Michael Kors was the first to launch a sponsored post on the photo sharing site, Instagram. And while the post appeared as any other photo in a feed, the debut of ads on Instagram has many brands wondering if the channel can work effectively as a paid ad platform.
By most accounts, according to an article by Jeff Beer for Fast Company, the Michael Kors ad appears to be a success. Beer cites from Nitrogram which found that the brand gained 16 times more followers than usual following the launch of the ad and it generated 370% more likes than Kors’ last five posts. As Beer notes, Michael Kors was merely the first to launch an ad on Instagram, with at least eight other brands poised to follow quickly on its heels, including General Electric, Adidas, Macy’s and PayPal. All of which are already active users of the site.
Which leads to some interesting questions for marketers and Instagram itself. How will Instagram convince advertisers that paying for ads will reach more audiences and be more effective than what they’ve already been able to do for free? Not only that, but how will users react to paid ads showing up in their feeds? Will they just glance over them like with Facebook and Twitter? Judging by the comments following the Michael Kors ad, many were opposed to any type of ad showing up in their feed.
Advertising on Instagram poses some unique challenges for brands not found on other social sharing sites. In his article Jeff Beer interviews Lauren Tetuan, group digital media director Deutsch LA, who notes that Instagram differs from other sites because it occupies a much more “personal space both in the content shared and the real estate available to share it” because the platform is designed around what individuals find visually appealing. So brands that want to attempt to attract users through sponsored ads have to comply to the standards driven by the audience and users by creating visually appealing and relevant images, that don’t push the brand too much.
It’s a model that will be interesting to watch as it develops.