A few weeks ago, people got all in a tizzy when Instagram announced that it was introducing ads soon. Not today, not tomorrow, but soon. People were up in arms that Instagram, once a hipster's paradise for creating overly saturated photos, was going to the dark side.
Well folks, it looks like soon is here. Get ready for the tizzy to go into overdrive.
Yesterday, Instagram announced that ads will start rolling out in the next week to all U.S. users who are 18 and older. Here's what the ads are gonna look like:
One really interesting element of these new ads is how they're tailored to you: They use data from both Instagram and Facebook. So, depending on who you like and follow on Instagram and what your interests are on Facebook, for example, you'll see certain ads and not see others.
That being said, Facebook isn't essential to targeting ads to you -- ads are shown to Instagram users regardless of whether they have a Facebook profile or not.
Besides checking out the ads that start appearing over the next few weeks, there's no action item for you since advertising isn't open to everyone. Right now, Instagram is only allowing pre-selected brand partners to advertise. You're already familiar with these brands on Instagram -- adidas, Ben & Jerry's, Burberry, GE, Lexus, Levi's, Macy's, Michael Kors, PayPal, and Starwood -- because they've built pretty a impressive Instagram presence organically.
That's basically it -- right now, all you really need to know is a) Instagram ads are out, and b) how they work so you can hit the ground running once ads are open to everyone.
So sit tight. Monitor how these brands fare with their ads. Take notes about what works for them and what doesn't. See how Instagram users react to companies they don't follow in their feed. That way, when Instagram opens up advertising to all brands and you decide that Instagram ads are a worthy investment for your marketing, you'll be way ahead of those brands that are just starting to understand Instagram ads.
Have you started seeing Instagram ads in your feed yet? What do you think of them?
Originally published Oct 25, 2013 11:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017