Instagram unveils in-stream ads

Instagram has unveiled its in-stream ad units and is already engaging with a number of brands about how they can employ them on the photo-sharing site, as its parent company Facebook attempts to find additional ways to monetise its mobile audience.  


The Instagram ad units are currently being tested in the US and are set to go live in the coming week, where they will be marked with a ‘Sponsored’ label as they appear in a user’s feed (see above image). 

The Facebook-owned photo-sharing site did not explicitly state which brands it is trialling the new ad units with but a further post on its blog showcases a sponsored post displaying the logo of clothing brand Levi Strauss (see image below, right). 


Instagram users will also be able to tap the ellipsis button below sponsored posts to indicate they are not interested in the ad, and even provide further feedback about what they don’t like about it, according to a blog post demonstrating the new units.    

It goes on to read: “Our focus with every product we build is to make Instagram a place where people come to connect and be inspired. Building Instagram as a business will help us better serve the global – and ever growing – Instagram community, while maintaining the simplicity you know and love.”

The photo-sharing site stirred controversy late last year when it initially announced plans to introduce ad units in a statement worded in such a way that many thought it would effectively let Instagram monestise users’ content without gaining their explicit consent.

This sparked a huge user backlash and a statement from Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom claimed the wording had led to “confusion” over its actual intentions. 

“Our intention in updating the terms was to communicate that we’d like to experiment with innovative advertising that feels appropriate on Instagram. 

“Instead it was interpreted by many that we were going to sell your photos… This is not true and it is our mistake that this language is confusing,” reads his statement. 

Meanwhile, earlier this week Facebook announced it was looking to further monetise its mobile audience with new video ad units available on its mobile app platform, and also introducing a new cost per acquisition (CPA) pricing model for mobile ad inventory. 

On Monday (21 October) Facebook announced the video ad units that brands can serve to Facebook mobile app users within their News Feed. Initially, the ad units will encourage users to install the advertiser’s app on their phone. 

Meanwhile, Facebook has also announced it is introducing the CPA pricing model which charges advertisers for the placement only after their apps have been downloaded, a service it claims is 20 per cent cheaper than charging advertisers on a cost-per-click (CPC) basis.  

A blog post featuring the update reads: “Previously, we offered advertisers the option of bidding on cost per click (CPC) or optimised cost per impression (oCPM). Developers can now set a cost per action (CPA) bid to better manage their budgets while maximising installs. 

“Through CPA bidding, developers are only charged when a user downloads and installs their app, offering greater control over spend on mobile app ads.” 

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