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Early results suggest advertisers are going to start taking Instagram VERY seriously

Those with media jobs in mobile adver­tis­ing agen­cies who are skep­ti­cal about Instagram’s recent, much-vaunt­ed for­ay into adver­tis­ing might want to think again: ear­ly results sug­gest that it’s going to be a valu­able plat­form for adver­tis­ing.

Why mobile adver­tis­ing agen­cies will be tak­ing Insta­gram seri­ous­ly

Brands which adver­tised through the pho­to-shar­ing inno­va­tor saw their aver­age ad recall leap three­fold in Novem­ber, and four cam­paigns achieved increas­es in brand aware­ness of 10 per­cent. Ben & Jerry’s man­aged to reach 9.8 mil­lion 18–35 year olds in the US in 8 days, while Levi’s reached 7.4 mil­lion 18–34 year olds in 8. OK, so that’s not nec­es­sar­i­ly hard evi­dence of ROI, but it’s cer­tain­ly “promis­ing,” to bor­row Instagram’s under­state­ment.

Intrigu­ing­ly for peo­ple with an inter­est in mobile phones adver­tis­ing, Insta­gram looks like­ly to take share away from TV and pub­lish­ing rather than from Google. Adver­tis­ers tra­di­tion­al­ly turn to plac­ing ads on TV and mag­a­zines when they want to plant a mem­o­rable mes­sage in the minds of mil­lions of peo­ple. But if Insta­gram can achieve the same kind of result – gen­er­at­ing demand as opposed to ful­fill­ing it à la Google — they may well soon start mov­ing some of their mar­ket­ing spend in its direc­tion and away from TV and pub­lish­ing.

A slow­ly, slow­ly approach

After just five days of adver­tis­ing, Instagram’s CEO Kevin Sys­trom was able to reveal that 5 per­cent of ad impres­sions had gen­er­at­ed ‘likes’, indi­cat­ing that at least some amongst Instagram’s loy­al­ists are active­ly enjoy­ing the ads. Quite a few of the com­ments, how­ev­er, sug­gest that many are peev­ed that their for­mer­ly ad-free envi­ron­ment has been intrud­ed into by Adland; this may take a lit­tle time and a slow­ly-slow­ly approach to soft­en.

Clev­er­ly, Insta­gram decid­ed to adver­tise in an unob­tru­sive way. Ads don’t rely on peo­ple click­ing on them so they don’t attempt to drag users away from their intend­ed expe­ri­ence on the app. Back in Novem­ber, Sys­trom said of the ads:

“Are they mak­ing us hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars per day? No, but that wasn’t the goal. We announced we’d take it slow doing it the right way.”

And that’s the approach that could well pay off hand­some­ly for the start­up, which it’s some­times hard to believe was only found­ed in 2010 before its acqui­si­tion by Face­book two years lat­er.

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