Instagram is about to get a lot more aggressive with surfacing ads on users' feeds. Now, the platform allows advertisers to promote branded content from influencers and have them appear as ads not just in the feed but also in Stories.
Which is all to say Instagram users will start seeing influencers' paid partnerships with certain brands on their feed — whether or not they're following them.
Instagram Will Show You Promoted Content From Influencers You Don't Follow
There's been a boom in influencer culture in several years past. It's hard to believe that there was a time where this job didn't exist on Instagram, or anywhere else for that matter. But now, they're one of the most significant and pervasive aspects not just on Instagram but on many platforms as well.
The chief way influencers and content creators make bank is by posting sponsored content, but right now, only their followers can see those. Instagram's announcement makes it so that creators' content will bleed over beyond their followers. In other words, that content will show up on people's feeds as any typical ad does.
"With branded content ads, businesses have an opportunity to tell their brand stories through creators' voices, reach new audiences, and measure impact," Instagram said in a blog post. Businesses can use tools already available on the Facebook ads platform to reach their targeted audiences, letting them not only run ads, but measure their effectiveness and adjust their campaigns accordingly.
Instagram makes clear that these kinds of posts will be marked as promoted content.
"When these ads appear in feed and stories, people will see 'Paid partnership with' along with the brand name on each post — which is very important for ads transparency."
The feature will be rolling out to feeds in the next few weeks, and into Instagram Stories in the next few months.
The Plight Of Instagram Ads
Facebook bought Instagram in 2012 for $1 billion. The following year, Instagram said it would begin displaying photo and videos ads, saying at the time that it planned to "start slow" and deliver only a small number of "beautiful, high-quality photos and videos from a handful of brands." Today tells a much different story, of course, with ads now rampant in the platform, high-quality or not.
To an extent, this makes sense. Ads are really the only way to monetize the service while making it available for free. But it's hard to imagine this change will sit well with Instagram users who are already frustrated with the platform's day-to-day servings of promotional content.