Don’t be surprised to see video ads in your Instagram feed starting today
By Caitlin McGarry
Instagram has been slooooowly phasing advertising into your main feed. First there were sponsored photos from brands like Michael Kors—artfully edited and filtered, of course. Now the photo-sharing app is introducing 15-second video ads, starting with a promo for Disney’s new animated film, “Big Hero 6.”
Other brands you might see in your stream are Lancome, Banana Republic, the CW, and Activision, according to Adweek. Activision is pushing Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare in a 15-second clip, with a longer version of the promo hitting Facebook on Thursday. Lancome has a new perfume and mascara it plans to advertise on Instagram. Banana Republic’s ad is a time-lapse holiday preview.
And though Adweek notes that Instagram execs screen every video to make sure it fits with the platform’s aesthetic, the ads featured in the article don’t look anything like the kind of video you would normally see on Instagram. The Call of Duty ad looks like a typical TV commercial; same goes for Disney’s “Big Hero 6” spot. Banana Republic’s time-lapsed sketches would be right at home on Vine, though they wouldn’t look out of place on Instagram, either. The clothing company’s photo ads already show up in my feed, so I wouldn’t bat an eye if this video appeared in my stream.
Instagram doesn’t have the wealth of information that Facebook has on you, so its ads aren’t as hyper-targeted. Advertisers can market to you based on your age, gender, and where you live.
Why this matters: Instagram ads are high priority for Facebook as the app’s parent company focuses on building businesses out of its stand-alone services. Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg said in Facebook’s third-quarter earnings call this week that Facebook “believes in going slow” with advertising on Instagram. “We want the consumer experience to come first,” she said. If Instagram fans are turned off by the ads in their feeds, they’ll leave. That’s the last thing Facebook wants.