Instagram Ads – Picture Perfect?

Very rarely, at least in my opinion, do we see a successful addition of advertising into a previously ad-free space. Every time Facebook, Twitter or really any platform switches up their advertising game, there seems be a fallout.

When Instagram (and by Instagram, I mean Facebook-owned) announced they’d be bringing ads to one of my favorite little apps, I was not excited.

Instagram was one of the first apps I downloaded when I got my iPhone in 2013 (it hadn’t been launched yet for Android) and I had only been able to use it on a iTouch when connected to wifi. So my love affair was strong and I was not ready to see it get changed anymore by the Facebook monster.

Fastforward to now, six months after the first ads were placed and well, I didn’t notice a thing! I haven’t seen one ad so I can’t tell you if I like them or not. I haven’t heard awful reviews about them. One thing is true though – companies are loving them!

According to Adweek, the ads have seen a huge success. Taco Bell saw a 400% increase in engagement with its promoted posts than its organic posts. 400%! It’s following jumped 45% during the campaigns. Now, note this campaign was their breakfast launch so these numbers may have a little to do with just the energy that surrounded this launch.

Other companies (Michael Kors, Ben & Jerry’s) saw an increase of 60% engagement on their posts which is still a pretty significant increase.

Video ads are expected to roll out later this year and Instagram has a really interested opportunity to position and launch themselves into the ad world pleasing both sides of the equation.

Although I think Instagram’s approach and setup will be huge on how ads are received by the community, I believe how a company handles and creates their ads will be the bigger piece of the puzzle. Instagram is aesthetically pleasing (usually) and a chance for consumers to see inside and behind the scenes of their favorite brands/stars/etc. Creating ads that foster that feeling, are well done but not over produced is going to be the real challenge.


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