We love links. They connect us to what we want to read, view, and purchase. It’s a hardly-noticed privilege we’ve become accustomed to–being introduced to a brand online, then simply clicking a link to learn more about said product. For years social media sites have been providing accessibility through direct links. The exception to the rule? Instagram. In 2013 brands acquired the ability to advertise on Instagram, but not link directly to an outside website. Now Instagram is stepping it up a notch.
A few weeks ago, Instagram announced it will be offering advertisers carousel-style photos and weblinks. Meaning, when users come across an ad, they will be able to swipe through multiple photos and click-through to a webpage of the brand’s choice. By clicking the “learn more” button on the carousel, an internal browser within Instagram will open so users can easily jump back to their feed.
Previously, brands mostly used Instagram ads for billboard space, meaning photos or videos would appear in user feeds as they scrolled through. The carousel feature will allow for a narrative to take place with the use of multiple photos, however this feature is still only available to paying brands.
Instagram claims they are just evolving brand ads, and this play isn’t about increasing engagement. Still, with this new feature, brands will be able to track click-through rates, likes and comments on their ad, and whether or not users swiped through multiple photos. The carousel ads will just feature photos at this time, not videos.
The company takes a hands-on approach when working with brands that advertise with them, in order to keep user happiness their top priority — Which is why CEO Kevin Systrom will still have the final approval on all ads shown on the platform. But, with that being said, advertising is part of what keeps Instagram free for those users, so finding a balance that makes both brands and users satisfied is key.
Despite this new feature, brands still won’t have the advertising freedom they’re accustomed to with Facebook and Twitter. However, with Instagram topping over 300 million users this year, the hoops are definitely worth jumping through.
Let us know what your marketing goals are — If you have a vision of advertising on Instagram, we are definitely on board to make it a possibility.