Digiday+ Member Article

Instagram in the middle
Instagram is now the most powerful platform middleman for brands after its addition of in-app purchasing, and brands will now have to decide whether to embrace their new internet overlord or try to keep a safe distance.

It’s a rich conundrum for direct-to-consumer brands, many of which have relied on Instagram in recent years to drive traffic to their e-commerce sites. Being direct-to-consumer meant cutting out the middlemen wholesale retailers which, in a typical brand relationship, dictate purchase schedules and own customer data. But platforms are middlemen too, and Instagram’s morph into a social media marketplace was inevitable after brands built customer bases audiences on the platform’s back. If Instagram’s going to inspire purchases, it might as well take a cut.

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