Instagram officially unveiled a new set of features coming to the service that’s specific to businesses accounts. The new Business Tools, as detailed by Instagram on its blog, are the result of hundreds of interviews with businesses who use the photo-sharing service to interact with customers.
Free to accounts wanting to be recognized as a business, the feature is built around new business profiles. From the consumer’s perspective, the only immediate difference between a business profile and a personal profile is the “contact” button, which businesses can set its functionality to call, text, or email, depending on their preferences. The contact button gives customers an easy way to get in touch with a company, and is largely the result of businesses complaining that communicating with followers on Instagram, through comments on photos, is simply not very efficient.
Another key component, which we reported a few weeks ago, is analytics, which will be built into business profiles so users can view stats about their accounts, right in the app. Instagram’s goal has been to make analytics as approachable and actionable as possible, citing concerns from business owners about how complicated it can be to effectively use analytics in marketing.
Instagram Business Tools also brings a new way for brands to advertise on the service, through promotions. While ads have been available on Instagram for some time, creating and publishing them has been more complicated. With a business profile, a brand managers can simply select an existing post and promote it for a set period of time, much like Facebook’s “boost post” function.
It’s no surprise that Instagram wants to make itself more business-friendly, echoing a move by its parent company, Facebook, which announced business pages back in 2007. And like Facebook, Instagram’s Business Tools will potentially open up a new revenue stream for the company.
Business Tools will be rolling out in United States, Australia, and New Zealand in “the coming months,” and be available worldwide by the end of the year.