Social media site owned by Facebook has another shock in store for its retail rivals.
Instagram is Facebook’s cool younger brother, unsullied by all those “adult” debates about ethics, politics, and making stuff up to satisfy advertisers’ demands for eyeballs, that Zuckerberg’s first has had to go through, as well as being unexpectedly up-to-date and down with the kids, thanks to its strategy of copying everything its new classmate, Snapchat, does.
It’s still a surprise to discover that Instagram has 1 million advertisers monthly on its platform, however – they grow up so fast these days, right?
400m users are now Instagramming every day, which is noteworthy, but that is not the only reason why the number of advertisers has grown from 200k just over one year ago, to 500k in September, and now the big one-oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh.
James Quarles, Instagram’s head of advertising, told Tech Crunch that Instagram was a place people followed their passions, whether “a very mainstream thing like following their favourite musician, or a niche business like Candy Art.”
From a niche advertiser perspective, it must be comforting to know that 80% of all Instagram users follow a business, and that business ads can be placed in “only four taps” on a profile.
But the real Instagram ad zinger is still to come. According to Quarles (according to Tech Crunch), businesses will soon be able to install call-to-action buttons on their profiles that will allow users to make an appointment with them directly, or book one of their services.
No more Open Table – Just Eat?
That, according to Quarles, should successfully help to manoeuvre Instagram into the “primary storefront for business” category – an important distinction.
It may sound like so much marketing speak, but it is all part of the game to try to keep people within an app for as long as possible. If I see something I like on Instagram, god forbid I should have to move to another app or online to take a closer look at, or buy it.
Instagram sounds like it may be becoming Tinder for shopping – which will doubtless frighten a lot of independent ecommerce apps – but this is Facebook after all – when reality bites, you may well need them more than they need you.
Still, Facebook are adept at working alongside developers and small businesses in a complementary manner – as long as they are not doing what Facebook / Instagram / Whatsapp wants to do – so there is no reason to panic if you are not on Instagram yet.
When it comes to marketing channels, the lines between business and pleasure these days, are growing ever thinner.