Instagram grows to 1M active advertisers, plans to add more data and direct booking

The Facebook-owned photo and video app is announcing that it now has 1 million monthly active advertisers, compared to 500,000 in September and 200,000 just over a year ago.

Some of that growth can be attributed to the simple fact that a lot of people use Instagram — 400 million every day, as of January. But James Quarles, who leads Instagram’s ad business, said the platform stands out in a few key ways, beyond just attracting a lot of eyeballs.

First, he said Instagram is a place where people follow their passions, whether that’s “a very mainstream thing like following their favorite musician, or a niche business like candy art.” One sign that that’s paid off for companies with a presence on Instagram: 80 percent users follow a business.

Second, there’s the “ease and simplicity” of using Instagram. For example, Quarles said, “It takes only four taps to place an ad on a business profile.”

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And lastly, he said Instagram is trying to “produce visible action” — it’s not just about getting users to like a photo or follow an account, but also convincing them to visit your website and maybe buy a product.

Quarles didn’t just use our call to boast about Instagram’s continued growth. He also talked about new features that the service will be adding for advertisers. For one thing, he said it will be adding insights data around multi-image posts and Instagram Stories.

In addition, businesses will soon be able to add a button to their profiles that allows users to make a booking or appointment directly through Instagram. This enables Instagram to become more of “a primary storefront for the businesses,” Quarles said, while making it easier for consumers to engage with businesses “just by swiping your finger.”