From today (9 September) ads will be available in 30 new countries, including eight in Europe, with a global rollout planned for the end of September. That includes the newer direct response ads, which encourage users to take actions on posts through buttons such as ‘shop now’, ‘install’ or ‘learn more’.
Instagram is also launching new ad formats including ‘Marquee’ ads. These are aimed at delivering high awareness and impact over a short period of time for events such as Black Friday or a new campaign launch, according to Amy Cole, business operations at Instagram.
“Instagram advertising is now open for business,” she told Marketing Week.
Instagram has taken a measured approach to launching advertising on its site, testing what works with a small number of brands required to spend at least $50,000 on the site and offering them a member of the team to offer help and advice on what works and what doesn’t.
Cole explained: “We have taken a pretty considered approach so far. We feel confident that we know what works for advertisers and what experience is right for them and what needs they have on the platform and we know what works for the community.
“We’ve had good response so far because we’ve built that knowledge and that infrastructure to really be able to scale in the right way.”
Instagram claims that during testing brands saw statistically significant improvements in branding results. Across 400 campaigns analysed by Nielsen, 97% generated a significant lift in ad recall and Instagram ads were found to be 2.8 times more powerful than ads across the rest of the web.
Made.com, one of the brands that was given early access in the UK, claims it saw a 10% increase in order size among people shown Instagram advertising.
Aligning Instagram advertising with business objectives
By opening up its ad platform Instagram runs the risk of brands that don’t understand the platform and its audience creating campaigns that simply won’t work.
Steve Hatch, UK and Ireland director at Instagram owner Facebook, told Marketing Week that the key to advertiser success relies on understanding the community and great creative.
“The best brands bring their creative A game. On Instagram you stand out by fitting in. The best brands really understand the context of Instagram,” he said.
One issue with social media has been that many brands don’t know how to measure success. A recent survey by the CMO Survey found that just 15% of US marketers are quantitatively measuring their results, with more than 40% not measuring anything.
Hatch said Instagram has done a lot of work to introduce “comparable measurements”. But says marketers need to start aligning their social media marketing with their wider strategy.
“Brands need comparable measurement between platforms. And to recognise how that sits in the overall marketing mix. We do an awful lot of work with Nielsen on that to build out a sense of proof.
“The change we’ve seen is people thinking about Instagram as a solution to business objectives – how to solve a retention problem or hit a sales objective,” he said.