Instagram has been getting more popular every year, having reached over 400 million users by 2016. So it’s no surprise that more brands have flocked to Instagram not just to share photos on their own business account, but also to use the paid advertising options. This means Instagram is constantly updating their advertising and social media marketing offerings for businesses. Here’s what you need to know about Instagram’s latest changes if you’re thinking about advertising or even just engaging with your audience on this majorly popular app.
Instagram Stories appeared in August, allowing users to string together multiple videos or images rather than showing just one at a time. This feature should remind you of Snapchat, and it’s been well liked over the last few months, garnering over 150 million daily active users.
And now it’s only gotten better, because you can add a live video to any Instagram Stories you want to share. Considering how fast the concept of live video has grown – and its expected importance in social media marketing during 2017 – this is a nice update for Instagram.
The social network makes it easy for you to create and share a live video, since you can swipe right to access the camera and then press “Start Live Video” to share your stream for as long as one hour. And once the live video is over, it will disappear! Apparently, this is meant to relieve the pressure of looking perfect on Instagram.
You can send notifications to your audience that your live video is about to start, at which point they can tune in until it’s over. So if you want to share inside information with your most loyal followers and prefer the video to be talked about rather than shared once it’s over, live video on Instagram Stories probably sounds good to you. If you prefer to keep your live videos online after they air, Facebook Live might sound better to you.
If you use Instagram Direct to engage with your audience, it’s helpful to know that you can now send pictures and videos that will disappear seconds after they are viewed. This is another feature that will remind you of Snapchat, and like the disappearing live video in Instagram Stories, it’s meant to take some pressure off as you use the app.
Some brands use Instagram Direct to send their followers personalized messages, reward top followers with coupon codes, and send exclusive updates and sneak peeks of products. Regardless of how you use it, now you can change it up with fun images and videos that you know will disappear soon after they are viewed. Plus, you can see who replayed or took a screenshot of the content you sent, allowing you to get an idea of what’s successful among your audience and who your biggest fans are.
If you currently use Instagram to engage with your audience and are thinking about paying for ads, you’ll be glad to know that Instagram Stories now incorporates advertising. More specifically, brands can now pay to put ads between Instagram Stories…which is yet another Snapchat-like feature, in case you were wondering.
The ads will be full-screen and can be in either photo or video format, though it’s likely most brands will choose the latter due to video’s immense popularity that will be further increasing in 2017. In addition, viewers can comment on, like, or share the ads, just as they can with Instagram Stories. This creates an experience that feels organic to viewers, which can definitely benefit your brand.
Businesses can choose to create new images and videos for their ads, or use any from their current Instagram stream. They will also have access to comprehensive analytics, such as how many times each ad is seen and commented on.
Currently, numerous big brands are trying out full-screen, skippable ads through Instagram Stories. Some of the brands include Netflix, Capital One, Adidas, and Airbnb. Once this feature is available to everyone, you can start buying ads via ad auctions, much like how you buy regular ads on Instagram and Facebook right now.
Do you plan to advertise on Instagram Stories? Let us know what you think of this new ad option, as well as Instagram’s other updates.