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.