Am I the only one who likes some of the social advertising on Instagram?
I haven’t gotten any of the Oreo ads people are talking about in my feed, but I have gotten a few that were just plain pretty.
I have yet to buy anything as a result, but who knows.
Maybe my attitudes about some brands have been influenced by the social advertising images that pop up in my feed as I scroll.
And now, we can all get ready for even more ads in our Instagram feeds.
Instagram Ads for Everyone!
In a blog post, the Facebook-owned image-sharing network announced it will open its social advertising capabilities to all advertisers later this year.
Some of the features will feel familiar. In fact, the interface is likely to be similar to the Facebook ad platform.
Advertisers will be able to target based on interests and audience characteristics, just like on Facebook.
And, just like on Facebook, there’s sure to be some pushback by users.
In fact, even some in the industry are already calling the move, as well as the recent addition of a “shop now” button, a mistake.
A Beautiful Experience About to Be Ruined?
The original purpose of Instagram was to be a place where people can share gorgeous photography.
The New York Times recently reported:
The service’s founder, Kevin Systrom, who still runs the service within Facebook, built it to be a place to relax and appreciate beautiful photos and videos posted by people and companies that users have chosen to follow.
And the way ads on Instagram have rolled out during the last year and a half, that experience has remained intact.
Brands were carefully selected so the social advertising would fit with the Instagram experience.
So now that every Tom, Dick, and Harry will be able to advertise on Instagram, are we about to start seeing ugly images popping up?
Or at least, uglier than some of the bad food photography we already see?
The Times also quoted an analyst at eMarketer who’s been briefed on the plans who said:
It’s not necessarily going to be the beautiful imagery that fans are used to.
Social Advertising Caveats
It’s exciting to think about advertising on Instagram.
There are certain brands for which it’s a natural fit, and the inability to buy social advertising on this platform has so far been frustrating.
But before you get in line to be the first little guy in the Instagram social advertising playground, remember the basics:
- Go where your audience is. Don’t get excited by what’s shiny and new and jump into a platform your audience doesn’t care about.
- That said, don’t be afraid to rock the boat a bit. Instagram is a natural for consumer brands, but who says it can’t also be useful for business-to-business? If your audience is on Instagram, and you have the right strategy for reaching them, you might be surprised.
- Figure out what works before you start throwing money around. If you make mediocre content on your free Instagram account—content no one wants to engage with—what makes you think paying for it will suddenly get people interested? Fortunately, free social media is a great way to beta-test your paid social efforts.
- Tie everything you do to goals and objectives. You’re not just trying to make the best-looking ad (sorry, Instagram purists). Figure out what your social media strategy’s objectives are—are you trying to drive leads? Maybe awareness? Then come up with a social advertising strategy that clearly drives at those objectives.
What do you think? Are you excited about social advertising on Instagram?