In 2016, Instagram began offering business accounts to provide companies with deeper analytics and extra ways to connect with their audience. They correctly reasoned that personal accounts didn’t adequately address the needs of large, established brands. Then, in 2019, the platform created a third profile type — the Instagram creator account.
This new entry was aimed at influencers and other individuals looking to use the platform to promote their personal brand. The service realized that influencers are critical to their ecosystem and that they needed an Instagram account customized to meet their unique needs.
And while choice is good, it does create some questions. When is a brand better served by a creator account vs. a business account? Is there any reason why an Instagram influencer should stick with a personal account? To answer those questions, let’s look at how the accounts are similar and where they differ.
Both Business and Creator Accounts Offer Deep Analytics
Originally, business and creator account analytics differed in their granularity. Business accounts could track the number of users that follow and unfollow their profiles on a weekly basis. For influencers and other content creators, this isn’t always granular enough. They need to see how individual content posts affect these numbers. To accommodate this, Instagram creator accounts got daily follow unfollow insights. Now, this feature has been extended to both account types.
If you’re already using a business account, you’ll still have the same access to audience demographics with a creator account. You can still track when your audience is most active and see how your followers break down in terms of age, location and gender.
One area that creator accounts pull ahead is their access to Instagram’s Creator Studio. It’s a handy dashboard that displays all of the insights a content creator needs in one place. It gives them quick access to individual post analytics, including Instagram Stories.
Both Professional Accounts Enjoy Flexible Messaging
Influencers get a lot of messages. Influencer marketing professionals regularly contact them about collaboration opportunities, and fans are always beating down their door. With a business account, whether a message comes from one of these or from family and friends, they all used to go into the same inbox.
Creator accounts make managing your Instagram messages much easier. Instead of a single inbox, you got three — a primary, general and requests inbox.
Your primary inbox is used for messages that you’re interested in and that you want to be notified about when they arrive. Think family, friends and critical business messages. Your general inbox is for everyone else. You won’t get notifications, but you can always get back to them later. Finally, message requests from people you don’t follow will go to your requests inbox.
In 2020, this feature was extended to business accounts as well, so now both account types enjoy the same message flexibility.
Contact Options Are Available With Both Accounts
Both business and creator accounts enjoy upgraded contact experiences compared to a personal account. Followers of both business and creator accounts can access email, phone numbers and messages. Business accounts edge out creators in this category because they also allow the business to list a location. This makes sense. A business usually has a headquarters or a home office while influencers generally don’t.
Use Saved Replies to Speed Up DM Responses
Both Instagram creator accounts and business accounts now offer saved replies, a feature that allows you to rapidly respond to frequently asked questions. Answers you use often can be linked to a shortcut word in the Saved Reply tool.
For example, if you’re often asked for specific package pricing, you could type out the answer and link it to the word “pricing.” Later, when you enter that word, a blue bubble will appear. Click it, and your full answer will be entered automatically.
Both Accounts Can Create Shoppable Posts
Shoppable posts were once the exclusive domain of business accounts, and these accounts still make up the lion’s share. However, creator accounts now have access to them as well.
They function the same as regular posts, but they display product names and prices when users tap on them. These links will take the user to a detailed product page with a call to action that provides access to your landing page. You can promote them as you would any other piece of content.
Creators can use shoppable posts to sell merch and promote co-branded products and products sold through influencer marketing partnerships.
Creator Labels Are Specific to Creators
We’ve come to one of the main differences between the two accounts. Business accounts use labels consistent with business types, like Florist, Restaurant or Gym. Creator labels reflect the unique positions that influences occupy, like Public Figure, Artist, Musician or Chef.
This alone is a good reason to switch to an Instagram creator account. Trying to wedge an influencer’s position into a business account can be difficult because most of the labels don’t apply.
Want to Schedule Your Content? Content Studio to the Rescue
Business accounts can use the Instagram API to link to external content services like HootSuite, allowing users to schedule content to post in the future. In the early days of creator accounts, this option wasn’t available. But now, with the Creator Studio, creator accounts can take advantage of scheduling tools right inside the Instagram app. This makes creator accounts more convenient when content scheduling is something you’re interested in.
Both Accounts Feature Advanced CTAs
With a business account, you can add a CTA that allows users to book now, make a reservation and order food. With the exception of ordering food, creator accounts of these same CTAs.
So Should You Switch to an Instagram Creator Account?
In 2019, the decision of whether to switch was more difficult. Creator and business accounts were far more differentiated than they are today, and each was geared toward a specific type of user. Now they’re nearly identical, save a few minor features. Instagram’s algorithm treats content from the two accounts the same as well.
So there’s no good reason to use a business account if you’re an influencer or content creator. You get nearly the same features as well as labels that better fit influencer positions. The Creator Studio is a nice perk that business accounts can’t access. Overall, though, Instagram has walked back the differences between the two accounts, so choose whichever fits your goals best!