Instagram this! A look at Instagram ads

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Instagram is rapidly becoming a ‘shop window’ for brands with its strong visual nature and recent app updates including a function that allows users to send sponsored Instagram posts (ads) to their peers – perfectly encouraging ‘hint dropping’ and spreading brand awareness. We take a look at the function and those using it well.

Instagram boasts over 400 million monthly active users, collectively sharing 80 million photos and ‘liking’ more than 3.5 billion times a day. It is clear to see that the Facebook-owned platform has a passionate community following, who love their content and show no sign of dying down any time soon.

The majority of marketers are yet to incorporate the advertising platform into their marketing mix - out of 100 senior marketers surveyed, 60% are not currently using Instagram, despite 30% of users admitting to buying products after seeing them on the app. As a result, many businesses are missing the opportunity to firmly position their brands in front of this intensely interactive and content-craving market.

Instagram first entered the advertising realm 2 years ago using a select few (trusted) marketing partners and here at Equator our Facebook whiz-kids have been closely following the developments in the industry. As of September this year Instagram has increasingly invited more brands in on the action, offering a variety of ad formats and building momentum in 3 key areas –

1: Action-orientated ad formats

2: Increasing targeting accuracy

3: Empowering large and small businesses

Instagram is rapidly becoming a ‘shop window’ for brands with its strong visual nature and recent app updates including a function that allows users to send sponsored Instagram posts (ads) to their peers – perfectly encouraging ‘hint dropping’ and spreading brand awareness. Amy Cole, Head of Brand Development at Instagram claims “Instagram can provide a ‘look book’, where businesses promote unique gift ideas and is an endless product catalogue in people’s pockets”.

As well frequent app updates, Instagram’s new accurate targeting tool uses signals based on local market keywords and alerts advertisers to people posting and engaging with specific Instagram content. This allows for granular targeting, presenting users with relevant ads that seamlessly flow within their homepage feed.

A number of companies have already embraced the power of visual storytelling, from fashion to food brands, airlines to finance, and technology brands. The first retailer to debut Instagram advertising was Banana Republic with their award-nominated #thenewBR campaign – “the series of 15 Hyperlapse videos were created to give the Instagram community a look inside our walls and a glimpse at the design process” The result? Over 1 million views on Instagram, features in AdWeek, NBC and more.

But Instagram advertising isn’t limited to fashion retailers and Capital One proved this with ‘A Story in Every Wallet’. #WalletStories aimed to build Capital One’s brand awareness as a leader in financial services with a five-week long campaign, encouraging users to share their keepsakes and memories on Instagram, achieving a significant lift in ad recall.

Instagram’s ‘world stage’ empowers businesses - both large and small – and positions brands in a hub of engaged and enthusiastic consumers. Although it is early days, and there may be hiccups along the way, we predict that this is only the beginning for Instagram advertising and we’re looking forward to showing our clients how to get on board

by Jess Strachan, Display Executive