On Tuesday, Instagram announced three new features aimed at making the platform better for businesses. Called Instagram Business Tools, the new products allow companies to promote high-performing posts, create business profiles and see data analytics. It’s designed to help brands stand out, get insights and find new customers.
“With so many companies using Instagram, and many people on the platform interacting with them, there was a desire from our business community to do more,” Instagram said in a blog post announcing the move. “So we listened. And, after hundreds of interviews with businesses, three key needs became clear — stand out, get insights and find new customers.”
Here’s a look at the three new features:
Business profiles will be a free feature for accounts “wanting to be recognized as a business on Instagram,” the company said. “With a business profile, businesses 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.”
Not everyone will qualify as a business, however. TechCrunch reports that only companies with a prior Facebook page for their business will be able to convert their accounts.
“In doing that, it gives us the payment credentials, as well as if they want to prepopulate some of the information like their street address, the phone number, and the website,” James Quarles, Instagram’s global head of business and brand development, told TechCrunch.
The article continues: “It also means that self-promoters on Instagram who use the service to gain notoriety and followers but without a commercial interest won’t be allowed to use some of Instagram’s more desirable new tools, like the Insights feature.”
Promote Top Performing Posts
Sometimes even the best posts get lost in the abyss, unseen and unheard because it just couldn’t reach its intended audience. But now, businesses can promote posts so they appear higher in your audience’s news feed — for a fee.
“The ability to promote lets you turn well-performing posts into ads right within the app — helping you connect with even more customers,” Instagram said. “Simply pick a post you’ve already shared on Instagram and add a button encouraging people to take action.”
The ability to promote posts for a fee has been an option on Facebook for years now, but the company hadn’t implemented the option on Instagram since its billion-dollar acquisition four years ago.
Instagram’s new option to promote posts could be a boon for companies since the new algorithm will list some posts by relevance, rather than chronological order.
Elliott Murray, head of innovation at The Social Chain, an influencer marketing agency in London, said there could be some downfalls with promoted posts.
“Worryingly for businesses that have amassed sizable social audiences is the prospect that this paid method of boosting may become the only way to efficiently reach followers, as many businesses found with their pages on Facebook,” he wrote last week.
But Instagram’s Quarles told Recode that promoting a post is “intended to get in front of new users, not existing followers.” He also pointed out that these are not “boosted” posts.
“It’s promote, not boost, and I think that’s an important distinction,” Quarles told Recode. “You’re trying to promote [content] to a different audience … which is different from interacting or engaging with the audience you already have.”
Instagram’s Insights is meant to give businesses “actionable information about who their followers are and which posts resonate better than others,” the company said.
“By learning more about the behavior and demographics of your audience, you can create more relevant and timely content,” said Instagram.
TechCrunch reports that Instagram will debut mobile ad creation wherein users “will be able to promote well-performing posts and quickly turn them into ads, and the app can also offer suggestions based on the audience and budget.”
“This tool is designed to be something businesses can use with just a few taps, but that does mean there are trade-offs when compared with the more robust Facebook tools for creating Instagram ads, like Ads Manager or Power Editor,” TechCrunch reports.
But Quarles told Recode that the “hope is to entice more businesses to use, and advertise on Instagram.”
Business profiles, insights and the ability to promote posts will roll out in the United States, Australia and New Zealand in the coming months. It’ll be available globally by the end of the year.
Get More Out of Instagram’s Business Tools
Excited for Instagram’s new focus on business? So are we! With Curalate, businesses can not only make their Instagram accounts shoppable, but they also get smarter audience targeting based on individuals who have interacted with a company’s shoppable galleries.
Along with the new Instagram analytics, Curalate can help businesses determine which content is performing best, not just which content has the most likes. With Curalate data, companies can select content based on what’s driving the most clicks to site and product pages — providing a deep insight into which images are driving purchase intent as well as which products are driving conversions.