Today in Canada, six major brands began to advertise directly onto Instagram feeds. Last year, advertising capabilities were given to select brands in the US, Britain and Australia. We threw together a quick snapshot as to why the news is something our industry should watch.
Why does this matter to advertisers and brands?
It’s mobile, where the vast majority of Canadians are. Also, the typical online ad does not work well on the smartphone small screen.
Instagram has more than 200 million users worldwide and its audiences tend to be quite young. In a September 2013 survey from the US, 37 per cent of users were 18-29 years old, 18 per cent were 30-49 years old, and 7 per cent were 50 and older.
There are about 35 million Instagrammers in the US, so about 65 per cent of users are outside the US – a major – and rapidly growing, audience.
Of all the major social media channels, teenagers prefer Instagram, according to another US survey. It’s likely that Canadian patterns are similar.
What exactly are the changes?
The selected brands can now additionally reach users who do not follow them.
The ads will appear in a person’s feed and should look mostly like regular Instagram posts, except for a mark that identifies them as sponsored.
Can the agency buy Instagram ads for clients?
No. For now, just Mercedes-Benz Canada, Air Canada, Hudson’s Bay Co., Sport Chek, Target Canada and Travel Alberta are allowed to advertise in Canada on Instagram.
Facebook, which owns the Instagram app, wants to take it slow so users are not turned off, and to carefully gauge reaction. Additional brands may in time be invited to advertise, but for now Facebook remains noncommittal.
What do the Instagram ads look like?
According to Marketing Magazine, Facebook has said they want users to see the ads and “feel like they’re flipping through their favourite glossy magazine.”
Facebook also recommends the ads be simple, unobtrusive and follow a lifestyle approach that looks more like what a young person would upload.