Why Influencer Ads Took Over Your Instragram Feedby: Dustin Hawley | Thursday July 4, 2019
Instagram recently rolled out a change that now allows advertisers to promote posts from influencers or users who work with brands to directly promote services or products. This rollout is sure to widen the reach of branded posts beyond just an influencer’s own audience. What this means for consumers is, you are already likely now seeing sponsored posts for influencers you don’t follow.
Instagram announced the change in a blog post back in June and comes at a time shortly after the platform discussed the upcoming update earlier this year at an event with businesses and influencers. Ad Age reported in March that Instagram has been testing the ads since last year. This change also comes at a time where brands are trying to grapple with the task of reaching consumers in an organic way that isn’t annoying for them.
These new branded ads appear in a users Instagram feed or in Stories and are marked a “paid partnership with” tag on the post. Instagram says branded content ads in-feed will be available for all advertisers in “the coming weeks” and for Stories in the “coming months.” According to the company, 68 percent of its regular users say they come to the platform to interact directly with “creators.”
Instagram is arguably the most relevant social media platform in the world today and has about one billion monthly active users according to a company spokeswoman, who declined to share how much influencer marketing is worth. However, influencer marketing statistics suggest that it's on the verge of being a multi-billion dollar market.
Additionally, it's not just Instagram that is going ad-crazy. Other social media platforms have become inundated with ads lately as well. Last month, Twitter acknowledged it had been running experiments with the frequency of advertisements on the platform. As a result of this experiment, users’ timelines became saturated with clunky ads and at least one confirmed malicious campaign, according to BuzzFeed News.
It's all about engagement
Engagement equals equity. Though Instagram’s revenues are still primarily generated by advertising, the company has stated it wants to create new revenue streams and has already introduced a function that allows users to buy things without ever leaving the app. As organic reach has substantially declined on the platform in recent months, brands have certainly taken notice. A quote from Old Navy vice president of brand communications Liat Weingarten in a blog post stated that the organic reach from “trusted sources who have credibility” has become “increasingly limited.” on the platform.
“Promoting content directly from an influencer’s handle inherently gives the post more authenticity than coming from a brand handle, and we’re seeing significantly higher engagement rates using this strategy,” Weingarten wrote.
Many brands are still looking for the ideal approach on how to create Instagram ads as a result of this declining organic reach. There is also the damage control of instances like Fyre Festival, which employed the services of top social media influencers to promote a dream-like music festival experience that turned out to be one of the most public scams and utter disasters in marketing history.
There is an ever-growing number of creators who make their living from posting sponsored content, but until recently, only their own followers would see their ads. This change on Instagram opens the doors for creators’ sponsored content to be consumed beyond their followings, similar to how ads have already been showing up throughout Instagram in between posts and Stories for the past few months.
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