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Instagram officially means business.

Following a spur of rumors and leaks this past week, Instagram has officially announced the new features for small and medium-sized businesses in an effort to kickstart the app’s advertising revenue.

These new features are highlighted by the ability to:

    • Buy ads within the mobile app
    • Have access to Instagram analytics (Insights)
    • Create business profiles, letting brands or companies add a contact button so that customers can click to call or email

This is really the first time you can advertise like this within the app,James Quarles, Instagrams global head of business and brand development, tells USA TODAY. “We have millions of businesses, great community members, and today we want to help them to have the capability to be a business on Instagram, not just be an account.

Plus, he adds, 50 percent of people follow a business on Instagram, and 60 percent learn about products and services on Instagram.

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This announcement signals Instagram’s inauguration into the social media advertising elite. Backed by the powerhouse that is Facebook, Instagram now joins the big four, which also includes Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat.

The timing is noteworthy, too, as industry insiders are officially predicting social media’s imminent advertising takeover,

The added analytics will also allow for a bigger picture to be to painted through data. As of now, Instagram analytics are only offered through third-party programs and often have lackluster data options. Instagram’s new analytic offerings, which will be called Insights, will offer the following (but not limited to) data:

    • Demographic details about your audience, including followerslocation, age and gender
    • Followers youve gained on an hourly and daily basis. This can help pinpoint which posts worked to convert users to followers, or which posts may have spread virally, for example.
    • Post data that tracks metrics like impressions, reach, website clicks and other follower activity (including a display of the most popular times of the day your followers are using Instagram)

Instagram will, however, be facing one massive hurdle in opening the floodgates to all businesses, big and small:

They need to protect the user experience.

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Instagram will now allow ads from businesses that may not have the same strategic and creative capabilities as big brands.

For any small business owner reading this and thinking, Hey, Id like to advertise on Instagram! let me be perfectly clear: High-quality creative is an absolute must to advertise on this platform. Sending out low-quality and quickly-produced ads will have the potential for some serious backlash both on the ad itself and for your brand image. If youre not sure where to begin with advertising on Instagram, its important to receive consultation on strategy and assistance developing imagery.

Each of the newly-announced business features is expected to roll out in the coming months and will reach all regions worldwide by the end of the year.

About the Author

Nick D'Ascenzo

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