- Instagram has announced it will be opening up its advertising to all businesses -- not just the hand selected brands it works directly with now.
- The photo-sharing app is also adding new targeting options for marketers, from zip code to other data like interests, similar to how ad targeting works on parent network Facebook.
- Analysts have already voiced concern that in opening up the platform to all advertisers, Instagram risks losing control of the quality of the ads. Debra Aho Williamson, principal analyst at eMarketer, told Reuters, "People are used to seeing beautiful brand imagery in their feeds. Now they will see some direct response ads and we all know the baggage that comes with that."
Since Instagram introduced advertising a year and a half ago, it has been slowly rolling out new features like carousel ads and clickable links. The platform has always kept a tight grip on which brands could advertise and the content they were delivering. Brands that have been granted the opportunity to run ads on Instagram have experienced impressive results. Taco Bell for example saw a 400% higher engagement with ads on Instagram over organic posts -- shortly after ads were introduced.
Currently, Instagram is working with a handful of brands including Levi's, Banana Republic, and Ben & Jerry's on fine-tuning, and the only targeting options available are gender, age and country.
Instagram has more than 200 million daily active users worldwide, and the move to expand its ad platform is only the first stage in its ad strategy. James Quarles, global head of business and brand development at Instagram, told Reuters that making ads relevant is a priority.
"The quality of the ad experience remains a very important point of differentiation for us," Quarles said in the same Reuters interview.