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Instagram launches new apps for SMEs

Instagram has launched a new suite of tools aimed at small business users that will be rolled out over the coming months.

The tools are designed to help business users better understand the performance of their paid and organic content on Instagram. The social media site says it has talked to business owners and reports that they want analytics tools that will help them understand customers better and attract new customers; they also want help making their profiles and posts stand out.

The key new developments on Instagram are:

  • Account insights allows businesses to monitor impressions, reach and brand engagement;
  • Ad insights shows the performance of paid campaigns with brand analytics (impressions, reach and frequency) for individual ads delivered to a target audience;
  • Ad staging allows advertisers to preview, save and collaborate on ad campaigns.

According to Tech Crunch, the new business profiles will allow qualifying users to upgrade their accounts to gain access to new features. This includes the added ability to let customers reach out to them via phone calls, emails or texts with a tap; and profiles will include maps and directions to the business, where appropriate. However, only those that have a Facebook Page for their business will get access to the business apps on Instagram.

It also means that self-promoters on Instagram that don't have a commercial interest won't be allowed to use some of the new tools, Tech Crunch has revealed. Instagram says it will initially test Insights with verified accounts and those with large followings.

Instagram is also launching mobile ad creation. Tech Crunch reports that business users will be able to turn high-performing Instagram posts into ads in just a few clicks. It says the app will also offer suggestions based on audience and budget.

James Quarles, Instagram's Global Head of Business and Brand Development, said: 

"We've grown to 200,000 active advertisers on Instagram and the vast majority of those are small to medium businesses."

According to Quarles, 50% of people follow a business on Instagram and 60% learn about products and services on Instagram.

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