Instagram Advertising: Sponsored Photos and Videos

Instagram Announces Sponsored Photos and VideosWelcome To Instagram Advertising

You just knew Instagram advertising was coming at some point. When Facebook purchased Instagram for $1 Billion in April 2012, you just knew the photo sharing social network would roll out an advertising model eventually, and likely sooner than later.

It turns out it was sooner. In September of this year, the Wall Street Journal reported that Instagram advertising would be rolled out sometime next year, according to Emily White, Director of Business Operations at Instagram (via Facebook by the way).

Well last week Instagram officially launched a new site to announce that they are now selling advertising in the form of Sponsored Photos and Videos for all their 150 million users to see.

Note the example in the image below. The ads are clearly marked as SPONSORED, similar to how parent company Facebook as well as competing social network Twitter label their paid posts and tweets respectfully.

Instagram Advertising

It’s interesting that with this Instagram advertising, the social network is allowing users the option to hide these paid ads. Smart move by Instagram for two reasons.

One, the user feels good about Instagram because of the option to hide ads, and two, this information will allow Instagram to improve their advertising model which will only be good for advertisers as well as users.

Early Instagram Advertisers

You may recall that when Instagram launched Instagram Video in the summer of 2013 that they partnered with major brands to ensure the initial Instagram videos featured high quality content setting the bar for future advertisers using video.

When asked about what brands users will see using Instagram advertising, they say:

“As we introduce ads on Instagram, we’re taking our time and working closely with a handful of brands that are already great members of the Instagram community. These first partners include: adidas, Ben & Jerry’s, Burberry, General Electric, Lexus, Levi’s®, Macy’s, Michael Kors, PayPal and Starwood.

Our aim is to make any advertisements you see feel as natural to Instagram as the photos and videos many of you already enjoy from your favourite brands.”

Targeted Instagram Advertising

Like their parent company Facebook, Instagram wants to show users ads that are interesting and relevant to them. Every advertiser will appreciate and expect this.

Instagram advertising will use user information from what they do on Instagram and on Facebook. For example, Instagram will look at the people you follow and the photos and videos you like on Instagram as well as your interests and other basic info on Facebook.

“Everyone on Instagram will see ads from time to time whether or not they’re Facebook users, and basic information from Facebook helps create a more relevant experience. Providing feedback if you see an ad you don’t find interesting will also help us show you more engaging ads over time.”

Social Media Advertising

There’s been a whole lotta discussion in my circles recently about social media reach in relation to social media advertising and gripes about Facebook in particular. My peers and I are convinced that in order to grow your page likes and post reach on Facebook, you must advertise. You must promote your page by investing in advertising for Page Likes and Page Post Likes.

What I like to do is split my Facebook advertising budget 50/50 between Page Likes and Page Post Likes. I’ve found that to be effective when building client’s social media from the ground up as opposed to existing developed social media channels. I’d focus on Page Post Likes for those pages.

Studies also support social media advertising. In fact, the retail industry has been enjoying a phenomenal 2013 on Facebook. Facebook advertising for retailers who are actively managing their social media marketing, engaging with their fans, followers, customers, prospects, and investing in targeted advertising on Facebook are seeing an average of 152% ROI.

It’s not only Facebook and Instagram who sell social advertising. Twitter has been seducing advertisers with Promoted Tweets and the new Scheduled Tweets for business.

Pinterest is in on this social advertising game as well. They recently announced Promoted Pins for advertisers. Instagram advertising is just a little late to the party but ahead of their schedule.

Social Advertising Needs Compelling Content

At then end of the day, Instagram advertising and social media advertising in general is absolutely essential. As of recently, I’ve been including a budget for social advertising in client proposals.

If you want to grow your reach on your social networks, advertising isn’t the only essential. You’ll also need compelling content marketing strategy. You’ll need engaging posts to be successful with your Page Post Likes spend.

It’s important to dig deep into your analytics and see what types of posts get the most engagement. You’ll also want to look at the timing of those successful posts to see if there is a correlation between the posts’ content and the time it was shared.

Tips For Social Media Advertising

Are you ready to get started with Instagram advertising for your brand or business? You’ll have no shortage of social media advertising options available to you. Facebook ads, promoted posts, sponsored stories and offers, to YouTube ads, LinkedIn ads, Promoted Pins and now Sponsored Photos & Videos on Instagram.

If the list is long and overwhelming to you, fear not! Here are 11 tips to advertising on social media sites that should help you get started. If you need more help feel free reach out to me.

You can read more about Instagram advertising and Instagram as a business on their blog.