Advertisements on Instagram: User and brand takeaways

Posted by on November 13, 2013

Instagram, my absolute favorite social media platform, has ruffled some filtered feathers again with the introduction of its new advertising plan. This is not Instagram’s first time experiencing a user-backlash. I’m sure you all shudder at the thought of the ‘terms of service’ fiasco back in 2012 that forced thousands of users to drop the platform completely.

So what’s this advertisement element mean for both you personally and you as a brand? Here’s the breakdown:

User experience

IG advertisements will appear as a photo on your feed, mixed in with the rest of the pictures from those who you follow. You don’t have to follow the brand to be able to see the advertisement, but you can comment on, double tap to ‘Like’ and of course follow the picture to the brand’s profile. You may tailor what ads appear on your feed by tapping the “…” below the picture. From there you can hide the advertisement completely and also provide feedback as to why it wasn’t relevant to you. This will allow Instagram to place more interesting ads in your feed.

Brand experience

The first brand to release an advertisement on Instagram was Michael Kors (photo featured below). This picture of a MK watch garnered plenty of negative feedback, but was actually a huge success for the brand. Within the first 18 hours, over 34,000 likes were received. The Michael Kors brand profile increased its followers 16 times the amount of a non-sponsored post, and many of the comments on the ad were asking where the watch could be purchased. To create an effective Instagram advertisement, it is necessary to share a high-quality ad. If you want likes or an increase in followers, you must avoid annoying people, and can do so by making your picture interesting, unique, beautiful and high quality. After all, the goal is to make your ad stand out amongst a stream of other photos.

We’re anxious to see what other brands incorporate Instagram advertising into their marketing mix and what the results prove. What’s your take on IG’s latest advertising avenue? Sound off in the comments below.


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