In November 2013, Instagram in the US launched Instagram advertising on their platform using aspirational fashion brand Michael Kors and all-time favourite Ben & Jerry’s as two of its guinea pigs. A broader launch to the US market followed in August 2014, and off the back of its success (according to Instagram), Instagram advertising hit Australia in early October 2014, making Australia the second market to launch the ad platform, with other countries to follow suit. So, what has this meant for Instagramers and who will be the winners?
Well, according to Instagram it’s a win-win situation for advertisers and users. For users, they say, it is a subtle and integrated experience and users are able to ‘control’ their advertising experience by being able to collapse the ads and provide feedback to Instagram if they don’t want to see the ads. This feedback, Instagram says, will allow them to deliver more relevant ads to the users ensuring an optimum user experience is maintained. In addition, advertising is inserted into a person’s feed at the fifth or sixth position, this means the ad is not the first piece of content they see. Furthermore, ads are clearly labelled as ‘sponsored’ and comments are collapsed to ensure it looks aesthetically pleasing to the feed owner. Regardless of the fact that there is now a small price to pay for using Instagram (being served ads), Instagram appear to have made all the right noises to show they are staying true to one of their key principles of ‘community first’ (and probably taking on some key learning’s from Facebook).
So, who wins? Possibly the user if they can control the experience, possibly the big advertiser if it’s used as a channel within a bigger campaign plan, but until we see the return stats from the first ad campaigns that rolled out in the Australian market it’s hard to say if these two audiences will see great benefit and return. But one thing is for sure, it’s certainly not the small businesses currently plugging away on Instagram trying to grow their reach organically. These guys will need to just keep on doing what they are doing without the benefit of buying some audience love – and that is a shame.
Have you experienced Instagram ads in your feed yet? Have you rolled out a campaign via Instagram ads? If so we’d love to hear your feedback.
Image Credits: The Australian