Well, THIS is a game changer! We all knew it was coming, but somehow there are parts of Instagram’s new Ads announcement that even made our jaws drop today!
With over 300 million users, and a platform that is so visually oriented, AND the fact that Facebook owns them, we have been expecting big things from Instagram after they launched their advertising program to 475 major brands over a year ago.
Many questions have been raised and pondered since then about where Instagram would take their advertising offering next, and today we have the answers!
Instagram says in their business blog: “we’re focused on three key areas: Expanding ad offerings to include action-oriented formats, enabling more targeting capabilities, and making it easier for businesses large and small to buy ads on Instagram.”
So what does THAT mean? Three very cool things for marketers
1. Introduction of call to action buttons
Long has it been a major frustration of marketers using Instagram that they are not able to link through to external content from their Instagram posts. This is all about to change! With the introduction of call to action buttons, businesses will be able to invite users to learn more, sign up for newsletters via their website, buy a product or download an app.
2. Linking Instagram Ads to Facebook Targeting
THIS is the game changer we hadn’t predicted. One of the limitations identified very early on in Instagram’s advertising trials was that, as an advertising platform, they had comparatively limited demographic and interest data to offer advertisers. This meant two things
- users were receiving ads for products and brands they had little to no interest in, risking decreased engagement and users turning away from the Instagram platform if their feeds started to become filled with messaging they were not interested in
- advertisers were paying to reach an audience less likely to convert as they did not have access to enough key interest and demographic data to target their ads effectively
So, Instagram’s announcement that they will be working with Facebook to enable advertisers to reach people based on demographics and interests, as well as information businesses have about their own customers, and all of a sudden Instagram ads take on a new life and become much more appealing for marketers. It will be interesting to see if this news encourages users to “unlink” their Facebook and Instagram profiles.
3. Introduction of an Ads API and Facebook ad buying interfaces
Instagram wants to make it easy for both small and big businesses to get involved and start benefiting from their advertising offering: “There are more than two million advertisers who actively use Facebook to market their business and we want to leverage the best of Facebook’s infrastructure for buying, managing and measuring the success of ads on Instagram. We will start by opening the Instagram Ads API to a select group of Facebook Marketing Partners and agencies, and we plan to expand globally throughout the year.”
So what do all these changes mean for the future of Instagram? We can hear the Insta-purists screaming “Noooooooooooo!” all around the world, as they start thinking about which social platform can replace their beloved Instagram, rejecting the notion that their Insta-feeds will be polluted with ads.
We have seen this before, years ago when Facebook shifted into the advertising space. The backlash was severe to start, and as it continued to evolve, it rode out the storm with a clear strategy and direction to become one of the most targeted and powerful advertising channels in the marketing mix.
We always knew Instagram had to start making money sometime. The free ride is over. What we are at least grateful for is that assuming all goes to plan for the links to Facebook targeting data, hopefully, the ads we DO see will at least be relevant to our interests, engaging and Insta-pretty!
You can read more over on Instagram’s business blog.
If you’re interested in learning more about how you can be using Instagram more effectively, we offer training for both individuals and groups. Get in touch!