The move comes nearly two years after the photo-sharing platform first started serving ads in the US.
Instagram’s ad business is growing fast, driven by its 300 million active users worldwide, 70 per cent of whom are outside the US, and new ad formats. According to eMarketer, Instagram’s global mobile ad revenues will reach $2.81 billion by 2017, accounting for over 10 per cent of Facebook’s global ad revenues. By the end of this year, the firm predicts Instagram will contribute $595 million in mobile ad revenue.
On offer for advertisers is a range of advertising solutions and new capabilities. This includes Marquee, a new premium-high quality, single-day campaign product that will help brands drive awareness and expand reach. Marquee guarantees impressions and placement, ensuring that the brand’s story is front and centre. Other ad formats include traditional landscape photos, videos, 30-second video ads, and more direct response functions.
According to Jodi Williams, head of global brand development, Air New Zealand, Instagram is an integral part of the company's brand story. "Partnering with Instagram for the launch of its advertising platform in New Zealand allows us to expand both our brand presence and our conversations with Kiwis," Williams said.
Fergus O’Hare, head of Creative Shop, Facebook APAC, highlighted three creative elements that work really well on the platform: branding, concept and craft. He said it’s critical to represent a brand in a creative way that drives engagement and ad recall, while also promoting concepts that push message association and affinity. “Ads on Instagram need both branding and ideas to drive business results,” he said.
Commenting on craft, O’Hare advised brands to work closely with creative teams to produce images and videos that are well crafted and fit natively within the platform. “That does not always mean ‘expensive production’," he said. "It just needs to inspire through whatever means are right for the idea.”
In an earlier blog post, Ilicco Elia, head of mobile at DigitasLBi International, noted that Instagram ads were more complex than the content that surrounds them. While users are restricted to a single, square image or video, advertisers can deliver carousels of several images and include "shop now" buttons and links. "This will help brands’ messages to stand out and make them more playful, though the platform is likely to be cautious about developing too much functionality too quickly for fear of alienating users."
According to Nielsen’s Brand Effect, Instagram has run over 400 campaigns between November 2013 and May 2015. The platform’s average ad recall is at 17 per cent globally, 2.8x higher than Nielsen’s norms for online measurement.
CASE STUDY: The Iconic
Australian online fashion retailer The Iconic launched a combined Instagram and Facebook campaign to drive key brand metrics and sales of its Autumn/Winter collection among 21- to 40-year-old Australian women.
Launching on Instagram, the campaign featured photos and videos of the brand's new season collection, modeled amongst the rugged Australian wilderness. Crafted specifically for Instagram, the scenic and editorial-style creative fit naturally into the target audience’s feeds, generating positive engagement. The second crucial phase of the campaign launched one week later, showcasing individual products via direct-response ads on Facebook.
The audience that saw posts on both Instagram and Facebook generated 23 per cent more conversions and 25 per cent more basket adds than the audience that saw only the Facebook ads.