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What you need to know about Instagram’s new ad formats
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What you need to know about Instagram’s new ad formats

Social Media

Nearly two years ago now, Instagram announced the introduction of paid ads, available at that point only to certain brands already popular on the network. Today, Instagram explained that this exclusivity had afforded them the opportunity to run tests and ensure that neither the user, nor the authenticity of the platform would suffer with the introduction of ads. Inspirational images and videos got the ball rolling in fall 2013, followed shortly by the debut of carousel ads.


The results were conclusive; according to data collected by Nielson Brand Effect, a company specialized in studying consumer behaviour, the sponsored ads tested on the platform exceeded norms for online advertising.

Instagram recently announced the next steps for their paid service on their blog:

  1. Direct-response formats, with purchase buttons and interactive ads
  2. Expanded targeting options (with help from Facebook technology)
  3. Greater access to the service for small businesses

If all goes as planned, Instagram anticipates that these new features will launch in fall 2015, with the following ad formats:

  • Picture and video

Presented in the original Instagram format, but with extra options to enhance the experience – like purchase buttons, and interactive navigation between images.

  • Carousel

This new option provides a break in Instagram’s traditional vertical format, by displaying a series of images the user can swipe left to view. According to Instagram, the advantage of the carousel is its ability to tell a story through multi-page campaigns.

The new formats aren’t available to everyone yet, but so far the brands below have done a great job of taking advantage of Instagram’s ad options.


Michael Kors gets things started


Type of ad: picture


In November 2013, the first paid ad appeared on Instagram. The honour went to fashion brand @MichaelKors.

According to Business Insider, even though users complained about the ad, the campaign was still a considerable success, earning Michael Kors nearly 34,000 new followers in the 18 hours after the ad was published.


Ben & Jerry’s hits it out of the park with their first ad


Type of ad: picture


According to AdWeek, Ben & Jerry’s first paid ad got more than 386,877 likes, a 2,000% increase over the company’s usual organic engagement rate. The magazine went on to say that the average daily follower growth reached nearly 7,200 users per day after the ad was published, compared to previous growth of 429 new followers per day. The favourable response to the ads can be attributed to the fact that they were creative, inspirational, and didn’t feel like an intrusion in users’ news feeds.

Mercedes gets custom

Type of ad: picture + interactive navigation

Mercedes took the Instagram experience to new interactive heights, with a tool allowing users to build their own Mercedez-Benz GLA, without ever leaving the photo-sharing network.

The user starts on a welcome page where they are instructed to choose a colour, wheels, roof, etc. Every option they choose takes them to a new Instagram page, with information about their selection (details, additional cost). They’re then invited to make another selection. At the end of the process, the user ends up on a page for their own custom car.


Cea Brasil tells a love story


Type of ad: carousel + direct-response button

@Cea_Brasil  used the carousel with the same romantic duo that can be followed on the brand's other Instagram posts, using the carousel for storytelling purposes.




Ad type: carousel + action button

For its part, Samsung has used this feature to publish tutorials explaining the enhanced camera features of its Galaxy S6 devices. The action button made it possible to learn more by visiting his website.




Ad type: video + Facebook targeting

This spring, the @StuartWeitzman brand produced a campaign that took advantage of the combination of Instagram and Facebook by producing a two-part ad that started on the photo-sharing app and continued some time later on the Facebook news from targeted users.  

The images posted on Instagram were actually videos presented in the form of a “cinemagraph” , a still image animated with small localized movements and, above all, a creative technique that Facebook encourages advertisers to adopt .  

While waiting for these new features to arrive in Canada, you can consult the list of official third-party applications that allow you to push the limits of creativity on Instagram and continue efforts to build, retain and engage your community.  

To follow our #viedebureau on Instagram: @Advisogram