Changing hinterlands of social marketing with new Instagram ads

Instagram ads

Three months ago, Instagram announced its intentions of including action-oriented ad formats, for enabling sharper targeting capabilities, making it easier for businesses to buy ads on Instagram. Opening up its advertising realms not only marks achieved goals for Instagram, but also, solemnity of the heated battle amongst peer to peer platforms.

A quick summarising – Instagram advertising now open to all brands will be in the form of – 30 second long videos, landscape photos and a premium advertising product, Marquee.

Ad revenue battle

Facebook’s one of priciest possessions, Instagram, stands its ground with 300 million users. While the app still enjoys first mover advantage in the pictorial social media segment, it has been facing heat from Pinterest and Snapchat. Not to mention a stiff inverse competition from Vine, Periscope and Meerkat now.

With over 65 million daily active users, Snapchat’s ad revenue has been a topic of discussion. Snapchat’s odds grew stronger when Alibaba invested $200 million in Snapchat, at a valuation of $15 billion. According to media reports, Snapchat targets revenue of $50 million in 2015.

While there is a lack of say on Periscope’s ad revenue, the Twitter owned video streaming platform has managed to attract investors’ attention. A report by Fortune, suggests that mobile has been the core of Twitter advertising lately and made up for 88% of the company’s $432 million ad revenue.

Pinterest too has been upping its advertising game with the launch of Cinematic Pins and an in-house agency and insights team to create Pins for large brands. This is supported by an improved algorithm for advertisers to target Pinners.

On the flip side, Instagram’s worldwide ad revenue is expected to be around $600 million this year and an eMarketer report estimates the worldwide mobile ad revenue to shoot up to $2.81bn by 2017, eclipsing the $595 million it raked in this year.

While Instagram leads the race, it withstands a serious threat from Snapchat, due to its popularity amongst teenagers. Pinterest too makes a strong opponent with less but loyal users.

Building pressure

Instagram might not have been Facebook’s most expensive acquisition, but is the oldest and hence the pressure of breaking even with decent profits was high.

It is also likely that Instagram wanted to steer miles away from the mistakes accredited to Goolge platforms – Orkut and Google+. Both the social networks were held guilty for not adapting to brand needs.

Instagram opened up to advertising in 2013 and since then has been evolving, albeit at a much slower rate and the new ad options come in as much required.

Brewing video ad battle

While YouTube and Facebook have been on loggerheads for video views, Snapchat, Vine and Periscope too joined the battle with short format videos. With Instagram enabling 30 seconds video for advertisers, this game escalates to a new level.

For Facebook, a view has to be at least three seconds long, whereas on YouTube a view is counted only after 30 seconds of video consumption. While it is difficult to say the time fraction for a view on Snapchat, a report by Newsfactor suggests that it takes over one second to register a view. Instagram adds to the lot, with yet another view definition.

Micro segmentation of social advertising

Kit Kat, Gillette, Paper Boat and TRESemmé are to trek Instagram’s ad lands first. These brand associations will only increase however, campaigns will have to be much more precise to make sense.

Anil K Nair, CEO, Digital Law & Kenneth describes this as a chicken and egg situation. “Brands have more platforms to collaborate with and build a community; but they need to have a very good reason to exist on each of these platforms.”

Not getting confused within the complexities of pictorial social media platforms, brands will have to refer to micro segmentation while creating campaigns. For instance, hardcore content for women goes on Pinterest and visually enhanced content goes on Instagram.

To manoeuvre each platform with refinement, brands should create specialists for every network. For instance, an Instagram officer or a Pinterest manager.

Epilogue of sorts

New and improved Instagram advertising has a lot if store for visually polished beats such as fashion, travel and food. Brands that initially restricted themselves to content push, can apply modish Insta ad options to go beyond the existing community with actionable hashtags.

A fashion brand’s open video invite for trend addicts to share their #OOTD pictures, with best ones in for a big surprise – a basic contest to leverage the pictorial bliss!

In the wake of Instagram advertising – most pictorial CTAs (call to actions) are in the making.


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