Instagram Announces New Business Tools

Instagram is rolling out new tools for businesses, including special profiles, data analytics and the ability to turn posts into ads from the mobile social media app itself. Business profiles, available to firms that already have a Facebook page for their company, will be released in the next few months in the U.S., and by the end of the year worldwide. Promotional products suppliers and decorators active on the photo-sharing app were cautiously optimistic about the changes.

Business profiles would allow customers to contact them via phone, email or text with a tap, rather than having to post in the public comments. The profiles would also include maps and directions to the business when applicable. Insights from Instagram would track posts that are performing well, in terms of reach, impressions and engagement. It would also share demographic data on followers, like gender, age and location. Mobile ad creation would then allow users to promote well-performing posts and convert them into ads in a few taps.

“We now have more than 200,000 advertisers on Instagram; the vast majority of them are small businesses,” Instagram chief operating officer Marne Levine told Bloomberg. “We want to help them stand out to their customers more.”

Nadia Santoli, marketing director for Expert Brand (asi/53404), believes this is a step in the right direction for Instagram. “From a business perspective, we always want to know what created audience engagement, and Instagram’s new platform will enable us to analyze this data to improve our social media marketing strategy.”

Dan Corcoran, owner of Forward Printing (asi/700635), is reserving judgment until he sees how well the new tools function. “Most power users are already using third-party apps that handle the new features they are offering, and I’d expect that API changes may render some of those useless,” he says. “I’m just worried that Instagram’s implementation may not be as thorough or useful.”

Still, he’s intrigued by the idea of mobile ad creation through the app: “We haven’t paid for an ad in about three years, but have been toying with the possibility of running ads on Instagram, and it seems like these changes will make it easier to do so.”