Instagram is one of the most popular mobile photo and video sharing apps, but that doesn’t mean that the web isn’t important to its continued success.
Recognizing that, the Facebook-owned service has unveiled an update to its web interface that allows users to search for people, places and hashtags on web.
Starting today, you can search people, places and hashtags on web. pic.twitter.com/kadwSZd8xt
— Instagram (@instagram) July 20, 2015
In comments to TechCrunch, an Instagram spokesperson reiterated that Instagram.com is not the company’s focus, but that its an important distribution channel for the content shared by users.
While Instagram.com is designed to be complementary to the mobile apps, it’s important to the global conversations that happen on Instagram.
What it means for brands
Thanks to its popularity and growing integration with Facebook on the ad side of things, Instagram has become a darling for marketers looking to reach consumers — and particularly younger ones — through social media.
The company’s web additions should benefit those marketers.
As TechCrunch’s Lucas Matney points out, web embeds, which Instagram released in 2013, have driven more than five billion impressions.
Available for any content that is published publicly, web embeds are commonly used by brands and media companies to make their Instagram content available outside of the Instagram experience, including on their own websites.
With search, as well as landing pages for geotags and hashtags, brands will have additional opportunities to promote their content to Instagram users who might not be accessing Instagram throught the mobile experience.
Eventually, if Instagram’s web features continue to drive meaningful sharing and consumption of content, it would not be surprising to see Instagram take a Facebook-like approach and extend its ad offerings to the web, giving brands additional ways to market more directly to users no matter how they decide to interact with the service.