The ad feature in the works, called Promote, will essentially mimic Facebook’s post boost option, an Instagram spokesperson told TechCrunch. Businesses and individual creators will be able to easily promote their Instagram Stories. Instagram administrators will be able to auto-target users similar to their followers, people in a certain location, or use Instagram’s targeting parameters.
They’ll also have an option to include a link to their website, rather than their Instagram profile. While it’s now testing the feature, Instagram doesn’t yet have a timeframe for when it will be available to all users.
Ideal for Small Businesses
The new ad format could open a firehouse of advertising revenue for Instagram, marketing observers say. The Facebook-owned platform already has 2 million active advertisers, compared to Facebook’s 6 million. But many small businesses and individual creators, or influencers, lack the expertise and budgets to create ads, especially full-screen video ads for Stories.
The plans highlight Facebook’s emphasis on Stories, which collect photos and videos in a single post and vanish after 24 hours. Brands that hope to reach audiences through Instagram will need to embrace the Stories format, if they haven’t already.
The ad feature could be a savior for Facebook, which has recently suffered a drop in advertising revenue and slowing user growth. The danger is that, as Facebook seeks to monetize Instagram, businesses could quickly fill the platform with paid promotions, annoying users and causing disenchantment with the app. In other words, Instagram could become too much like Facebook, a scenario some predicted when the Instagram founders recently departed.
Enhanced Analytics for Instagram & Facebook
Facebook has also introduced improved analytics for Instagram and Facebook. Instagram Insights now show how people interact with posts and Stories. The enhanced Instagram analytics will allow marketers to:
- Discover whether people who comment on or like Instagram posts have higher retention rates.
- Compare the lifetime value of people who interact with the Instagram account to those who don’t.
- Create segments such as everyone who commented on a post, and analyze the value they bring to the business.
- Understand their Instagram audience overlaps with the people downloading apps, visiting their website, or engaging with their Facebook Page.
New Facebook Page analytics will reveal more insights into “events,” or actions people take on the Page, such as follows, unfollow, likes and unlikes.
“That means you can create new audience segments of people who engage in certain ways, track funnel conversion from social engagement to purchase, compare audience demographics by channel and activity, and more,” wrote Josh Twist in the Facebook Analytics blog.
The improved analytics are especially important for Instagram, as the platform has become more important for marketers. Instagram reports that 80 percent of its users follow a brand. Marketers will be able to better understand how their content helps reach their goals, including core business goals. Facebook, for its part, likely hopes additional data will boost advertising.
The analytics for both platforms are now in beta and will be introduced to all users over the next several months.
Bottom Line: A new Instagram advertising feature could be a boon for small businesses and individual creators. But it could also ultimately spread disillusionment among Instagram users as the platform becomes as commercialized as Facebook.
William J. Comcowich founded and served as CEO of CyberAlert LLC, the predecessor of Glean.info. He is currently serving as Interim CEO and member of the Board of Directors. Glean.info provides customized media monitoring, media measurement and analytics solutions across all types of traditional and social media.