Monday 12 August 2019
Let me be the first to say, I love wasting time on Instagram. I mean it, I could spend hours scrolling through my feed looking at photos of dogs, food and the occasional sunset.
Is it the most productive use of my time? No, but I’ll be damned if I don’t get to have my say in a daily poll about which juice a random stranger should have with their breakfast.
My opinions have influence, people.
Speaking of influence, has anyone else noticed that you can’t get past at least two posts without an influencer trying to sell you something?
Teas, skin care and clothes, it’s all up for grabs. A retail dream for some, for others (like me) it’s a budget-busting disaster. But surely no one’s actually buying this stuff, I hear you protest. Wrong. Oh so wrong.
I did a bit of digging, naturally, and found that according to Hootsuite, 60% (600 million) Instagram users find new products on Instagram to try.
And not only are people looking for products to buy, 22% of users aged between 18-34 made a large purchase after seeing an influencer endorse it.
I’m no stranger to falling for clever marketing, but I’m not sure it’s that easy to win me over.
Or is it? For research purposes I decided to test out Instagram shopping for myself. The next time I was on Instagram, I would attempt to buy the first thing that appeared on my feed.
I came across a personalised vitamin service that tailors your daily vitamin intake to your specific needs. Innovative. Fresh. I like it. Add to cart.
After completing a quick quiz about what my ‘health needs’ are (ticked every box, to be safe), I was ready to check out.
My total came to around $75 and since my card details were already pre-saved, all I needed to do was tap ‘place order’. That was easy… too easy. It was a feeling I had felt before. And then it hit me.
How many places did I have details saved? Dominos for sure. I must hold the world record in placing the fastest pizza order. How many $50 pizza orders have I put through without thinking?
My guess is enough to open up my pizza place.
I then knew what had to be done: remove my card details from every site I had them saved.
Other than the fact that you can now have vitamins made to you liking? This month, I was forced to come to the realisation that social media, these days, is anything but a place to be ‘social’, it’s a virtual shopping centre disguised as pretty pictures.
I also learnt that pre-saving your card details is a dangerous game to play when it comes to any kind of online shopping and that thinking more critically about your spending is the way to go.
Giving myself a ‘cooling off’ period this month has stopped me from buying random things that I think I need in the moment, like a sustainable yoga mat (don’t ask).
And even though it’ll take me an extra minute to check out the next time I’m in the mood for a pizza or new dress, it’s one extra minute I’ll have to make sure it’s what I really want.