The company throws out a lot of different statistics (back in September it said it had 800 million monthly active users, 500 million daily active users and 2 million advertisers), but this one’s significant as a measure of how many businesses see Instagram as an important way to connect with customers. Instagram also says that more than 80 percent of Instagram accounts follow a business, with 200 million users visiting a business profile every day.
The growth is impressive since Instagram only launched these business profiles — which allow for more functionality in the profile itself, as well as access to additional analytics — about a year and a half ago.
Vishal Shah, director of product for Instagram Business, said that nearly 50 percent of business profiles don’t link to an outside website, suggesting that they see Instagram as their primary or sole online presence. Businesses that are “natively born” on Instagram often do the best on the platform, he said.
The growth in business profiles could also mean more competition for users’ attention. You may remember that Facebook (which owns Instagram) faced criticism a few years ago as it became harder and harder for businesses to reach their fans organically, without ads, a trend that Facebook blamed on the growing amount of content in the News Feed.
Shah suggested that things could play out differently on Instagram. Certainly, businesses need to be smart about what they post to the feed and in their Instagram Stories, but the distribution strategy goes beyond that, to things like search and hashtags.
In fact, Instagram says that two-thirds of visits to business profiles come from users who don’t follow that profile. And one of the ways that Shah wants to grow the business product is by providing more detail about where visitors come from and what they do “downstream,” during or after that visit.
These days, any conversation about online advertising is also part of a bigger discussion about transparency, specifically the responsibility that the big platforms face in preventing the spread of misinformation. On that front, Shah noted that his team works closely with Facebook on transparency, and that Instagram is included in Facebook’s upcoming ad transparency initiative.