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Advertising on Instagram: 3 things you should know

Well boys and girls, it’s finally happened.

After a global announcement during social media week last month, Instagram is finally pulling back the curtain on what its advertising proposition will look like.

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Here are the three things you need to know.

1. The US is getting them first
Next week, Instagram users in the US will start seeing Instagram’s ‘sample’ ad. This is purely to give a sense of what the look and feel of an ad will be.

2. Like Twitter, users can dismiss them
According to the update from Instagram, it’s a simple two-click process to hide and/or feedback on any ads that you don’t like or approve of (echoing Twitter’s ‘dismiss’ feature on Promoted Tweets).

3. All ads will [and must] be clearly marked
Back in the Spring, I argued that ads were already on Instagram and users were already being subjected to branded endorsements from, amongst others, their favourite celebrities. These branded messages were not marked as such and as a result, were potentially in breach of advertising regulations.

With these new Instagram ads however, this is not the case. In line with the FTC rulings on paid for social media, each ad will clearly be marked ‘SPONSORED’ to be sure that consumers understand that what they’re viewing is an ad. It’s a minor point, but one that will keep out of the watchful eyes of the Federal Trade Commission.

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This is the first step down the road of monetisation for Facebook’s image-filter baby cousin and it’s good to see Instagram be so open about its intentions, something that it’s come under fire for before.

For users, Instagram has made its case clear: ads are coming, this is what they look like and hey, if you don’t like them, just dismiss them.

For advertisers, Instagram has thrown down the proverbial gauntlet. Only a select brands have been chosen to participate in this early roll out. However, one hopes that when the flood gates open, innovation and platform defining creative will shine through.

File this one under ‘one to watch (and be ready for)’.