Not only has Instagram uncovered our love of square photo aesthetics, but the mobile-only photo sharing platform owned by Facebook is redefining how many brands create content and market themselves, as revealed at Instagram’s #BrandBeyondWords event in Sydney.
A recent study by Instagram titled Coming of Age on Screens found that the 13-24 year-old audience is especially engaged on Instagram. “They are checking the app on average five times per day. 42% of those surveyed said they’re regularly engaging with brands [on Instagram],” said Sophie Blanchford, brand development at Instagram. She says this demographic in particular is a tough market for brands to reach and engage.
“Brands are such an important part of the Instagram community. Long before we started testing ads, brands were some of the early adopters of the platform when we rolled out for years ago,” explained Blanchford.
One of the core values of the photo-sharing platform is ‘inspiring creativity’ and that’s the opportunity Instagram sees for brands. “They can take their message and have it be shown in a space where users spend so much time crafting and curating their own experience,” said Blanchford.
“Ads that have run are very much like a regular organic post with the exception of the ‘sponsored’ label on the top right hand side. It’s the same visual, high quality experience that I would expect as a community member from any of the accounts on my Instagram feed. The creative bar is set really high because that’s what the community demands.”
Instagram Australia ran its inaugural ad campaign in the first week of October 2014 with ice cream brand Ben & Jerry’s. “We have 10 ad partners that are running ad campaigns at the moment, with a few more to launch in December which will really round out our launch for Australia.”
Blachford says the the ealry results are promising. “Instrgam is a really vital asset for marketers in Australia, the same we’ve seen in the US and the UK before us. Measurement is a strong component of all the campaigns that we’ve run to date. Every campaign we’ve run, we’ve partnered with Neilsen to run brand effect studies.”
She explains metrics like followers, likes and comments are all “nice to have” – but argues the real measurment of success is the shift and impact a campign is having. “It’s ad recall, message association, product awareness, consideration for purchase intent, the kind of stuff that really matters to brands.”
Tourism Australia recently wrapped its Instagram campaign which aimed to highlight lesser-known, yet equally beautiful Queensland destinations to tourists. “It really made a splash with Aussie travellers. The brand reached over 770,000 people in their target audience aged 25-54 in Australia,” said Blachford, who saw a 25 point lift in recall for Tourism Australia. “They will soon roll the campaign out in other Instagram markets overseas.”
According to the IAB Nielsen Mobile Panel Pilot study on Australian smartphone users 18 and over, Australians are spending one out of every three minutes on Facebook or Instagram, and with this, Ben & Jerry’s saw real value in launching its new ice cream flavour; Chubby Hubby on the photo sharing platform.
“At Ben and Jerry’s we’re more than just chunks and swirls, We’ve got really strong brand recognition. We’re a colourful brand, we have wonderful assets that are recognised around the world,” said Kalli Swaik, Ben & Jerry’s Australian brand manager.
“Our rolling hills and fluffy clouds translates into this visual so it makes sense for Ben & Jerry’s and Instagram to become best friends.”
Swaik explains why it’s a no brainer for Ben & Jerry’s to launch a campaign on Instagram. “Our fans out there love taking photos of their icecream experience… it’s that whole food-photo trend.” The challenge for the ice cream brand is that they’re still quite new at five years-old in Australia. So by partnering with Instagram, they hope to increase brand awareness. If a recent Ben & Jerry’s campaign on Instagram in the States is anything to go by, they’ll do well. “In the US, they had a similar objective, to launch a new flavour,” said Blachford. “The brand saw a 33 point lift in ad recall and 17% lift in people becoming aware of the flavour and its association with the Ben & Jerry’s brand.”