It finally happened. Instagram announced that it will offer business tools, which include business profiles, analytics and promoted posts. Instagram has firmly positioned itself as a social media marketing network. After all, there is arguably no better place to target millennials and other hip crowds.
“After hundreds of interviews with businesses, three key needs became clear -- stand out, get insights and find new customers,” the release on official Instagram blog says. So, to allow businesses to stand out, the platform will offer free business profiles that enable managers to choose a preferred way of getting in touch with them -- call, text or email with a tap of the contact button. Analytics and ads will also be available to business profiles.
The analytics, which are called Insights, will provide information about the most engaging posts, best times to publish, follower base growth, all among other cool statistics right in the app. This is the first time marketers will get this information from the first source, instead of third-party apps.
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Finally, the ability to promote will be similar to the current option of boosting posts on Facebook -- by simply clicking a button, you can promote your select posts. One thing worth mentioning is the capability to choose targeting yourself or let Instagram suggest an audience for a post, which is unique to the platform. The big brother Facebook doesn’t have this “auto-suggest” feature (yet).
According to the post, the new features will be first rolled out to users in the United States, Australia and New Zealand. The social network is planning to make new tools available to all users by the end of the year.
These new features were long in order for marketers and small business owners. The relatively small number of reliable third-party analytics apps was frustrating them for a while. So, the latest update will definitely help people who are on Instagram to get exposure, reach new audiences and find new clients.
However, it also puts more pressure on marketers. Recent Instagram strategy definitely reminds Facebook moves circa 2013, when business accounts were hit with significantly lower organic reach rates. First, Instagram retires its chronological feed in favor of an algorithm-based order. Next, it changes its logo (which was beloved by so many) in favor of a trendy flat design. Now, the business accounts and tools will definitely separate commercial accounts from non-commercial accounts.
Instagram is running a very thin line here if their next move will be to suppress organic reach of posts from business pages. After all, this is a primary reason why Instagram became one of the most popular marketing platforms -- the power to reach as many people as you possibly can, without any limits on the number of people, or the times they see a specific post.
While arguably handy features, like algorithms, filter out noise, people still prefer to be in control of their media consumption. Although it seems that the latest course of action primarily affects business accounts, users who love Instagram for its simple photo-sharing abilities might find new updates annoying -- and well, too similar to Facebook’s decision to curate content.