Facebook is making it easier for users to access their Instagram profile directly from within the Facebook app. The company confirms it’s rolling out a new addition its main navigation menu on mobile that includes a link to your Instagram account. This option appears just below the link to your personal profile in Facebook’s app, and above the links to any Facebook Pages you may manage.
If you click the link, the Instagram app on your phone will then launch, taking you to Instagram’s main feed, just as it would if you had launched the app from your homescreen.
The change, while minor, is notable because it allows Facebook to circulate users through its own mobile properties without potentially losing them to other mobile applications, like Twitter or Snapchat, for example. (Of course, this would work better if Instagram, in turn, would add a link back to Facebook, too. But at this point, we’re not seeing a similar option appear in Instagram.)
“We’re looking at ways to help people stay in touch with their friends on Facebook and Instagram,” a Facebook spokesperson told TechCrunch, when confirming the new feature. “People on Facebook will be able to see how many of their friends are on Instagram,” they added.
This isn’t the first time Facebook has experimented with merging its properties. In May, the company was spotted testing a feature that showed the notification counters from the other apps and allowed you to instantly switch between them. These pop-over cross-app switchers were appearing for some users when they tapped the profile icon in the top corners of Facebook, Messenger or Instagram.
Facebook briefly toyed with linking to other social networks, too.
Comparatively, the new feature to add an Instagram link to users’ profiles is a much more conservative change.
However, the move could further solidify Facebook’s position as one of the top mobile app makers, in terms of app installs and usage.
Worldwide data from App Annie points to Facebook’s dominance today. Its app is the #1 app by all-time downloads, and Instagram is #4. Facebook and Instagram were also the #3 and #4 top apps by worldwide downloads, respectively, from January to August 2017.
Plus, according to data from comScore released in August, Facebook and Instagram both rank among the top 10 apps in terms of mobile penetration in the U.S., and Facebook itself is the number one app by monthly visitors.
But when you start to break that down by demographic groups, Snapchat was found to rank higher than Instagram in terms of visitors aged 18 to 24. This backs up another recent study from eMarketer, which also found that teens favor Snapchat over Instagram and Facebook.
Given Instagram’s fierce battle with Snapchat (which it is winning in terms of total usage), it makes sense that the company would now attempt to leverage Facebook in hopes of increasing Instagram’s visitor count, particularly from this young demographic, by way of this change.
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It’s unclear if the new feature has rolled out to all Facebook users at this time, but if you’re not an Instagram user, then nothing on your profile will have changed, we found.