In a move that could prove very popular among business users, and very lucrative for the network itself, Instagram have announced that soon companies will be able to include a contact button on their profile. The new feature comes among two other notable profile features which look to make business Instagram profiles more like Facebook pages.
Earlier this year Instagram made clear that they were developing business profiles to give them enhanced features and data. A spokesperson for the company announced that this would include better analytics on the performance of organic posts, the ability to purchase ads independent of Facebook, and specific profiles for businesses. These new features are obviously being developed in relation to the latter, clearly as attempt by the network to make Instagram more appealing to business.
Taylor Loren of Later Blog recently featured screenshots of these new business profiles. The most notable development is a new “contact” button to the left of the “following” button at the top, directly underneath post and follower/following data. When clicked, this button prompts the user to select either “Get Directions” or “Email” – see below:
These new features echo existing business user trends for Instagram bios. Currently it is not uncommon for businesses to include vital contact information, location and company information – and for good reason. These small bios are currently the only place that businesses who choose to market on Instagram can encourage click-throughs by their network. They have so far proven essential for providing content that captivates and encourages engagement by users. Now these new features look to compliment that.
Instagram has allowed brands to have profiles on the network for a long time now, yet these updates appear to be the first real evidence of specific investment into this market. It’s certainly about time – the network now boasts a record monthly active user rate exceeding 400 million, and forecasters have predicted an expected 26.9 million new users over the next four years.
Instagram currently has over 200,000 advertisers on their network, and have been continually increasing their focus on advertising for brands and businesses. These business tools could certainly help make the network more appealing for smaller businesses looking to tap into their audience. However, could they risk disengaging users and halting growth by focussing too much on monetising their service for businesses and reforming their model to look more like parent company Facebook? Only time will tell.