When Instagram first launched in 2010, it got off to a quick start as users loved that the service allowed professional-looking filters to be applied to pictures snapped on smartphones, turning them into artistic expressions of everyday life. From selfies in the bathroom mirror to shots of lakes, streams, oceans, and even a user's lunch, Instagram photos are a hit, especially with the younger generation.
As the service evolved, it included a website and mobile app, both of which users could upload their photos to and share them with others. In fact, the service became so popular that Facebook purchased it for a reported $1 billion, and today, millions of people use Instagram to keep up with friends, family, and coworkers.
How Does Instagram Factor Into Business?
As a photo-sharing service, Instagram has proven itself to be a perfect platform for businesses that focus on visual branding. Originally, Instagram did not allow ads, but over time, that changed, and large brands that were able to capitalize on image were ecstatic. When the service first began allowing ads, they were photo-only and non-clickable. From there, ads included videos, but again, they were non-clickable.
What this meant was that brands could advertise on Instagram, gain a large following, but they were not able to engage audiences in real-time. The problem with non-clickable ads is that Internet users have a limited attention span, so unless an ad was so alluring that an Instagram user was pulled away from browsing or interacting with friends, if a link couldn't be clicked on, the odds of the ad succeeding were low.
Instagram Introduces Clickable Ads
Due to a backlash from large brands, however, Instagram recently announced that it is now allowing clickable URLs to be included with ads. What this means for your trade publication is that this photo-sharing service is a more viable marketing venue than ever before. Many trade publishers have used Instagram up until now to host photos of authors, publication illustrations, fan contest winners, and more, but now, these publishers have a real chance to receive not only gain notoriety on Instagram, but also click-throughs to relevant content.
How Should You Use Instagram Ads?
As a trade publisher, treat Instagram as you would any social media marketing channel. Continue to update your photos, make sure they make sense, and don't overdo things. However, your ads will need to keep up with the site's motif. Social media sites like Facebook are a catchall, but Instagram users tend to lean more toward visually-appealing content, so don't post ads of bland, mundane subjects. Because the service is already full of amazing photos, whether filtered or unfiltered, you'll need to cut through the clutter in order to get noticed and receive clicks on your links.
Consider compiling your publication's text into a work of art or advertise a contest for the best photo involving your publication's content. With a little intuition, mixed with some innovation, you'll be sure to take full advantage of Instagram's new clickable ads feature.