images, displayed on your storefront, with tagged links to Amazon product detail pages. Shoppable Photos are a tool to tell your stories and share your tips with your audience through lifestyle visuals and captions. 

Pinterest added their “Shopping” tab back in 2020. But this summer, Pinterest took the plunge and brought in the product tagging features for creators to monetise their content for the first time, enabling both the tagging of Ideas Pins with shoppable products and brand partnerships with sponsored content.

Brands have started to do it on their own too

IKEA, known for being at the forefront of commerce trends implemented their own custom UI product tagging features for their website and online catalogs.

For those without an IKEA level development team and UI budget at their disposal, there are plug-and-play solutions that brings those PTM features to websites.

The Scopa Tagging Platform (from Scopa Analytics) offers Product Tag Marketing features with quick implementation and universal compatibility. It currently works with every major website and e-commerce platform: Wordpress, Shopify, WooCommerce, BigCommerce and more. On top of just the UI benefits, the Product Tag Marketing tool offers robust analytics tracking with each tag tracking individual metrics like impressions, clicks, conversions and more.

The animation below demonstrates the type of functionality available on these platforms.   Concluding thoughts

Tagging and product tagging can mean a multitude of things depending on the context, but in the context of UI specifically, Product Tag Marketing will become essential to increasing the effectiveness of content in the customer journey. For brands, being able to have higher intent traffic driven to multiple products from a single image is key. 

We predict Product Tag Marketing on first party content will become best practice as the digital marketing segment grows.

By Mark Osuna Senn

Co-Founder, CEO

Scopa Analytics

Pablo Alguindigue

Co-Founder, CTO 

Scopa Analytics