Instagram announced on Wednesday that it now has 1 million businesses advertising monthly across the photo-sharing app, a 400 percent increase from a year ago. With brands seeing more potential in the creative service, the Facebook-owned company said it’s planning on doing more to help businesses convert sales. Included in the roadmap will be a tool allowing consumers to book appointments directly from Instagram profiles set to roll out “later this year.”
More than 600 million people use Instagram worldwide and for various reasons. And while many are likely using it to share photos and videos with friends and followers, others are choosing to catch up with what their favorite brands are doing. Because a picture is worth a thousand words, users can get more out of seeing images of clothing, accessories, devices, locations, venues, and more versus reading about it. Underscoring this trend, Instagram said just within the past month, more than 120 million people “visited a website, got directions, called, emailed, or direct messaged” a company to learn more.
“People come to Instagram to follow their passions, from travel and fashion to food, entertainment and everything in between. And those passions extend to brands, with 80 percent of Instagrammers following a business today,” Instagram said in a blog post. To date, there are 8 million businesses using the app with a profile, largely made up of those in the U.S., Brazil, Indonesia, Russia, and the U.K.
Facebook has been working over the years to make Instagram more appealing to advertisers, launching new formats such as carousel ads, full-screen ads within Instagram Stories, and more, and brands seem to quickly respond. In a study published by RBC Capital Markets, a majority of marketers surveyed indicated that Instagram was the preferred platform of choice over Snapchat.
Hitting the 1 million active advertiser mark took Instagram four years since the photo app began serving ads. It’s clear that more options will become available for marketers and brands in the future, but it seems the next step is to help businesses convert fans into customers — and that means a new tool to book a service, which some posit will rival Yelp and other review services. Adding new buttons could be similar to what Facebook did with its Pages last year when it launched support for new call-to-action tools.
Like with other Facebook properties, Instagram attributes the simplicity of its service as being appealing to brands and advertisers, saying that Boomerang and Hyperlapse help “quickly develop compelling content. And with a mobile-first platform, placing an ad is easy too. It takes as little as four taps to create an ad from a business profile.”