The latest Instagram update will allow companies to chat with users through direct messages, the photo sharing app has announced.
The Facebook-owned app will add support to allow brands and businesses to connect with users through live customer service representatives, with Adidas, H&M and Michael Kors among those who have already signed up.
The feature had already been introduced to the Facebook Messenger app and Instagram’s system operates on the same platform.
“The new API features enable businesses to integrate Instagram messaging with their preferred business applications and workflows, helping drive more meaningful conversations, increase customer satisfaction and grow sales,” Marion Boiteux, product manager at Messenger, wrote in a post introducing the tool.
“Instagram is a place for emerging culture and trend creation, and discovering new brands is a valuable part of this experience."
Conversations between businesses and users of Instagram and Messenger have grown by over 40 per cent over the last year, according to Facebook’s own figures.
It marks a steady shift away from the user-led experience that saw it explode in popularity in its early years.
When Facebook acquired Instagram in 2012, the app had no way of making money but has since morphed into a revenue juggernaut raking in billions through advertising and partnerships.
Brands have capitalised on the monetisation opportunities afforded to them in recent years and the latest update will further solidify their presence and dependence on Facebook-owned apps.
“Instagram is a platform for community building, and we’ve long approached it as a way for us to connect with our customers in a place where they are already spending a lot of their time,” a spokesperson for Michael Kors’ marketing department said.
“With the newly launched Messenger API support for Instagram, we are now able to increase efficiency, drive even stronger user engagement, and easily maintain a two-way dialogue with our followers.”