What is it?
When Instagram first launched ads in October 2013, it gave brands an opportunity to get their images in front of more people, but did not offer an option to drive users to a website outside of the Instagram app. For its next step in online advertising, Instagram is launching carousel ads which offer an external link and a multi-image set to help brands share their story.
Carousel ads do more than just click to a website, they allow brands to tell stories by offering four photos in a single sponsored post. Swiping left on an ad reveals a series of images, with the final photo including an external link.
Instagram believes the new ad layout will bring the feel of a multi-page print campaign to smart phones with the added benefit of measurement. Advertisers will know not only if fans saw, liked or commented on their ad, but also if fans swiped through the carousel photos and clicked to their site. This new behavioral metric will allow brands to further understand how users are interacting and responding to their content.
The new format is offered on a limited basis, continuing Instagram’s history of tight control on their network’s advertising. Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom will give fi nal approval on all ads to ensure this new rollout does not disrupt or overtake the user experience. The new carousel format offers brands more compelling advertising on Instagram.
The new carousel format offers brands more compelling advertising on Instagram. Currently there is only one option to link outside of Instagram, a singular link in the bio section of a brand’s account, which is only accessible outside the main Instagram stream. By adding an in-stream external link, carousel ads are a powerful new tool.
Multiple images within the carousel will allow brands to become better storytellers. For example, a food brand could feature a new product in the first image, a breakfast recipe with the product in the second and someone enjoying the product in the third with a link out to product details and where to buy.
While Instagram users may still have negative reactions to advertising within the app, Instagram had to find a way to make advertising more exciting for both marketers and app users. With Instagram’s CEO giving final approval on all ads to ensure this new rollout does not disrupt or overtake the user experience, we do not expect a wide rollout of the new advertising anytime soon. While the new ads will certainly provide a better brand experience, the reigns will be held tightly to keep the user experience one that does not feel overrun by brands.