Besides acting as a superb marketing and communications tool, Instagram is now a place where consumers can price items, shop around and make decisions about future purchases.
According to the latest research by AudienceNet, 67 per cent of young Australian users (18-34 years) said that Instagram helps them find new products, services, businesses or organisations.
With 53 per cent of users having bought a product based on what they’ve seen on the platform, a huge opportunity exists here for companies to showcase their products to eager buyers.
The company recently announced exciting updates to its business profiles to allow companies to connect better with consumers in a way that ultimately aims to generate sales.
Business profile features
Besides the obvious perk of being recognised as a viable business, users can now easily identify the category or industry the business fits into. In addition, business profiles now feature a Contact button to create an offline connection with consumers. Business can choose how users get in touch with a range of options including calling, texting, emailing or getting directions.
Those with an existing Facebook account will have even less to do, as Instagram automatically pulls the relevant information from a company page over to the app.
The most exciting new feature is that Instagram now allows business users to “promote” existing posts on the app to appear in Stories as well as the feed. Similarly to Facebook’s “Boost” option, users can choose from two objectives (website clicks and local awareness), add a call-to-action button, set a budget and timeline as well as customise the audience.
Instagram can suggest targeting to help businesses appear in the queue of more users. Admins will be able to track the number of impressions and website clicks for a promoted post in addition to likes and comments.
Instagram Stories launched in August 2016 and it has been an unprecedented success for the app. It provides a more casual insight into a business compared to the feed which tends to act more like a shop window. Speaking at Instagram’s Masterclass in Business last week, founder of The Collective, Lisa Messenger said, “it’s about being relatable and attainable”.
In September the platform rolled out Shopping in Stories globally, expanding it to businesses in 46 countries. In a quick tap consumers can now find out additional details about the product and have an option to buy.
Instagram revealed that more than 400 million accounts come to Stories every day, with one-third of the most-viewed stories coming from businesses.
Mark Baartse, chief marketing officer at Showpo, revealed that the shopping tags have reduced the workload of the Showpo customer support team.
“Our customer support team are inundated with requests, but the shoppable tags help people find answers immediately, so it cuts out the questions,” Baartse said.
Businesses now have a better opportunity to learn more about their audience with Instagram’s updated insights platform. Total reach and impressions is available across all posts and businesses can see which posts resonate best with followers and tailor future content to their interests. Admins can also discover when users are most likely to be active on Instagram so they can share messaging at the most appropriate times.
By learning about the behavior and demographics of the audience, businesses can be more effective at creating relevant content.
By 2021, mobile video will account for 78 per cent of total mobile data traffic and Instagram is leading the charge with IGTV. In June this year Instagram launched IGTV, to encourage longer videos in vertical format that are easily discovered through channels. Now users can share a preview image of an IGTV video to Stories. Friends can then tap through to watch the full video.
Businesses can be creativity with the type of content they show on IGTV, whether that’s behind-the-scenes material, interviews or public events.
The Shopping channel in Explore has also been expanded globally, offering personalized experiences for users.
The overall message from the Instagram team is that any business can be successful on the platform if they use it correctly. They recommend focusing on the central message of the business and remaining consistent in that messaging.