Instagram has rolled out its advertising platform to the general public, and with 400 Million + users, this is great news– even better than that bowl of frosted flakes. In a recent blog post, Instagram reports a 2.8X higher increase in ad recall over 400 global ad campaigns that were a part of the tool’s initial roll out. On top of that, Instagram is also projected to garner $600 million in annual advertising revenue by the end of 2015, with a whopping $1 billion projected over the next 3-4 years.
With these kinds of initial numbers, advertising on the photo-focussed platform has peaked interest in businesses from the gargantuan to the mom-and-pop, and here’s why.
Integration vs. Interruption
Leveraging off of Facebook’s highly successful advertising infrastructure, Instagram advertising is a “self-serve” tool that integrates a native advertisement in user feeds. Posts blend seamlessly into personal feeds, with the only differentiations being the ‘sponsored post’ label in the top right corner, and the call-to-action button in the bottom right corner– both which inform users that the post is in fact an advertisement. This transparency is appreciated by the savvy Instagram cohort, who all too easily dismiss sneaky advertising tactics. Also, ad formats come in 3 options: single image, carousel and 30-second video (15 more glorious seconds than regular posting), to cater both to the objective of the campaign and to the identity of your brand.
Instagram ads utilize the same technology used to target audiences on Facebook, making them highly specified. By honing in on your target market’s demographics, location, interests and behaviours, your impressions are more likely to be relevant, leading to more conversions, and lower CPC’s. Another reason this matters is that the ad technology is optimized so that metrics are easily trackable, making for more effective ads in the future– which leads us to #3.
Increased Conversions & Engagement
Originally centred around the premise of providing value to direct marketers, Instagram ads were tested for effectiveness, (and even vetted for by co-founder Kevin Systrom himself) so that the service is optimized for driving results. In initial stages, impressively, similar Facebook ads that generated between 15-30 likes, reached between 300-500 likes on Instagram. While this is largely due to the nature of consumption by instagram users, it’s also credited to the fact that the advertising algorithm favours ads with a higher click-through-rate, so they are shown more frequently to provide relevant ads to genuinely interested users. Talk about customer-centric!
The ads also support multiple objectives; whether you want to drive traffic to your website, increase installs of your app, or direct purchases with a ‘buy now prompt,’ you’re covered. Understanding that businesses have a multitude of objectives, from awareness to association to site visits and brick & mortar sales, Instagram ads engage customers with customized formats to reach a particular goal, and this is a perpetually evolving aspect of the service. As customers’ expectations change, so will the ad infrastructure. Read about a couple of successful campaigns here.
Call to Action Button
Click-bait may be stigmatized, but boy is it ever effective. Depending on your objective, a customized call-to-action button attracts direct engagement. This type of engagement is generally more useful to certain objectives than likes and comments, which are passive and don’t necessarily lead to conversions of Key Performance Indicators (KPI).
Instagram has reached Beyonce levels of popularity based on it’s undeniably user-centric mandate, and this is epitomized by the explanation of their ads in a recent blog.
“Our focus with every product we build is to make Instagram a place where people come to connect and be inspired. Building Instagram as a business will help us better serve the global—and ever growing—Instagram community, while maintaining the simplicity you know and love.”
Try the ads tool out for yourself, and if you’re a little overwhelmed by it, give us a call and let us do it for you.