The World’s First InstaAd

15 Nov The World’s First InstaAd

Well it finally happened. I know you’re not surprised, but ads have finally hit Instagram.

If you didn’t know to look for it, you probably would have thought the first ad to appear on Instagram was just another post on your feed. Just a beautiful photo of a watch on a table set with tea and macarons with the caption, “Pampered in Paris #MK Timeless.”

But this Michael Kors photo was different. This was the first sponsored post on the popular photo-sharing network Instagram, which arrived two weeks ago and wasn’t met with a welcoming audience.

Brands all across the board have been avid users of the popular photo-sharing platform since its inception, but until recently their accounts have been the same as yours or mine. The difference now, is that companies are able to pay to insert content into targeted newsfeeds.

According to Instagram, the addition of ads will be slow, painless, and customizable. In a recent #instagramnews blog post the company said, “We’ll focus on delivering a small number of beautiful, high-quality photos and videos from a handful of brands that are already great members of the Instagram community.”

The most prevalent complaint in the ad’s hundreds of comments was that Michael Kors as a brand was irrelevant to feeds where it appeared, but Instagram has taken that into account too. If an ad shows up on your feed that you don’t want to see again, you will be able to hide it and provide feedback about what you didn’t like.

Based on the new model of incorporating ads, anyone who was already following Michael Kors saw the photo come up as a normal post and others saw it featuring the label “sponsored.”

The Instagram PR team seems to be handling the introduction of ads with elegant transparency by creating a forum for public opinion sharing and explaining their thought processes as they go. However, the introduction of sponsored posts leads to a few questions about the future of Instagram and where the platform is headed. Will we all get use to seeing sponsored content? Will we even notice? Is Instagram going to follow in Facebook’s footsteps with almost as many ads as personal content?

The fact is, Instagram ads are here to stay. After a glace at the metrics following the Michael Kors ad, brands will be jumping at the chance to advertise on Instagram. According to a study by Nitrogram, the inaugural ad received 218k likes in the first 18 hours, translating to a 370% bump in engagement as opposed to their non-sponsored content.

User comments have dictated that Instagram will have to keep ads classy and targeted at the right demographics to keep users from feeling like their feeds are being polluted.  Still to come are ads from Adidas, Ben & Jerry’s, Burberry, General Electric, Levi’s, Lexus, Macy’s, PayPal and Starwood.

So what are your thoughts? Do you think ads on Instagram will affect the user experience? Should we even care? Let us know!

Sally McHugh
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