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Why Instagram is Mercedes-Benz?s go-to platform for car launches

NEW YORK ? A Mercedes-Benz executive at the Mobile Marketing Association?s SM2 Innovation Summit said that the brand?s wholehearted commitment to advertising on Instagram has developed into a broader community driven by emotional imagery.

The executive?s ?How Mercedes-Benz used community inspired Instagram ads to fuel their GLA launch? session with an Instagram executive looked at highlights of content on the brand?s Instagram account that aided in the promotion of Mercedes-Benz?s new GLA model. The campaign promotion concentrated on creative snapshots of consumers? trunk mats and utilized hashtags to prolong engagement.

?This idea wasn?t easy to pitch,? said Eric Jillard, general manager of marketing services at Mercedes-Benz USA. ?The images aren?t direct photos of the cars.

?It?s not the most obvious way to tell stories about the cars, but it?s a non-intuitive way to tell the story, through unexpected images,? he said. ?Instagram has become the place where we launch our cars.?

Worth a thousand words?
Through the combination of Mercedes? most dedicated fans and photographic talent, the brand was able to filter through user submissions to showcase the best visual interpretations of Mercedes? car owners. 

The effort became a native sort of advertising that fit seamlessly in between other Instagram content. By listening to its users, Mercedes was able to easily create a visual storytelling for its fans. 

The idea of incorporating trunk mats sprung from the contents of a hypothetical weekend trip, Mr. Jillard said, and Mercedes asked its followers what types of things its users take with them.

Tapping into native behavior, Mercedes has seen an increase of 54 percent in site visits from its branding using Instagram ads. 

While Mercedes believes there is no better platform of its kind than Instagram, it also put great thought into the couple of hashtags associated with the campaign, which were #ThingsOrganizedNeatly and #GLAPacked.

Mercedes? team was thoughtful about the hashtags in order to create a lasting impression that would live on.

?Brands using Instagram to showcase the emotional elements of their companies are able to incorporate high-quality user generated content to provoke further conversation.?

Last-minute hospitality booking application HotelTonight is another brand that recently ran ads on Instagram as it launched its first national campaign in August juxtaposing mundane everyday situations with the potential of where one can go when booking spontaneously.

Ads on Instagram are designed to support brands focused on reaching large audiences with memorable, high-quality content. This aligns with the way consumers and brands are already using the platform: to share photo and video content that capture a moment, inspire others, or shift perceptions. But instead of showcasing its offerings through vivid imagery, HotelTonight highlights people doing ordinary things instead of depicting them in a dream destination setting (see story). 

Instagram?s recent launch of a new suite of tools for advertisers is beginning to help them better track metrics such as impressions and engagement. 

The new services aim to help the image-sharing site monetize its highly engaged user base at a time when the sharing of images is being facilitated by the ubiquity of smartphones and tablets. The launch comes as parent company Facebook has also been investing in monetizing its mobile user base with features such as its Audience Network to improve targeting (see story).

The tools provided by Instagram allow brands to tap into creativity, which in turn drives engagement.

?We are very much a visual brand,? Mr. Jillard said. ?Instagram is perfect for us; it?s a natural place for us to be by letting images of our products tell the story.?

Final Take?
Caitlyn Bohannon is an editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York