3 Instagram Advertising Updates You Need to Know About

By Nurain Alicharan in Industry News on June 5th, 2015

Instagram announced sponsored posts with a select set of partners about a year and a half ago; now, the platform is introducing new direct response focused ad formats that allow users to navigate outside of the platform and broader availability complete with Facebook’s targeting capabilities. Here are the top three takeaways from Instagram’s most recent announcement so you can begin putting these Instagram advertising capabilities to work for your brand.

Instagram updatesImage credit: Instagram Blog

1. Various Ad Types

Instagram realizes that advertisers have various business objectives and the need to offer products that address  each of these distinct goals.  To this end, on Tuesday they announced new ad options that will accomplish a range of  goals, from awareness to website visits.  These new direct response ads, referred to as “action-oriented formats” by Instagram, mark a major shift for Instagram, as it is the first product that allows users to take action with one click (i.e. purchase a product, install an app or sign up for a service.)  The CTA buttons will open a mini-browser within the app, so once the user is done completing the action, they will be returned to Instagram. Not only will these ads help advertisers drive business goals, they will also allow consumers to make purchases and get the information they are looking for right away instead of having to search outside of the platform themselves  -  a process that is still inconvenient on mobile.

Instagram ad

2. More Sophisticated Targeting

Instagram has acknowledged that users visit the platform to view specific content they care about, not irrelevant ads; therefore, the platform plans on utilizing Facebook’s capabilities and data to not only target demographically but also based on interests, deriving from brands/users followed on Instagram and liked on Facebook. In the past, Instagram targeting has been limited to age, gender and country. Moving forward, Instagram plans on targeting ads based on demographic and interest data as well as “information business have about their own customers,” which seems similar to Facebook’s Custom Audiences that allow advertisers to upload their own list of users to target (CRM, website visitors, etc). Additionally, Instagram plans on giving its 300 million user base control over the ads they see and the ability to improve relevance based on their interests. We’ll have to see exactly how Instagram plans to do that once the ads roll out more broadly, but hopefully, this will help minimize negative feedback from users that are not accustomed to being bombarded with ads as they scroll through their feed.

3. Greater Availability

So far,  advertising on Instagram has only been tested with a select group of beta partners, including big names, such as Disney, Michael Kors and Taco Bell; however, the platform has revealed plans to expand globally throughout the year, giving people the ability to connect with the largest brands as well as their favorite local shops. They have announced advertising availability through Facebook as well as Instagram’s new Ads API that will utilize the best of Facebook’s buying, managing and measuring infrastructure. The API will allow for programmatic optimization rather than manual, and initial API partners include 4C, Brand Networks, Ampush, Kenshoo, Laundry Service, Media Vest (Publicis), Nanigans, Olapic, Resolution Media (OMG), Salesforce, SocialCode, Social Moov and Unified.

While users may not be thrilled about seeing ads as they scroll down their Instagram photo feed, the platform’s promise to keep ads relevant may keep negative sentiment at a minimum. Advertisers, on the other hand, should be thrilled about the long-awaited opportunity to reach a younger and more engaged audience group through the visual platform. We have yet to hear from Instagram about pricing models and reporting structure, but given its parent company’s success with ad revenue, we can expect efficient scalability and keen insights.

Don’t wait for Instagram to fully roll out ads before giving your digital advertising strategy any thought.

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