Businesses will soon be able to find a new home on Instagram.
The photo sharing app previewed new profiles and tools for businesses Tuesday, which will be available to people in the U.S., New Zealand and Australia in the next few months.
The update, which we first got a look at earlier this month, will add a prominent “contact” button to profiles, detailed analytics tools and easier access to promotion tools, which turn Instagram posts into ads.
For users, the most noticeable change will be the addition of a contact button to profiles of businesses, which will make it easier to interact with stores and brands outside of the app. Companies will be able to add an email address, phone number, or text message option to their profile, along with directions (if they have a physical location.)
Though Instagram currently has a private messaging feature, many users still rely on comments for the bulk of their interactions, which are difficult to sift through if a post has more than a handful of responses.
Instagram will also give users with business profiles access to analytics — the first time such tools have been available within the app. Similar to the analytics available to those who manage Facebook pages, Instagram’s insights provide a detailed look at post engagement audience and follower demographics.
The new tools should be particularly welcome for Instagram’s small business users — many of whom depend on the photo sharing app for new customers. Though big brands have been advertising on the platform for some time, there hasn’t been a dedicated experience for smaller organisations, which make up the “vast majority” of Instagram’s business users, according to Jim Squires, the company’s director of market operations.
That’s now changing with the app’s new promotion tools, which will allow businesses to reach beyond their current followers through sponsored posts. Moreover, the feature, which allows organisations to select a target audience and call to action for their ads, were designed to be accessible to those without marketing or advertising backgrounds.
“We expect that many of the businesses that may use this function [promoting posts] are not advanced marketers,” Squires tells Mashable.
For Instagram, the new business tools also show that Facebook’s photo sharing app is finally maturing as a platform. The app, which now counts more than 400 million users, has had advertising for some time but, unlike Facebook, hasn’t had a robust mobile experience for businesses.
It also comes ahead of some much bigger changes to the platform. The app is testing a new algorithmic feed, which will orders posts by relevancy, rather than strictly chronologically — a move that has particularly upset many businesses. But, algorithms aside, the new business tools should help companies feel a little more at home on the app.