Instagram Gets Big Marketing Improvements

Chris CrumAdvertising

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We're not even half way through February yet, and already it's been a major month for Instagram in terms of what businesses and marketers can get out of it. There have been four separate announcements that give marketers added functionality that should help them organize and get more out of their strategies.

Do you see Instagram as a useful tool in your marketing arsenal? Is it among your top priorities in social media? Discuss.

Longer Campaigns

The first of these four announcements is that marketers can now book reach and frequency campaigns up to 90 days in length on both Facebook and Instagram. This means marketers can run de-duped campaigns over a longer period of time. This was a popular request for the company, so many marketers stand to benefit.

Facebook recently said on its Marketing Partners site, "When running longer campaign lengths, we suggest that you also utilize the frequency cap interval feature. Currently, if you do not break up your longer (90-day) campaigns into frequency capped intervals then there will likely be very low delivery on some days (we will look to improve our pacing with this in the future)."

"Instead, you should break up the campaign into the interval that you think is right for you," the company added. "Many advertisers use an interval of 1-2 weeks. Once you know the interval that is right for you, campaigns up to 90 days in length allow you to set-up 1 campaign which will last for the entire quarter."

The company urged marketing partners to update their interfaces to support the new campaign length and advertisers looking to book longer campaigns. The feature doesn't come with any API changes.

Longer Videos

The second announcement of significance is the launch of 60-second video ads, which are available to all marketers.

"We recognize that advertisers have a variety of creative resources and want to bring more choice to help them reach their business goals," a spokesperson for the company told us in an email. "Instagram allows brands to amplify campaigns and build anticipation heading into key moments in time..."

Multiple Accounts

The third announcement was the addition of multiple account support to the Instagram mobile apps. This should prove tremendously helpful for social media managers for obvious reasons.

Users can add up to five Instagram accounts and easily switch between them without having to log in and out.

The update is included on version 7.15 for iOS and Android, both of which can be found in their respective app stores.

To add an account, go to your profile, hit the settings button, and scroll down to "Add Account. When you have multiple accounts added, you can tap on your user name at the top of the screen to switch. You'll get push notifications for all accounts you have them turned on for.

Video View Counts

Finally, Instagram announced this week that it's now testing video view counts, which it expects to roll out to all users over the coming weeks. This will also extend to ads.

"This is a long requested feature in our community and video views help share the depth of engagement videos receive," a spokesperson for the company told us.

The counts will appear beneath videos. It's considered a view when the user has seen it for at least three seconds. According to Facebook and Nielsen, up to 47% of the value in a video campaign is delivered in the first three seconds.

You can see likes on videos by tapping views.

"We believe views are the most relevant way to measure people engaging with video, and it's a widely expected metric," the spokesperson said.

Instagram says this is just one of "many" ways users will see video on the service get better this year.

Instagram's Evolution

While it does appear to be true that Instagram (much like Facebook itself) is becoming more of a pay-to-play scenario, and engagement has been on the decline, it still has the highest engagement ratio for brands among social media services by a long shot). Instagram ad CTR is also comparable to that of Facebook ads.

Facebook recently held a conference call to discuss its Q4 and full-year 2015. Executives had plenty to say about Instagram.

"With Instagram, we’ve continued to drive the shift towards more visual content online," said Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg (via Seeking Alpha). "The community continues to grow. And back in September, we announced a new milestone of 400 million monthly actives. Over the last year, as the community has grown, we have focused on building engaging new experiences for the community including by improving search and by introducing Trending Content. We’ve also worked to develop new experiences to give people more options for creating and sharing different types of content. In March, we launched the layout app allowing people to easily combine images and in October the team also launched Boomerang, and app for making looping videos which reached number one in the App Store in more than 70 countries. We also introduced a new video channel on Instagram for people to watch moments from big events like New Year, so the college football championship as they have it."

"We’re also very pleased with the growth in advertiser adoption of Instagram and the positive results advertisers are seeing from their investments," said COO Sheryl Sandberg. "98 of the top 100 advertisers on Facebook also advertised on Instagram in Q4."

"Some of our clients approached us where they have a social budget or Facebook budget and some of that moves to Instagram and some people, it’s incremental spend," she said. "In the medium to long-run however, we believe that we’re really well-positioned to take share from other platforms out there. We believe both Facebook and Instagram have this combination of an ability to do great creative with the best targeting in a most sophisticated measurement which shows businesses how we help them move products off shelves. And we want and we tell our clients we want to be the best dollar, the best euro, the best pound and the best minute you spend. And we really encourage them to measure their ROI and compare us to other platforms. "

How does Instagram stack up for your business compared to other platforms? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.