Instagram Gets Serious With New Business-Promotion Tools

The most important new feature is a single-button connection to business profiles; an analytics engine and a tool to promote posts are also being introduced.

So you thought Instagram was simply a lightweight app for kids to send photo messages. Well, as of Aug. 15, the Facebook-owned app has undergone its own self-makeover to become a serious business app.

That's right. Playful Instagram will now become a vehicle for Facebook to sell products while maintaining its simple photo-making personality.

To accommodate this additional identity, Instagram on Aug. 15 launched some new business tools, Instagram for Business, for its advertisers. The most important one is a single-button connection to business profiles; the company is also introducing an analytics engine and the ability to promote posts after the fact

You can view step-by-step instructions on "Creating a Business Profile on Instagram" in the company blog post here.

Business Profiles, Analytics, Promotion Tools

The features are available now in the United Kingdom and will be released in the United States, Australia and New Zealand in the next few months. They will become available globally by year's end, Instagram said. The tools were announced in June.

Here is more detail on the three business tools.

Business profiles: Business profiles are a free feature for accounts wanting to be recognized as a business on Instagram. With a business profile, companies can choose how they want their customers to get in touch with them: call, text or email with a tap of the contact button as well as get directions. Business profiles also unlock access to insights and the ability to promote, Instagram said.

Insights (analytics): Insights on Instagram give businesses actionable information about who their followers are and which posts resonate better than others—all from within the mobile app. By learning more about the behavior and demographics of your audience, you can create more relevant and timely content.

Promote: The ability to promote lets users turn well-performing posts into ads right within the app—helping them connect with even more customers. Users simply pick a post they have already shared on Instagram and add a button encouraging people to take action. They can select a target audience or allow Instagram to suggest targeting. After that, the user's post will be promoted as an ad for any length of time they choose.

Instagram Popular Among Businesses for a While

Turns out Instagram is a popular social network among businesses—about 200,000 of them have bought advertising at least once—so the mothership is going to take advantage and try and earn more income with it. Instagram is currently a popular network among millennials and teenage users.

In fact, a non-trivial number of users (exact numbers are not available) aged 15 to 35 have dropped off Facebook to move to Instagram during the past couple of years, mainly because they don't want to be on a social network their parents are using.

Official metrics released in June show that the photo-sharing app now has about 500 million registered users and that upwards of 300 million people use the service daily. Since 2014, Instagram's monthly user base has more than doubled in size.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 13 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...