Following the recent news that Facebook users will now be able to book hotels and restaurants directly through the app (more on that here), Instagram has now jumped on the bandwagon, redefining the way businesses will interact with their followers forever.
The news comes as no surprise, as the Facebook-owned app – acquired for $1 billion back in 2012 – has a growing community of over 600 million active users per month. It was therefore only a matter of time before Instagram found a way to interact with its users in a way that was more transactional. Of course Instagram currently allows targeted ads and PPC campaigns in its feed, but the offering is now being expanded. Much in the same way that hotels will now begin to see instant and measurable results on their social media activities – beyond the accruing of likes and comments – businesses on Instagram will now see an actual, trackable ROI from their social activities.
Now, as users trawl through an endless sea of foodie hashtags, ranging from #foodporn to #nom, if something takes their fancy, they’ll be able to express their appreciation by more than simply liking or commenting. Instead, app users can make a reservation or appointment with a business directly via the image they see before them. Not only is this good for businesses, but it makes the consumer journey that little bit easier.
A game changer for the millions of businesses advertising on Instagram monthly (the only cohort the service is available to), it’s expected that this will be the first of many revolutionary steps in the app’s offerings to businesses, having already added several call-to-actions such as calls, messaging and maps. Launched as a means to share imagery with fellow photographers around the world, it could be argued that the app’s step further into advertising is diluting the very foundations and philosophy upon which it was built. Yet on the other hand, you might argue that this is exactly what the app was born to do, as without the option for taste testing and smellogram all but a pipe dream, food can be a tough sell. It’s therefore the natural and logical step for restaurants – whose product can only be sold online by visual appeal alone – to take to Instagram and make the most of its rose-tinted filters to showcase their products and in turn, hope they are rewarded for their efforts with a reservation.
So whilst for now, it’s only Facebook that has enabled hotel bookings to be made directly through the app, we fully expect Instagram to follow suit in the months to come, showcasing hotels and allowing users to book them directly rather than through a third party.