Companies utilizing Instagram to engage their community is nothing new. When Instagram announced that they would be rolling out sponsored ads there was a worldwide groan; yet another social media outlet would begin to require user to sludge through ads to connect with each other. In a recent blog post, Instagram gave the world a look at what their ads will look like. The sample ad resembles a typical Instagram image or video shared on the social network, except that it will include a sponsored label in the top right corner. What does help users feel better about the transition is that Instagram will offer users the option to hide each ad from their stream. Although many users likely follow a brand, or two, many wonder how the world will respond to ads that will take up an entire iPhone screen.
The biggest downsides I see of introducing these sponsored ads is the amount of space they will use on a feed and the process by which users require to block these ads. Instagram users love the ease of scrolling and the ease of interacting with an image with a simple double tap to ‘like.’ However, as previously stated these ads will take up an entire screen and require a user to click through in order to block the ad. Although I don’t think the ads will stop users from using Instagram, I do believe it will alter how we utilize the app. Users could potentially hit scrolling fatigue and stop trying to scroll through adds to interact with the accounts they prefer. So the questions becomes, what will happen if we users stop scrolling? Will they begin to simply worry about uploading their own pictures? Will user images be seen and interacted with? Will the ads be seen making them worth the investment of companies?
Like most new developments there are both positive and negatives and the roll out of Instagram ads is not different. Firstly, Instagram formalizing ads on the app will legitimize what many companies have already been doing; utilizing Instagram to present images that engage customers and tell their brand’s story. By allowing brands to sponsor their ads not only does Instagram look to make a profit off of brands using their platform but they also allow companies to ensure that the time they put into their social media marketing will be seen by a large audience. Finally I think the evolution of sponsored ads will also push companies and individuals to increase the value of their content. Through quality content that tells strong stories and resonates with Instagram users companies may able to decrease the chances of users blocking their ads.
Companies will be keeping an eye on the successes or failures of those companies that are quick to adopt this new marketing tool. Instagram will likely be prepared to make any adjustments necessary to appease both the companies paying money and their loyal users. While the companies prepare for these ads only time will tell the true impact of Instagram’s new ads of how users interact with the app and each other.