Instagram and the native ad movement

indexNative-social ads – ads that are integrated into the social stream, matching both the ad format and function of the user experience – are proving to be hugely effective, and are receiving a remarkable level of engagement from end users.

Instagram is one of several popular social networking platforms that has recently jumped on board the native train, with the recent roll out of its own native advertising product.

With more than 43% of global internet users having shared a photo in the last month, Instagram is cashing in on the fact that photos and videos are the most shared content on the web – offering brands the opportunity to have their ads seen and shared by more than 150 million users, in an engaging and content-rich environment.

What is Instagram’s new native ad format?

The ad format is exactly the same as the standard user posts. They are the same in size, and are no more or less persistent in feed – true “native”.

The ad also features a subtle icon in the top right hand corner, where a time stamp would usually appear in a normal post, which signifies that the post is sponsored.

Source - http://blog.business.instagram.com/post/64973486231/a-look-at-ads-on-instagram

Source – http://blog.business.instagram.com/post/64973486231/a-look-at-ads-on-instagram

The above image is a sample ad from the Instagram team that was shown to US users as a one-time post, giving a sense for the look and feel of the ads prior to the format being rolled out for brands.

Sounds good, where do I sign up?

As the ad format is relatively new across the photo and video sharing platform, Instagram is starting off by presenting its offering to just a handful of brands that are already strong and influential members of its community. Instagram has noted in its blog that it will be expanding its offering to more brands in the future, continuing to partner with those brands that produce content that “shines”.

Whilst we eagerly await for the native ad format to be readily available to a wider range of brands in the UK, here are some top tips to consider when looking to advertise on Instagram:

Set some goals
Its all very well getting caught up in the excitement of the native ad movement, but there’s no point in doing so if it has no benefit to your brand. It is important to establish a set of criteria for your Instagram KPIs before jumping in feet first. Are you after likes? Comments? Or simply impressions of your ad? Either way, we would recommend considering your existing post engagement metrics for a point of reference when deciding these goals.

Don’t be a one-hit-wonder
To truly take advantage of the nature of native on Instagram, you should establish yourself as a dedicated and regular user by increasing your posting frequency. This will help to increase your brand presence, grow your engaged user base and maximise the potential reach of your ads.

Do your research
If you don’t want your content to stick out like a sore thumb, for all the wrong reasons, you should take your time to identify top performing Instagram posts to help understand what type of content works well on the platform, and what type goes down like a lead balloon.

With that in mind, here are a handful of brands that have already earned their Insta-stripes, to give you some Insta-spiration…

Nike: 4.7 million followers

Source - http://instagram.com/nike

Source – http://instagram.com/nike

Victoria’s Secret: 4.6 million followers

Source - http://instagram.com/victoriassecret

Source – http://instagram.com/victoriassecret

Starbucks: 2.6 million followers

Source - http://instagram.com/starbucks

Source – http://instagram.com/starbucks

GoPro: 2.2 million followers

Source - http://instagram.com/GoPro

Source – http://instagram.com/GoPro

Chris Quigley is a marketing meme lover and founder of #KittenCamp and VAN