With more than 300 million monthly active users and nearly 70 million photos shared each day, Instagram has become an important aspect of any social marketer’s strategy. Until recently, Instagram has restricted advertising capabilities to larger brands such as Coca-Cola, Samsung and Dove. In spring 2015, the platform announced they’d be expanding ad availability to brands of all sizes within the coming months, while also introducing new advertising formats and more relevant targeting. So what does this mean for your brand?
New ads, calls-to-action & what they mean for you:
As of June 2015, Instagram has already begun testing their new ad formats inclusive of photos, videos and the newly introduced carousal ads which enable brands to share multiple photos in a single post. They’ve also introduced call-to-action buttons which encourage fans to shop, learn more and sign up with ease, also helping brands increase website traffic, e-commerce sales and more. These call-to-action buttons are especially important for advertisers since the platform natively doesn’t support clickable links within photo captions, making it difficult for audiences to follow through when prompted to shop, for example.
Facebook helps refine targeting & expand advertising availability – In the near future, Instagram will work with their parent company, Facebook, to refine targeting based on demographics and interests, as well as utilizing existing customer information. With the ability to capture a more relevant audience, brands will be able to reach valuable users and inevitability see a greater return on their investments. Instagram’s union with Facebook will also allow them to leverage Facebook’s infrastructure for buying, managing and measuring the success of ads, opening sponsored posts to businesses of all sizes.
So…Is Instagram advertising right for your brand?
Several types of businesses can benefit from Instagram advertising from entertainment, e-commerce and consumer packaged goods, to tourism, tech and lifestyle brands. But before any brand invests in this functionality, it’s important to:
- Understand Instagram’s user demographic, which largely consists of 18-35 year olds
- Optimize your Instagram account with all appropriate information, and have a substantial amount of previous pieces of content
- Ensure you have a large audience that actively engages with posts
- Create and execute a clear and strategic content plan
- Craft messaging that aligns with your target audience’s passions as Instagram is a lifestyle-oriented platform
- Experiment with different types of images and analyze which photos and captions perform the best for your brand
As Instagram continues to roll out these new features, how will you utilize ads as they become more available for your brand?