Instagram Advertising has Landed: Here are the Keys to Success

It’s been close to three years since Facebook bought Instagram, but advertising opportunities for the world’s largest photosharing app only became available in the past few months.

However, at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, Facebook’s VP of global marketing, Carolyn Everson, revealed their intentions to make all of Facebook’s ad targeted features available to Instagram advertisers in the next few months.

So far, brands have been leveraging Instagram as a playful, visual storytelling platform. It’s proven excellent real estate for “B-side” footage and photo content that might otherwise end up on the cutting room floor. As brand and influencer pages viral-spiral into the hundreds of thousands and millions of followers, these brands and content creator are crafting their Instagram content with increased care and intention.

As for the limited few companies that could place sponsored content on Instagram, they could only target based on age, gender and country. Now, information integrated over from user’s Facebook profiles will become a rich data trove for Instagram advertisers to use to target their messages.

Because of the high value placed on quality content on the platform and the commitment to keep the ecosystem ad-free for such a long time, Facebook and Instagram are hopeful that the recent move to open up to more ad opportunities won’t be a disruptive experience to the average user. And so far, most haven’t. While some of Lacoste’s sponsored posts might look exactly like a sponsored post, we can’t help but notice that these images aren’t cluttered with calls to action or even branded logos. They’re just really well-executed images. Because that’s what Instagram is all about.

This development is really exciting for both Instagram and brands, but it’s important to keep a few things in mind in order to be successful on Instagram:

  • Instagram content needs to be original and the content needs to match the tone of your brand.
  • Instagram is not well-positioned to be a strong direct response channel, but that doesn’t mean your Instagram account can’t increase your sales
  • Facebook’s ad targeting technology will not be ported over in an exact carbon copy, so it’s wise to work with an interactive agency that has experience as a Facebook media buyer to execute your Instagram buys.

How effective these new Instagram ad features will be comes down to how well they’re targeted, and if the nature of the sponsored content stays true to the efficiencies of the platform: content that lifts the veil on brands and has fun with the users.