It looks like Instagram will be the next social media platform to take the advertising plunge. Instagram, the ever-growing popular photo-sharing social media platform, that is owned by Facebook, made its customers aware a few weeks ago that ads were slowly going to start making their way into users’ photo streams. If you are a user of Instagram, you may have noticed the first “sponsored” post float through your photo stream just over this last weekend. It was photo ad from Instagram, explaining the new advertising strategy and how in the coming weeks users would start seeing ads from a handful of select brands. These brands were identified as “already great members of the Instagram community” as Instagram wants to ensure its ads are creative and engaging. AKA, trying not to upset and of Instagram’s 150 million+ users who most likely are going to enjoy seeing ads creep into their photo streams.
I believe one of the great attractions to Instagram is the fact that it is advertisement free. While Instagram is offering users the opportunity to provide feedback when it comes to what ads they like or dislike,I still think flipping ads into a user’s photo stream is taking away a bit of the attraction that makes Instagram so popular.
Instagram is about capturing and sharing moments. It one of the most basic forms of social media out there today, but it is very impactful. Users are able to share a glimpse into their world through photos and videos, allowing friends, family and the masses to see the world their their eyes. It’s very personal on a lot of levels. I almost feel as though advertising through Instagram is going to invade this privacy.
Think about it: how many advertising messages are we served each day in some way, shape or form? When do we as marketers draw the line between using social media as a form of brand engagement and tool to build relationships with our target audience members versus advertising to drive direct response. Most brands today have Instagram accounts because users like to see and like inspiring,
fun, buzz-worthy photos, and this a great way to engage with fans through their own accounts. Why bring advertising into the mix? Yes, it will possibly increase a brand’s range and fan base, bring new eyes to the brand, but at what cost?