Last time we talked about Instagram, they had introduced a new analytics solution to improve the relationship between the platform and potential advertisers.
The relationship had been in a rocky state since the introduction of ads back in 2013. Although brands were able to make a visual impression to a wider selection of Instagram users, they weren’t able to provide a full sale-cycle experience for potential customers. This is because brands had no way of providing a website for users to click directly from a post.
If you remember, many brands had been trying to work around this limitation of clicking-through an Instagram post to help drive traffic.
IKEA created their own Instagram website in an attempt to bring an interactive catalog to the social network.
Other brands told users the website related to their post could be found in their profile bio.
The website section of the bio was the only place on Instagram that made a URL clickable – until yesterday.
Finally Instagram has enhanced their relationship with brands by introducing clickable ads.
In a blog post, Instagram announced the new ads will eliminate these work-arounds and allow brands to better tell their ‘story.’
In a carousel of images which people can swipe left through, the final image will allow brands to pick a website of their choice to send users to with a “Learn More” button.
Therefore, with this carousel of ad images, users can now scroll by like any other post or swipe through the images to become more engaged – just as if they were intrigued by the cover of a catalog.
While clickable ads are still in the early stages, the roll-out will be given to brands on a limited basis. Instagram mentions they will be collecting user data on the initial release to optimize and provide updates better tailored to user engagement.
For users, this swipe technology is not new news. Many websites that provide a gallery slideshow allow users to swipe through for a more enhanced mobile user experience. Including this technology in the new carousel ads makes sense for the mobile-only Instagram app.
Combined with the user preference to include more images in a single post (think about collage-making apps like Pic Stitch), the clickable carousels will be easily adapted by Instagram users; allowing the social network to collect valuable user data early in release.
This means, when these ads are available to all brands, the advertising analytics we discussed in the beginning of this article will also become more meaningful for brands’ social insights and ROI.
It is possible there will be concerns from users about spam and self-promotion if this turns out to have the trajectory of Facebook and Twitter posts, but for now brands can rejoice in having another effective means of communication with their audiences.
As this product matures, it will be interesting to see how user data will optimize it. Will there need to be more or fewer pictures in the carousel? Should video ads also include a call-to-action button? Is it better if the button is included on every image?
This introduction is extremely exciting for brand advertisers and we will be impatiently waiting to get our turn to experiment with these carousel ads.
What are your thoughts about the newest addition to Instagram advertising? Are you interested in telling your brand ‘story’ through a carousel of images? Tell us your thoughts in the comments!
About the Author: Deanna Zaucha is the Content Marketing Coordinator for Webs and Pagemodo, and also manages our social media presence. She can be found on a dance floor, or on her iPhone keeping up with trends in marketing and tech. Get more from Deanna on Pagemodo’s Blog and Twitter.