Instagram on Thursday introduced the ability for users to tag any person or brand in their own photos, which automatically post to a new profile section called “Photos of Me.” The rollout of photo-tagging on Instagram mirrors a step its owner Facebook took years before that helped accelerate the social network’s growth.
“Photos of You offers a new way to share and discover stories on Instagram, as well as provides users with a great way to share and discover content that showcases the brands and products they love,” according to Instagram’s announcement today.
The Photos of You section on a brand or business's profile page will display all of the photos to which they’ve been added to and have chosen to make visible. Companies can also add other users to the photos they post. The aim is to attract more fans and drive more interaction by having brand-related images shared more widely among Instagram’s 100 million users.
Among examples how brands might use the new feature, Instagram said Nike, which already showcases photos of its athletes and products through the service, could add their athletes own Instagram accounts to the photos they share. Plus, there are already 10 million photos tagged with #nike on Instagram that the company can draw on for its Photos of You section.
Until now, people could tag friends in posts, but the tagged person’s followers couldn’t see photos tagged of them. With more and more people using Instragram’s @mention feature to tag their friends, as well as brands and products, the photo-sharing service created a formal process for tagging images.
Following its Terms of Service debacle in December, Instagram emphasized that both individuals and companies have control over use of their photos and where they appear. People receive notifications when they’re tagged in photos, and can adjust their settings to require approval before photos show up in their profile. Users can also opt to hide a photo from their profile and remove themselves from a photo.
Only the person or company that uploaded a photo can tag people in images they post. Instagram stepped up its courting of brands in November when it introduced Web-based profile pages akin to those on Facebook. With the addition of photo-tagging, brands can potentially offer a more personalized experience on their profile pages, build engagement, and add followers.
Overall, Instagram says that its 100 million users upload 40 million pictures a day, and that each second, 1,000 comments are posted and 8,500 photos are "liked" on the service. The new Photos of You section is available in the latest iOS and Android versions (3.5) of the app. Users have until May 16 to explore the feature and see any photos they’ve been in tagged in since today’s launch before Photos of Me can be seen by others.