Instagram Will Soon Let Users Book Appointments with Businesses

Photo-sharing app Instagram will soon add a feature that allows users to book appointments directly with businesses. The new feature is a part of the social network’s effort to compete with Yelp and expand its consumer uses.

James Quarles, Instagram’s head of business, says the new feature will roll out in the next few months and will give the platform’s one million advertisers a new way to measure the impact of their campaigns.

The new feature would allow users to book a hair appointment or reserve a table at a restaurant with the click of a button. OpenTable and Yelp, both owned by Priceline Group Inc., have similar features.

“When someone books an appointment, that’s not a ‘like’ or a ‘follow,’ that’s actual action,” says Quarles. In the future, the company may add additional tools, such as a review function.

There are approximately eight million businesses on Instagram, which was acquired by Facebook in 2012. The company is working on integrating profiles with Facebook pages. About 80% of users follow at least one business, says Quarles.

The move by Instagram is a smart one, as businesses will be more inclined to purchase advertisements on the social media platform if they know it will lead directly to more reservations. Reservations give businesses a way to measure the succes of their advertising campaigns on Instagram.

The new appointment booking feature is the latest addition to Instagram’s growing list of features. The company recently announced sensitive content screens, which is an alternative to its previous policy of removing posts that are considered “sensitive.”

A lower-speed version of the social media platform is also in the works for people with limited Internet access. The recent additions of Instagram Live and Stories have also added more functionality to the app. The Stories feature was criticized for being very similar to Snapchat’s Stories.