Instagram, the photo and video sharing platform used by more than 150 million members, recently announced they will be incorporating sponsored posts within users’ feeds. The company will begin serving these ads to users based on their interests, who they follow, as well as the activities they perform on Instagram and its parent company, Facebook. Since Instagram aims to be a place where people can connect and get inspired, the goal is to showcase high-quality, aesthetically appealing ads that fit naturally into the platform’s visual landscape.
The opportunity to advertise has only been presented to a few select brands who have established their presence on Instagram through significant followers and account interaction. These include: adidas, Ben & Jerry’s, Burberry, and General Electric. Fashion brand Michael Kors was the first brand to try out the new sponsored posts. While the ad was met with some backlash from users who don’t want to see one of their favorite platforms tarnished with an abundance of advertisements, the results the brand experienced were impressive. The sponsored post received four times as many likes as their average post and resulted in an increase of nearly 34,000 followers in the 18 hours following its launch. This is nearly 16 times the follower growth the brand experiences on their average non sponsored post.
While these results are promising for brands, there are a few things to consider before deciding to sponsor posts on the platform.
1. Are you active on Instagram? Do you have an established account where you regularly post according to content calendar and interact with consumers? If not, the first step would be creating an account for your brand. It is important to take the time to listen and observe what is happening within the platform. Search your brand as well as related hashtags to see how consumers are interacting with your products on a daily basis. These insights will be helpful when deciding what content to post moving forward.
2. Can you display your products or services in a way that translates naturally on the platform? Users look to Instagram for visually appealing content, so if you choose to use it as a platform for your business it’s important to keep aesthetics in mind. A few suggestions Instagram shares for posting include sneak peeks of exclusive content, behind-the-scenes looks and lifestyle photos related to your brand. With time you’ll be able to determine which content your followers find most engaging and adjust your strategy accordingly.
3. What are your goals? Are you looking to gain followers and increase awareness or to drive sales? Since Instagram doesn’t currently allow linking outside of the platform, driving sales (or at least creating a direct correlation) is a bit of a challenge, but if you are looking to increase brand awareness Instagram may be a great fit.
If after reading the above qualifying questions you feel like Instagram makes sense for your business, then experimenting with sponsored posts may be worth a try. Pricing structure is still unclear, but we will keep you updated as more details emerge. Don’t know if ads on Instagram make the most sense for your brand? There are always alternate methods to engaging and growing your fanbase using Instagram without sponsored posts. Be sure to check back to learn more!