Facebook held its F8 Developer Conference April 30, 2019 and delivered some significant news that will impact businesses in the immediate future. The announcements reveal more of a greater overall philosophical shift than merely a technical one. However, technical upgrades are very much in the works.

The changes are geared toward making Instagram more of a community a la Facebook, its struggling older sister site, and less of a simple superficial photosharing juggernaut. Here are the shopping highlights from the conference that are most impactful for our community.

Facebook users can already make purchases directly on Facebook - without leaving the site. Instagram last month started allowing select brands to sell directly through the app. Now, users will be able to do the same.

Yesterday Instagram announced they are now testing platform selling for their users -- albeit with a limited amount of influencers eligible to participate. However, if previous testing pace holds true, we are likely to see this feature available for most companies in the very near future.

What does the NEW Instagram Shopping experience look like? According to Buzzfeed:

Instagram has also added ways for people to spend more money on the platform. Last month, users could start buying products from certain brands directly on the app through shopping tags, which are like Facebook’s “Shop Now” ad modules, except they don’t look like ads. Today, Instagram said select influencers could start adding those shopping tags to their posts. (An Instagram spokesperson clarified that influencers would not get a cut of any revenue generated from those shopping tags.)

And TechRadar writes:

The biggest update is for creators who want to share their fashion choices with followers. No more dropping product URLs in a post's comments or personal bio: starting next week, creators will be able to directly link to products through their post images by tagging specific items. Only participating brands will be linkable, which are listed in a company post.

Who are the lucky "creators" who can use this feature on Instagram? Here's the list from Instagram:

We'll begin testing this with a small group of creators over the coming weeks. Creators in the initial test include: Aimee SongAlissa AshleyAlondra OrtizAlyssa CoscarelliAnnabelle FleurAshley StrongBlair EadieBrittany XavierCamila CoelhoCandace ParkerChriselle LimCole CarriganChiara FerragniDave GilboaDevin BrugmanDiana SaldanaDylana Lim SuarezElle USAEllen V LoraGigi HadidGQHannah BronfmanHuda KattanHypeBeastIsabel BedoyaJaleesa MosesJen AtkinJenny CipolettiJuju Smith-SchusterKaren GonzalezKathleen FuentesKatie SturinoKevin NinhKimberly DrewKim Kardashian WestKris JennerKylie JennerLaura KimMadelynn FurlongMary Lawless LeeMona KattanNatalie Lim SuarezNegin MirsalehiNeil BlumenthalNikita DragunNicole WarneParker Kit HillRefinery29Romero JenningsRonnie FiegRosy McMichaelStephanie Ann ShepherdTyler HaneyVogueand Yovanna Ventura.

And who are the Brands who Creators can link to? Instagram is beta testing the following brands:

Over the course of the coming weeks, people in the US will be able to checkout with Adidas, Anastasia Beverly Hills, Balmain, Burberry, ColourPop, Dior, Huda Beauty, H&M, Kith, KKW Beauty, Kylie Cosmetics, MAC Cosmetics, Michael Kors, Mr. Porter, NARS, Net-a-Porter, Nike, NYX Cosmetics, Oscar de la Renta, Outdoor Voices, Ouai Hair, Prada, Revolve, Uniqlo, Warby Parker and Zara.

This limited list and yesterday's announcement will certainly have brands and creators clamoring to get in on the action. How can your brand participate? Apply now to be a part of the Beta program HERE.

Instagram is booming, while Facebook is declining in popularity among users, and yesterday's conference revealed that the platform is not weeping over their losses -- rather they are allowing Facebook to simmer while turning up the heat on Instagram.

This new shopping strategy will also inevitably bolster the already hyper-frenzy around influencers. The race to gain followers and influence will now be booming as the payment structure is significantly streamlined. In Instagram's older link-resistant model, influencers had to primarily rely on codes to get recognition for their sales. Now, with trackable links directly in their photos, there will be no question as to about their influence.