Pics and Appointments: Instagram Expands Into New Category

Instagram, the popular photo-sharing app owned by Facebook, has announced that users will be able to book appointments via the app. For example, customers can schedule a haircut at a salon they follow by going to its Instagram profile and clicking a button. The move provides the app’s users with much more functionality than browsing photos and places it in competition with booking sites such as OpenTable and Yelp.

In addition to providing consumers with an easy way to make appointments for their favorite services, the new feature improves the app’s utility for businesses. Eight million businesses have Instagram accounts and over one million actively advertise using the app. Directly linking ads to bookings allows businesses to better convert followers into customers. Additionally, businesses already use social media to promote themselves to drive engagement, and including an option to book capitalizes on the demand this content generates. Thus, this feature makes the app’s advertising space more valuable.

Instagram’s booking feature creates a better use case for both consumers and advertisers as well as solves a fundamental problem faced by many popular apps. Companies such as Twitter and Snap Inc., the parent company of Snapchat, have faced difficulties raising ad revenue and monetizing their services, which may have caused Snap’s stock to plummet in the week following its IPO and led Twitter to underperform. Finding stable, creative new sources of revenue will help social media platforms grow and provide its users with enjoyable and usable content.

For more, visit Bloomberg.

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