Mercedes-Benz, Target, CW and Banana Republic are just a few of the big brands now advertising on Instagram, in an effort to monetize the popular platform’s 20 million-plus user base. Will video ads (such as Disney’s Big Hero 6 characeter’s play on selfies) help Facebook earn back the $1 billion it spent purchasing the photo-sharing app?
Last year, traffic sent to e-commerce sites from Instagram amounted for more than Twitter and at twice the rate of Pinterest, according to data from Shopify.
Since the launch of Instagram’s advertising plan – which officially took off at the start of November 2014 – results have been largely inconsistent. On Facebook, users are accustomed to friends sharing information from third-party sources. When it comes to Instagram, though, the audience generally expects content like selfies, art outfits and workouts to come from first-party post-ers.
Facebook’s creative strategist, Helen Pak, assures audiences that new advertising tactics will become so normalized that users will barely notice the ads tucked between the stylized selfie portraits.
“Because we’ve always had big ideas for the future for Instagram, part of making that happen is ensuring [the platform] becomes a sustainable business,” Pak said in an interview with CBC.
Users will be given the option to hide particular ad campaigns by tapping three dots at the bottom right-hand corner of its field. The downside is if users are skipping video ads, the conversions will suffer, and low conversions ultimately mean lower prices.
Only time will tell if Facebook can turn this new plot into tangible success. In the meantime, brands should be thinking about what they can be doing to utilize Instagram now.
First, determine whether or not it would be beneficial to designate part of the company’s marketing budget towards Instagram, as every brand is different and will find varying results.
Even if a brand chooses not to buy into the ads, it should be producing creative posts that align with Instagram-sponsored, organic activities, as well as the platform’s aesthetics. They can also test video ads and gauge engagement before making any monetary bounds or commitments.