Instagram’s Business Update: SMB-Friendly Profiles, Simplified Analytics

Following a series of leaks, the photo-sharing app has gone public with its new toolset, which appears aimed at appealing to SMB advertisers.

Instagram has officially debuted its new tools for businesses, adding “business profile” pages, updated analytics, and the ability for marketers to turn well-performing posts into ads seamlessly within the app.

The launch follows a series of leaks over the past few months, so this “official” announcement largely serves to confirm what we already knew. Still, now that everything is set in stone, it’s worth exploring how the proposed updates will affect local businesses that are active on the photo-sharing platform.

“We’ve grown to 200,000 active advertisers on Instagram, and the vast majority of those are small to medium businesses,” Instagram’s Global Head of Business and Brand Development, James Quarles, told TechCrunch. Plus, he added, “fifty percent of people follow a business on Instagram, and sixty percent learn about products and services on Instagram.”

Business Profiles

As Instagram explained in its announcement, with a business profile — essentially the Instagram equivalent of Facebook’s Pages — 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. Business profiles also unlock access to insights and the ability to promote. (More on this below.)

Why is this big for SMB’s? Well, if users can seamlessly contact — or get directions to — a nearby business with the touch of a button on Instagram, that business is likely to see an uptick in foot traffic. It also requires very little tech-savvy on the part of the business; as has been proven on Facebook, SMBs with small budgets can set up a simple brand page and then respond to customer inquiries even without much tech know-how, making it an easy way for businesses to up their one-to-one communication with customers.

Insights And Promote

Insights on Instagram is aimed at giving businesses better information about who their followers are and which posts are truly resonating with them — all accessible from within the mobile app.

The motivation behind this is simple: By learning more about the behavior, demographics, and location of an Instagram audience, brands can hope to create more relevant content that will translate into boosting future sales.

These insights also relate directly to Instagram’s third new tool, Promote. With Promote, once businesses that are active on the platform know which posts are performing well, they can turn them into ads within the app.

It’s a simple process: Businesses merely pick a post they’ve already shared on Instagram and add a button encouraging people to take action. They can select a target audience or allow Instagram to suggest targeting, helping to ensure that the custom ad is shown to people who are most likely to make a purchase.

“With these new business tools on Instagram, the furniture store in San Francisco can receive emails from customers saving valuable time responding,” Instagram wrote in its blog post. “The retailer in Austin can better understand its audience, tailor its content and refine its marketing strategy—even beyond digital. And the do-it-yourself craft shop in New York City can quickly fill a seat, move a product or get people into its store with ads on mobile.”

About The Author
Lauryn Chamberlain Lauryn Chamberlain @laurynchamberla

Lauryn Chamberlain is the Associate Editor of A New York City based journalist, she specializes in stories related to retail, dining, hospitality, and travel.