Is It Time For Your Business To Test The Instagram Ad Waters?

Chris CrumBusiness

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Earlier this summer, Instagram said that it would open up its ads to businesses of all sizes (on a self-serve basis) this fall. Now, they've officially announced that this will be the case, everywhere, starting this month. This includes in over 30 new countries, with launches around the world on September 30.

The ads utilize Facebook's ads infrastructure and targeting so advertisers can tap into users' interests.

Have you looked forward to getting in on the Instagram ad action? Do you expect this to be a significant part of your marketing mix? Let us know in the comments.

"Businesses of all sizes have been testing these new capabilities this summer with positive results, and we’re seeing significant demand, particularly in areas like e-commerce, travel, entertainment and retail," says Instagram in a blog post. "We’re thrilled to see what brands can achieve in the months ahead using Instagram as their creative canvas."

Salesforce recently released some data on early Instagram ad results after integrating with the API to give capabilities to its customers.

“Instagram is a relatively new platform for digital advertising, but initial results show it has the potential to be a powerful one,” said Salesforce Marketing Cloud CEO Scott McCorkle. “Our results show that engagement on ads is high. We are excited to be working with great brands and agencies around the world to kickstart advertising to more than 300 million Instagram users.”

According to the data, the overall click-through rate (CTR) is 1.50%, compared to a CTR of 0.84% in Q1 2015 on Facebook. Instagram has a global CPM of $6.29, Salesforce said, adding that this is an “early indicator” and about 90% higher than Facebook’s overall global CPM in Q1. The CPC for the ads is $0.42, which is two cents higher than Facebook ads.

“The high engagement rate can likely be attributed to Instagram’s premium, large-format ad type,” a spokesperson for Salesforce told WebProNews. “According to a recent report from eMarketer, Instagram is expected to represent over 10% of Facebook’s global revenues by 2017.”

Instagram says:

Now, with the addition of new formats, we’re starting to see marketers achieve a range of objectives, from web site clicks to mobile app installs. For example, Gilt Groupe turned to Instagram to win new customers, and ran a campaign that drove an 85% lift in app installs. At the same time, designer furniture retailer Made.com’s ads yielded a 10% order value increase versus its benchmark. Game developer Kabam’s campaign helped it effectively acquire new players that stayed in their game longer and purchased more. And The North Face used iconic imagery to heighten awareness of its “believe in the impossible” speaker series, with results showing high engagement to learn more.

The API Partner program launched last month with partners like Salesforce, Hootsuite, Kenshoo, Ampush, Nanigans, SocialCode, Brand Networks, Unified, and 4C joining in.

“Instagram is the mobile marketer’s platform of choice for a highly engaged and growing audience,” said Jesse Pujji, CEO and co-founder of Ampush. “It presents a great opportunity to deliver in-feed, mobile advertising at true scale with its user base of over 300 million monthly active users. AMP’s integration with Instagram will allow our customers to advertise across a visually dynamic environment for consumers with a highly active community. Our strategic and in-house creative expertise, paired with our marketing solutions, delivers a unique ability to bridge audience engagement with revenue.”

In addition to the increased availability of self-serve ads, Instagram announced some new ad formats. These include landscape photo and video, video ads of up to 30 seconds, and marquee ads. These are described as "a new premium product that helps drive mass awareness and expanded reach in a short time-frame—perfect for events like movie premieres and new product launches."

There are also new delivery and optimization tools for managing and improving performance of campaigns cross both Instagram and Facebook.

Instagram has over 300 million monthly active users, and is poised to be a major component of the digital marketing landscape.

Are you ready to start advertising on Instagram? Let us know in the comments.

Image via Instagram

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.