Instagram is looking for more ways to monetize the platform and the astounding consumer reach it has.
The photo-sharing app (hasn’t it become much more than that, though?) announced that it is experimenting with video ads within Stories with some of the biggest global advertisers. Of course, those posts will be marked with a “sponsored” sign. In an interview with Fortune, director of product marketing Jim Squires hinted at a “two or three-week test period” before making the feature fully available to all its active advertisers.
Here, you might draw a comparison to Snapchat’s ads. Yet, Snapchat works mostly with larger brands and tries to keep ads as unobtrusive as possible. That gets pretty pricey, pretty quickly. If you want to play with the big boys, like Netflix, Burberry, AT&T and Cola-Cola, you’d have to have a budget big enough to advertise on the network. However, contrary to Snapchat, Instagram’s ads will continue to be self-served and employ auction-based pricing.
People familiar with Facebook and Instagram advertising should find it pretty straightforward when it comes to setting up and paying for video ads inside Stories. Plus, you can target those just like you do with any other Facebook and/or Instagram ad placement. Squires underlined that Facebook’s powerful demographic and interest-based targeting capabilities are definitely a competitive advantage for Instagram.
Initially, the network will only optimize said ads for reach objective. However, you can expect more and more available objectives when this new ad format takes off. As of now, given the Stories’ reach, this objective seems like a good start to dip your toes into novel advertising placement.
The company also announced that analytics on Stories will now be included in the Business Tools dashboard and will share basic insights, such as reach and impressions. There is a good chance for a more robust analytics down the road, as it’s estimated that close to 71 percent of U.S. businesses will market on Instagram this year. These efforts will not go unnoticed since 75 percent of platform users take action after seeing a post.
Whether it’s competition with Snapchat or huge popularity of the feature, Instagram didn’t beat around the bush for too long before monetizing it. Remember how many years it took before Instagram rolled out any advertising? Or, how long did it take before introducing business features? And now, in several months after the initial launch, Instagram is planning to leverage the power of Stories.
This comes as no surprise because Stories present an amazing opportunity to not only get back at its biggest rival, but also provide an immersive advertising experience. Since Stories take up the whole mobile screen space, so will the ads. Plus, although sponsored Stories can include images, video becomes a format of choice not only for advertisers, but consumers as well. So, a combination of full screen and multimedia make it a truly interactive, engaging experience. There will also be no difference in engaging with organic and sponsored Stories; both enable viewers to like, comment and share.
Its parent company, Facebook is moving aggressively into video and interactive space; Instagram’s market domination and positioning create an immense occasion to both play now and play big.