Do more on Instagram

Tracy Steffensen

Now that Instagram has introduced an all-improved advertising platform, expect to see more brands and advertisers flocking to this photo-sharing app.

You might be aware that Facebook bought Instagram for $1 billion in 2012. The following year, the app launched ads for select brands. To avoid turning off users, these brands used glossy, magazine-style photos, 15-second video ads and cinemagraphs to promote their products – all designed to blend with the rest of the user’s photo feeds.

A key flaw in Instagram’s advertising platform however, has been the inability to add links into posts that took users outside the app to shop. To facilitate conversion, advertisers had to resort to workarounds via third-party services such as Like2Buy.

As a result, Instagram as an advertising platform didn’t really take off. It didn’t appeal to a lot of advertisers especially to small businesses because investing in quality photos or videos requires more resources, with no guaranteed favourable results. It didn’t help as well that users find the buying process through the app cumbersome.

However, that’s all about to change and business should take note.

How does the new advertising platform work

Instagram have realised that the only way they can lure more brands and advertisers to invest in Instagram Ads is to create it an end-to-end advertising platform. So with some borrowed technology (and lessons) from Facebook, they’ve started offering more ad styles or formats and sophisticated targeting tools for marketers and advertisers.

Instagram ads now have “Shop Now” buttons and other messages like “Learn more” and “Install now” that seamlessly link outside the app so users can take marketable action.

  instagram ads - signupinstagram ads - shop now








They also have a new API—or software platform—that lets marketing partners automate the advertising process. This means advertisers can now manage, track and measure their Instagram campaigns. Guaranteeing more accurate reach through enhanced targeting based on the people, places, and things users love, not just their ages and gender. Aside from the Instagram ads API, Instagram advertising is also available through Facebook’s Power Editor.

Aussies on Instagram

In a new Instagram-commissioned study by Hoop Group, it was revealed that 7 in 10 Australians on Instagram are active daily; spending an average of 21 minutes per day on the site. Furthermore, Australian Instagrammers are found to be following an average of 6 interests each, as follows:

  1. Friends (61 per cent)

  2. Photography (40 per cent)

  3. Travel (40 per cent)

  4. Food (36 per cent)

  5. Fashion (32 per cent)

  6. Music (32 per cent)

  7. Fitness (28 per cent)

  8. Health (25 per cent)

  9. Sport (23 per cent)

For more insights about Australia’s Instagram Audience Profile, here’s the rest of the findings from Hoop’s study:

Instagram - Stats

Who should be advertising on Instagram

With the addition of new formats, increased relevance, and broader availability, it’s safe to say that Instagram is now a viable marketing and sales tool for any business looking to market their products, websites, mobiles apps, etc., to more or less 5 million Instagram users in Australia (, April 2015)

Talking about new formats, a recently launched ad format they call “carousel ads” are generating a lot of interest both from advertisers and users. This type of of ad allows people to swipe left on an ad to see additional images and link to a website of a brand’s choice to learn more.

Here’s a sample carousel ad promoted by McDonald’s a few months ago:

Instagram - Mcdo carousel ads

Instagram - Mcdo carousel ads2

Meanwhilst, Instagram offers tips on how best to execute a campaign:

  • Use landscape photo and video to unlock new creative opportunities and give ads a more cinematic feel
  • Video ads of up to 30 seconds in length allow richer storytelling
  • Use the Marquee product tos drive mass awareness and expanded reach in a short time-frame—perfect for events like movie premieres and new product launches
  • Leverage delivery and optimization tools to manage and drive the best performance of campaigns across Facebook and Instagram

Instagram is where you’ll find a most sought after audience – the millennials. It’s also a place where users are not just browsing through the endless content. Users are actively looking for new products and brands.

With the new developments in Instagram’s advertising platform, it’s just a matter of time before it becomes not just a powerful brand marketing tool but for sales as well. This is why having an Instagram strategy today will help a business reach a new targeted audience.

If you need help with your social media marketing strategy, contact us.


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