In a Tinder-esque move, Instagram has launched a new ad format where users can swipe left on a brand they like to see more sponsored images and a link to the website.
The new format is called Carousel Ads, and was introduced due to marketers feedback.
“Since we began offering a way for advertisers to reach people on Instagram in 2013, we’ve heard from marketers that they want to tell sequenced stories in beautiful, compelling ways that lead to meaningful results for their businesses,” says the social media site on its blog.
“Carousel ads give brands more flexibility in telling their stories by allowing people who view their ads to swipe left to see additional images and link to a website of the brand’s choice.”
The move from the photo-sharing company will likely have some marketers frothing.
Samuel Snowden, account director at social media agency, Thinktank Social, says: “Given that 70% of users check Instagram once a day and 35% multiple times a day, marketers will relish this new feature as it will offer them increased opportunities to secure consumer retention from the average Instagram users’ 257 minutes spent on the platform on a monthly basis.”
Instagram’s simplicity is one of its biggest strengths, believes Adam Vincenzini, founder and managing partner at social media agency, Kamber.
“The introduction of the scrolling clickable ads may appear to contradict this on first glance, but that isn’t necessarily the case,” he tells B&T.
“Instagram’s other big strength is that the user is empowered to interact in ways that suit them as evidence by the introduction of videos last year – click to listen, scroll through to ignore. The scrolling clickable ads are very similar in premise. If the user is interested, and sees value in clicking through, they have that choice. If they don’t, the skip through.
Is a big deal for users though?
“Not really,” says Vincenzini “But it does provide brands, who can afford the hefty minimum spend, with yet another way to drive traffic to places where conversions can occur.”
Instagram stresses the new format won’t be disruptive for the user, saying: “As with all photo and video ads, people who don’t want to know more can simply scroll past carousel ads in their feed.”
Thinktank Social’s Snowden also reckons it won’t annoy users.
“Instagram users are hungry for this new feature as this platform is a ‘style influencer’ for many,” he says. “The content we see in our Instagram feed inspires our travel, retail, dining and entertainment purchase consideration. The addition of this feature will only enhance the benefit of this platform to our daily lives.”
Leo Burnett’s social media director, Emma Parsons, says it may even be a welcome feature for users.
“It will be a welcome addition to some, particularly those who are using the platform for interests like fashion and beauty (and this is one of the largest user segmentations on the platform),” she says.
“I think it will be up to advertisers to first determine how they can play in this space in a way that’s aligned to the user’s behaviours and then work closely with Instagram to correctly target stories and links that will be of value – whether that be monetary, experience or convenience based.
“I’ll be interested to see which brands get it right and what it is that makes them succeed.”