Instagram has announced it will trial direct messaging on web browsers, and that it plans to roll out the capability to all users and businesses in the future.
Testing has begun for “only a small percentage of people for now”, Instagram boss Adam Mosseri announced on Twitter this morning.
“We hope to bring this to everyone soon,” he said.
For those of you into your DMs, today we start to test Direct on the desktop web. Now, it’s only a small percentage of people for now — we need to make sure it works well — but we hope to bring this to everyone soon.https://t.co/x0toGW66Bp
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— Adam Mosseri (@mosseri) January 14, 2020
The proposed feature follows a wave of changes implemented over the last 12 months that have made Instagram more functional for businesses, including by allowing users to better monitor analytics and through increased ad capabilities.
According to Instagram’s last user survey, an estimated 90% of Instagram users follow business accounts, which either use the platform to showcase products or for brand-building. What’s more, over 200 million users visit a business account every day, and 60% of people discover products on the platform.
However, without desktop functionality, users looking to message privately on the platform are currently restricted to the mobile app version, which presents as a particular inconvenience to the workflow of business accounts.
Enabling users to utilise all of Instagram’s tools on desktop is expected to increase engagement. Plus, more time spent within the app or using the desktop version will likely increase the time ads are shown to users.
Instagram’s new focus on its private communication function is in line with parent company Facebook’s agenda.
In an interview last year, Facebook’s co-founder Mark Zuckerberg described private messaging as one of the “three fastest-growing areas of online communication”, saying he hopes to one day integrate Messenger and WhatsApp.