Despite being over four years now since Facebook purchased Instagram, the photo-sharing social media app has consistently lagged behind in terms of product offerings for advertisers & business. From an ads perspective, some of this made sense—the company desired a “slow rollout” of ads into its platform to not alienate long-term supporters; and, with Facebook’s monetary backing (and no real need for extra revenue itself), there has been no hurry.
With advertisers chomping at the bit, Instagram has made strides in stepping up its ad game in the past 18 months. While late 2014’s initial “business tools” offering was limited in scope, it’s been nearly six months since ad buying was made available to all Instagram account holders through the Facebook Business Manager platform.
Yesterday, the company announced Instagram brand tools, which will give additional functionality and insights to businesses on the social network, even if they are not actively advertising.
As on Facebook, Instagram will be offering free business profiles for accounts if they choose to be recognized as a business on the social network. The business profiles will enable easy contact from consumers via one-tap call, text, or email.
Insights for Businesses
Once opted-in for a new business profile, the Instagram brand tools suite provides upgraded insights, including impressions and engagements per post for the most popular organic posts. Again, this is functionality that has existed in Facebook for some time, and will be a welcomed addition for brands on Instagram, who were previously left in the dark in terms of seeing how many people actually viewed organic posts (especially helpful now with the social network’s new algorithmic timeline).
In-App Promoted Posts
The Instagram brand tools announcement included an ads feature previously unavailable for businesses—the ability to promote organic posts directly from the app itself. In the past, this functionality was limited to Facebook Business Manager.
Instagram says that the new business profiles and their associated perks will be released in the U.S., New Zealand, and Australia “in the coming months”, and globally by year’s end. Given how long it takes for Instagram to make an announcement about a new feature, and for it to actually roll-out, however (see this post from June of 2015 previewing ads for all—which didn’t come out until September), “the coming months” probably shouldn’t be taken to mean anytime before the end of Summer.