Earlier this month, Instagram celebrated its 150 million user milestone and announced that ads would be coming soon. Today, the platform has shed some additional light on the look and feel of the sponsored content and revealed which brands are currently signed on.
Instagram is (wisely) taking extra care to communicate this update to its passionate community, which has grown accustomed to an uninterrupted experience that has so-far lacked advertising of any kind. Though brands have been creating content on the platform for quite some time, the difference is that soon, branded content will appear in-stream whether a user has followed that brand or not.
Here’s an example of what that might look like, using Ben & Jerry’s as an example:
US users can expect to see a sample ad (like the one above) as early as next week, which is intended to introduce users to the general “look and feel” of future sponsored content on the platform. Instagram ads will be clearly marked by a ‘Sponsored’ label where the time-stamp normally appears (top right corner of the post). Users can hide ads by tapping the “…” below the post.
Instagram has partnered with eight brands at launch, including 360i client Ben & Jerry’s, which has seen great success on the platform following its popular Capture Euphoria campaign from Nov. 2012 and, more recently, the City-Churned campaign from this summer. Instagram says that it hand-picked its launch partners based on their prior success on the platform when it comes to connecting and inspiring their communities.
Additional launch partners include Adidas, Burberry, GE and Michael Kors.
Instagram ads represent a new kind of brand advertising opportunity on mobile, with a focus on highly creative, premium content. As is the case with other forms of paid social media, marketers looking to leverage this opportunity in the future (it’s currently limited to a handful of brands) will want to ensure their content adds value and follows the best practices of the platform.