Staff Reporters
Mar 5, 2015

Instagram announces 'carousel' ad format

GLOBAL - Instagram announced overnight that it will introduce an advertising format that provides brands with a way to display multiple images along with a clickthrough opportunity to a website of the brand's choice.

The Facebook-owned platform announced the format in a blog post, accompanied by the demo video above.

The blog post said the format effectively brings multi-page print campaigns to mobile phones by giving people the option to swipe to see additional images. The company gave examples such as a fashion company using the carousel to "deconstruct the individual products in a ‘look,’" or a car maker displaying "an array of different features of a vehicle".

Josh Gallagher, regional strategy director at Havas Media, said that whenever a social platform introduces advertising to a previously user-led environment, his initial reaction is that brands will love it, but consumers will hate it. However, this case may be different, he said. 

"People are much more used to following brands on Instagram, with vast amounts of content currently produced by brands or publishers," he told Campaign Asia-Pacific. "The key here has been choice.  Instagram must play guardian and keep content relevant for its audiences."

In addition, Gallagher added, the format allows for some important things that other social platforms have not thus far. "[There is] a sense of creative freedom with five key images allowed in the carousel," he said. "This also gives consumers the ability to 'select' communication from brands. Traditional display or video ads online that allow for selection have proven much more engaging in the past."

Instagram said in its post that it is introducing the format on a limited basis and will be tweaking the experience based on user activity. 

Campaign Asia-Pacific solicited comments from several other sources and will add them here if and when they come in.


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