Vogue Magazine, Instagram, and the Future of Affiliate Marketing

An instagram post from Vogue Magazine showing how to make a scarf into a cross body bag

An instagram post from Vogue Magazine showing how to make a scarf into a cross body bag

This week, Vogue Magazine revealed a new feature of their Instagram feed: the ability for followers of the page to purchase featured items from the app. This is all done through a tool called, which allows followers of the Vogue Instagram to purchase featured items with a simple “like” of a photo.

The service works through specific shortlinks, which are included in the description section of each of Vogue’s Instagram photos. Any time a user ‘likes’ one of the photos, the service automatically sends them an email with a link to purchase the items featured. For every purchase made through Vogue then takes a commission, transforming their Instagram feed into a dynamic marketplace. is the most recent offering from start-up RewardStyle, which allows independent fashion bloggers to take commissions from sales made from their recommendations. represents a logical next step for their offerings, as more and more style bloggers are supplementing their websites with Instagram feeds. The benefits for merchants are apparent as well, with the most popular Instagrammers having reach and engagement that rivals the internet’s most visited websites., and RewardStyle represent a new “moment” in affiliate marketing, a technique that’s been around since the beginning of ecommerce. Put simply, affiliate marketers earn money by driving traffic to merchant sites, and while this technique was instrumental in the growth of merchants like Amazon, eBay, and Zappos, it’s also enabled the proliferation of male enhancement, weight loss, and a variety of other spam.

With $4.1 billion in predicted investment in affiliate marketing strategies in 2014[i], there’s no questioning the need for a service like, which adds yet another platform for affiliate marketers to promote goods. The question is, what type of marketers will flock to the service, the aspiring fashion blogger, or the established spammer? While the service clearly targets the former, simplicity and reach of Instagram might prove to be too enticing for spammers to ignore.