Can I Advertise on Instagram?
Unfortunately the answer to that question is… not yet. But, it’s coming. Soon! Instagram launched advertising for select partners in 2013. Since that time, the pool of partners has grown, but it has not expanded to include any and all brands — although it may seem that way if you are a frequent user.
Apparently all of the testing did pay off because it was announced that Instagram will open advertising to all businesses by the end of the year, starting with select Facebook Marketing Partners and agencies. Below are examples of a sponsored post vs. non-sponsered:
The example to the left is sponsored and the only true differentiator is the word “Sponsored” in the upper right hand corner. The post to the right is not sponsored.
Instagram continues to be the fastest growing social network and has a larger population than both Twitter and Pinterest. eMarketer reports indicated that double-digit growth is going to continue through 2017. So while it may not seem like the most immediate fit with your target audience, it is an important and powerful tool to keep an eye on.
Why Advertise on Instagram?
As with many social platforms, you can post for free. So, why should you pay? Audiences who are seeing your organic posts are those who seek out your brand and likely already have a relationship with your brand. Advertising gives brands an opportunity to introduce themselves to a larger audience and potentially grow the user base to a targeted population. It could be a tactic to increase awareness or engagement, or even download an app or drive purchase. Like any other medium or platform, it ultimately comes down to your goals and objectives for the effort.
As with any platform, the key is to know your target audience. According to eMarketer, Instagram’s current sweet spot is truly young teens, however this platform resonates with users 18-34 as well. It is certainly vital to know if your audience is present before investing time and money onto any platform. However, it is important to note there will be age targeting (among other demographic information available) to ensure you are hitting the appropriate audience with your sponsored post.
Tips when considering sponsored posts on Instagram:
- Targeting will be based on demographics and interests, much like Facebook
- These can be “hidden” by users (similar to Twitter’s ‘dismiss’ feature)
- Users will be able to take action directly from an ad to sign up on a website, buy a product or download an app
- API access will allow external software companies to facilitate, track and measure programmatic advertising
You may also like — The Next Chapter of Social Media Marketing