Yesterday Instagram announced that it would start delivering ads to users outside the United States, with Canada, United Kingdom and Australia the next countries in line.
Since it launched in 2010 the Instagram community has grown to over 200 million users worldwide, so this update presents brands with a tremendous opportunity to share their messages and increase brand awareness through visual story telling. The adverts will follow the same format as in the US, with users seeing a simple image post, similar to the example from Ben & Jerry’s (below) in their news feeds.
Last year Instagram tested the launch of sponsored posts with paid messages to a handful of brands including Ben & Jerry’s, Macy’s, Levi’s, Lexus and Michael Kors. Instagram advertisers said that they had seen positive results with the tested adverts, “and in some cases, well above the ad industry’s average for performance!”
To put that into perspective, Michael Kors gained nearly 34,000 new followers in the 18 hours following their first controversial sponsored photo. Despite all of the negativity aimed at Michael Kors by anti-advertising users, the post itself received almost four times as many likes as an average post.
Ben & Jerry’s also had huge success scooping up new followers and gathered a ton of new ‘likes’, Their four Instagram ads to date and have seen followers increase by about 20%, with more that 50,000 new followers. Using Instagram to spread the word about the joy its ice cream inspires, they were able to reach 9.8 million people in the US aged from 18-35 over just 8 days.
Facebook approached the initial phase of advertising on Instagram slowly in order to keep its community happy, and with 50 million new users in the first 6 months of adding adverts its strategy appears to be working.