How can Instagram implement adverts without alienating it’s users?

Oct. 15, 2013 | by Nicolas Escobedo

Instagram has announced that they will be starting to roll out the launch of advertising across the channel, initially starting in the United States.

Their post claims that their aim is to make the adverts, ‘feel as natural to Instagram as the photos and videos many of you already enjoy from your favourite brands’, but what does this mean? Will they be the same style of filtered photos or 15 second videos, or will the quality of the content be compromised to deliver the marketing message?

We’ll know more in the coming months as Instagram starts to implement the new updates but a few things come to mind which would ensure the integrity of the channel whilst advertising messaging is incorporated.

1. Currently you cannot include links in images and videos. Instagram could enrich the experience by allowing users to click on images to access further content in situ, or on other sites. Squeezing in the advertising functionality here could be a good option because providing the user with the option to click or not makes the experience less intrusive. Making it too easy to click when you meant to scroll down the feed would be a quick way to alienate users so the design & usability of this would be key.

2. Enabling links in photo or video comments is again something that is not yet available but would be valuable across the app.

3. Targeting users based on keywords they use in their own captions so they are served ads relevant to them, similar to Twitter, would be a more subtle way to ensure that ‘natural feel’.

4. We are likely to see the arrival of “sponsored profiles”: Highlighting influential Instagram users to promote specific brand messaging. If this is done in a targeted way so users see more content that they’re interested in it will seem less like spam and may even improve the browsing experience.

Things to consider for brands

Think mobile. Instagram is predominantly a mobile channel and your advertising strategies and ads have to consider this. To ensure that you are providing great experiences across the campaign make sure that it is designed for, and friendly to, mobile devices with relevant content.

On the other hand, you have video ads. They will be an important complement to the advertising strategies of content across Youtube or Vimeo. There is a huge amount of creative possibilities such as campaigns teasers , trailers or video snippets to drive interest through to related content.

It’s an exciting opportunity, if implemented in the right way by Instagram.

This post originally appeared on the iCrossing LatAm blog.

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