On October 2nd, Instagram announced in a blog post that their company would slowly start to debut advertisements onto the feeds of their users. For many in the technological community, this news was far from unexpected. When Facebook bought Instagram for 700 million in stock last year, it was clear that the company would have to find a way to become profitable. After three years of building a global audience of more than 150 million users, the time has come for Instagram to start focusing on generating some revenue.
Like Facebook and Twitter before them, Instagram has been subjected to some negative feedback among their users. The apprehension of the public towards advertisements populating their social media channels is fully understandable, but that trepidation hasn’t proven to be much of a threat to the heavyweights of the social media community. Facebook ads arrived and the company remained the first destination the public visits to catch up with old friends and share life events. Twitter received plenty of public criticism concerning the very thought of sponsored tweets, but these tweets have been integrated into user feeds and the beat goes on. Twitter remains the undisputed place to visit for instantaneous news on trending topics.
Instagram didn’t gain 150 million users without reason. The majority of their members utilize the app on a daily basis to view and share photographs with friends, family, celebrities, and even businesses. In fact, before the news of future advertisements, Instagram further cemented their stance among social media heavyweights by introducing the capability to shoot, upload and view videos. Vine and Tout have already shown that there is a large audience for quick and entertaining videos. The up to 15 second videos on Instagram will only make them more dynamic in the marketing space in the months to come.
So, if Instagram won’t lose users by rolling out advertisements, why should marketers be concerned about Instagram’s revenue stream? The answer is simple: The addition of advertisements to Instagram is a glimpse into the future of social media marketing. While every business should already being using personal accounts on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest to stay connected with their targeted audiences, sponsored posts provide yet another way to connect with more people and spread brand awareness throughout the community.
Not every social media platform is likely to provide a direct conversion. It could happen with a sponsored tweet, but it’s more likely that social media platforms will put your brand in the spotlight of your general audience, so when the time comes for that person to need an expert in your field, your business moves to the shortlist.
An online presence is imperative to future business. More people choose to do their research about a company via their mobile device each and every day. Not only will users look at your social media accounts as a means to dictate your overall quality, they will look to see just how active you are in your field.
The larger your presence, the more extensive your reach, the more new leads will be coming through the pipeline. As digital marketers, it’s up to us to put our businesses or clients in a position to fully take advantage of a dynamic industry. Instagram announced they would start their advertisements, “by delivering a small number of beautiful, high-quality photos and videos from a handful of brands that are already great members of the Instagram community,” and businesses should be building their profiles to meet or exceed the standards of these companies in the weeks to come.