Instagram is unveiling new features for businesses that want to use their profiles to message with customers and even facilitate transactions.
Even if you’re not a business on Instagram, you might still notice the addition of action buttons, which will allow you to make a reservation, buy a ticket, start an order or make a booking using third party services, all from an Instagram business profile.
The initial integrations include (deep breath) Acuity, Atom Tickets, Booksy, ChowNow, Eatstreet, Eventbrite, Fandango, GrubHub, MyTime, OpenTable, Reserve, Restorando, Resy, SevenRooms, StyleSeat, Tock and Yelp Reservations, with plans to add Appointy, Genbook, LaFourchette, Mindbody, Schedulicity, SetMore, Shedul and Vagaro soon.
It looks like the buttons essentially open up a browser window or widget for users to perform their chosen actions, so it’s not quite native functionality in the Instagram app. Still, it means that these interactions are now just a tap away. And an Instagram spokesperson told us that in the case of Atom Tickets, the actions do take advantage of Instagram’s native payments.
The company says that more than 200 million daily users visit an Instagram business profile every day, while more than 150 million have an Instagram Direct conversation with a business in a month.
“As more people continue to interact with businesses on Instagram and take action when inspiration strikes, we’re making it easier to turn that discovery into action,” Instagram said in a blog post announcing the new feature.
In addition, the company is rethinking how businesses handle their Instagram Direct messages. Customer messages now show up in the main inbox, rather the pending folder, with the ability to star conversations that the business wants to come back to. Instagram also says it will start testing quick replies, so that a business can just select prewritten responses to standard questions, rather than typing the same answer over and over again.