They’re here. As of yesterday Instagram has rolled out ads in Australia as part of the second wave to release in feed advertising on the platform along with the UK and Canada. Reportedly, brands like Vegemite, Tourism Queensland, Ben & Jerry’s, Toyota, Flight Centre, and McDonald’s have come on board to trial this new opportunity.
The ads are meant to have the same look and feel as regular Instagram posts with the exception that the time stamp which normally appears at the top right of an Instagram post is marked “sponsored”.
Personally, we haven’t been able to spot any ads yet but according to various news sources the ads you are hit with will depend on factors such as your location, gender and age. You will also have the opportunity to hide and provide feedback on an ad.
The US released its very first Instagram ad in November 2013, an image of a Michael Kors watch set among delicious looking macarons. At first glance, numbers were looking spectacular 231k likes, and 1.78k comments. However, many of the comments were negative and sarcastic as people were expressing their dislike of content in their newsfeed they didn’t sign up for. Nevertheless, ever since the first ad, Michael Kors has grown his follower base to almost 3 million. So while the post might have received some negative feedback the overall social strategy on Instagram seems to be working.
As Instagram is taking its first steps into serious business, the Facebook owned platform has also released a set of business tools last month, Account Insights, Ad Insights and Ad Staging, all basic and much needed tools to track and report on engagement as clients will want to see results for the dollars they spend.
While Ad Staging “allows advertisers and their creative teams to preview, save, and collaborate on ad creative for upcoming campaigns” it is not clear if this includes a scheduling tool. This remains one of Instagram’s major flaws, as brands are turned off by being forced to post live. We hope that with the ad rollout in Australia an approved scheduling system will follow, giving businesses the opportunity to plan and organise their Instagram strategy.