Instagram 101 for Advertisers

WHAT’S INSTAGRAM? At its heart, Instagram is a photography application developed around a community that expects highly curated, artistic images.  Recently, it’s gained massive adoption, especially with younger users:

  • 150M active monthly users (13% of all Internet users)
  • Used by 28% of all Millennials (ages 18-29)
  • 55M photos posted per day

WHY SHOULD BRANDS CARE? Instagram places images front and center, providing brands with 100% share of voice at one specific moment in time and enabling participants to see the world through the brand’s lens.  As a result, Instagram has become an unfiltered branding platform that helps brands evangelize messages—including what they’re adding to the world and what they want to be known for.  Instagram images from brands aid in shifting brand perception and driving brand/product affinity and awareness. PAID ADVERTISING OPPORTUNITIES: 2014 In 2014, Instagram will open its ad platform to 40–50 additional brands.  To leverage Instagram’s ad platform, brands must meet the following criteria:

  1. Content aligns with Instagram standards (artistic, original, attention to detail, etc.)
  2. Creative and measurement leads willing to work in lock step with Instagram
  3. Minimum media investment (not yet disclosed, likely priced on a per vertical basis)

As Instagram ads role out on a larger scale, they’ll feature targeting based on demographics (gender, geo, age) and broad interests.  Similar to Facebook and Twitter, Instagram will likely role out more advanced targeting options as it further develops its capabilities.  Instagram may also alter audience targeting options by integrating user feedback as it starts to collect data from users who’ve been exposed to ads. Instagram doesn’t plan on opening its ad platform to programmatic buying, but rather will continue to offer large impression and reach buys on an insertion level.  Although Instagram is owned by Facebook, it intends on maintaining separation from Facebook’s advertising platform. BEST PRACTICES for BRANDS Successful brands use Instagram to speak to a moment in time that is synonymous with their brand image.  For example, with the release of its seasonal Pumpkin Spice Latte, Starbucks used “#PSL” to post artistic photos of pumpkin-themed images and encouraged participants to do the same. ScreenHunter_02 Nov. 14 10.26 Brands can also benefit from using both traditional and “Instagram” photography techniques to resonate with users, such as symmetry, landscape images, “on the table” food/table settings images, and images of neatly organized items. To prepare for the upcoming 2014 Instagram advertising opportunity, brands should:

  1. Analyze current Instagram performance to determine KPIs
  2. Revisit Instagram content best practices to ensure current content meets Instagram standards
  3. Perform creative testing to identify which content resonates with followers
  4. Increase posting frequency to grow a highly engaged user base and increase potential reach of future Instagram ads

For help developing your 2014 Instagram advertising strategy—and leveraging the platform—contact Performics today.

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