Social media advertising is not new; Facebook started this trend in 2006 when the company realized that in order to have a free service AND stay in business, ad revenue is a must.  Between then and now, several non-subscription social media sites have been conceived and have later introduced advertising, including Twitter, Pinterest and Tumblr. Facebook continues the social advertising trend by adding advertising to its acquired social media platform—Instagram. Instagram ads are not new per se; however, it was announced on Tuesday that they are now available to all marketers.  

When the ad format was first introduced a year and half ago, the ad budget minimums were out of reach for most marketers, except large brands, making it an unrealistic option for most marketers to use the platform to reach a key demographic—Millennials. This announcement means marketers are now able to reach 300 million users on the popular photo-sharing app, the majority of which are 15-29.
In addition to opening up advertising to all marketers, Instagram also introduced interest targeting, call-to-action buttons and an API. The interest targeting will allow advertisers to not only target by age, gender and country, but also by who users follow on Instagram and like on Facebook. The call-to-action buttons include “Shop Now,” “Install Now,” “Sign Up” and more and mark the first time Instagram ads have been clickable. This is similar to the ad changes we have seen on Facebook and Twitter to increase social-commerce, which we discussed last fall.  It is worth noting that when clicking on an ad, it does not take you completely out of Instagram, but instead opens up a mini-browser within the app. This is notable for many users who don’t like interruptions in their social browsing. Lastly, the recently introduced API will plug into the broader ecosystem of ad platforms, as well as integrate with Facebook’s ad-buying platform, making it easier for ad agencies to manage multiple campaigns at once. 
These changes have begun rolling out in Spain and will slowly make their way around the world. What do you think of these new ads? Do you think it will increase website conversions? Do you think it will drive people away from Instagram? We’d love to hear from you!