Will Instagram’s New Messaging Service Be a Useful Promo Tool?

In a direct attempt to fight off challengers like Snapchat, Instagram announced today that it would launch a new “direct messaging” service that allows users to send pics to one another. New York mag’s Kevin Roose writes that it means you can now “annoy specific, targeted friends with your brunch Instagrams“, but there might be a little more to it than that.

The feature would have been its own app, but parent company Facebook wanted to empower users to share images, aka “moments”, without adding them to the main feed or downloading any completely new apps. Our first thought was that we could use the new feature to send this image of a perfectly named but sadly defunct local business to the very few people who would appreciate it.

But then we realized that everyone loves I Want a Breast Pump, because “It’s Doubley Good!!!

Seriously, though…

Big dog Kevin Systrom says that “For us, communication is very core” because Instagram’s not just about images anymore. Now that the service includes paid ads, we could see brands using the messaging feature to promote very specific deals or larger campaigns to followers. As The New York Times puts it:

“…brands and advertisers would be able to interact with their followers using the new feature by inviting them to submit photos for a contest.”

So get ready to pitch your clients’ direct messaging campaigns. Twitter released a suspiciously similar feature this week, so the question at hand is “which one would be best for our own promotional purposes?”

We feel like this could be a useful tool. It might even apply to I Want a Breast Pump, which is now open in its new location but incredibly does not have any Yelp reviews to date!

In conclusion, don’t let anyone tell you that Brooklyn isn’t on the cutting edge of everything.

@PatrickCoffee patrick.coffee@adweek.com Patrick Coffee is a senior editor for Adweek.