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Instagram Business Profiles to feature ‘Contact’ buttons, directions and more

TechCrunch TechCrunch 4/05/2016 Sarah Perez

Instagram had confirmed earlier this year that it was developing business profiles – basically, the Instagram equivalent to a Facebook Brand Page. Now, we’re able to see what these profiles look like as they’ve been spotted in the wild. The profiles, which are currently being tested with a small group of users, offer a variety of useful features for those who run a business account on Instagram, including a “Contact” button, access to maps and directions, and the ability to categorize the business by type.

The screenshots of the business profiles were first posted by the blog Later.com.

The most visible difference between the business profile and a personal one is the new, white “Contact” button at the top of the screen, to the left of the “Follow” button.

When pressed, a pop-up menu appears offering directions to the business or the ability to email the account. It’s interesting that Instagram is choosing to allow businesses to receive traditional emails instead of relying on Instagram’s own messaging system – but that also makes sense, as many businesses today prefer email. In fact, they will often provide this information directly in their Instagram bio.

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Users are also able to get directions to the business from this same menu, the site reported. This will be especially useful in the case of local retailers who have, to date, been working around the inability to include business information like this by putting their location in their bio. Plus, users are able to click on the location tag in order to launch a map interface.

The business pages are categorized, too, similar to how Facebook Pages list the type of business underneath their name.

This is useful in terms of letting consumers know what kind of business is represented, but it could also help Instagram to curate its feed in the future, or even its newly launched, themed video channels in its “Explore” section.

The business profiles have not yet launched broadly, so it’s not likely that most users will see them in their Instagram feeds at this time.

An Instagram spokesperson confirmed the profiles, saying that “we are testing new business tools coming to Instagram in a few months.”

What those further tools may be is not a mystery, however – the company had previously confirmed these profiles were in the works, along with features that would allow brands to track how their posts are doing, plus the ability to buy ads from a mobile device. These are critical features in terms of allowing businesses to maintain a real presence on Instagram’s site, and make their accounts stand out to consumers.

In recent months, Instagram has been increasing its focus on its advertising, and in particular video ads, as well as its ability to work with businesses, as it begins to follow in parent company Facebook’s footsteps.

Today, Instagram has over 200,000 advertisers targeting the service’s 400 million active users, but it has yet to cater specifically to the smaller businesses who could potentially become an advertisers, if given the right tools.

Instagram would not confirm a launch date for the tools or further details, but we should know more in the near future.

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