Instagram Adds Campaign-Tracking Tools

Since introducing advertising in November 2013, Instagram has slowly rolled out ads across the photo-sharing site for brands such as Levi’s, Mercedes-Benz and Ben & Jerry’s. More recently, it made a splash with by announcing a $40 million ad deal with Omnicom.

Further building out its ad offering, Instagram on Thursday rolled out new set of analytics that will allow advertisers to better see how their paid and organic marketing efforts are working on the site. The tools fall into three main areas:

Account insights allow businesses to see how they are increasing brand awareness on Instagram through impressions, reach and engagement.

Ad insights shows the performance of paid campaigns with brand analytics (impressions, reach, and frequency) for each individual ad delivered to the target audience.

Ad staging allows advertisers and their creative teams to preview, save, and collaborate on ad creative for upcoming campaigns.

The enhanced analytics in particular will help marketers to track engagement with posts. “For example, an advertiser will now have access to a real-time campaign summary and data showing how their target audience is responding to each of their sponsored photos. Also, brand marketers will be able to better understand the best time of day to post a photo or video,” stated an Instagram blog post today.

Facebook-owned Instagram said it has worked closely with several of its advertisers in developing the new tools and is now extending them to all current Instagram advertisers for further feedback before releasing the analytics to other brands later this year. 

“It’s a welcome first step as [Instagram] establishes itself as a mature social platform,” said Vignesh Clingam, director, strategic planning at Rapp, noting that Instagram will provide the types of metrics Facebook and other social sites already provide. That, in turn, should encourage more brands to try advertising on Instagram.

But he also suggested the company should focus on “measuring metrics that will highlight the uniqueness of its social experience, like brand affinity and deeper emotional engagement. Instagram does not want to become a polaroid wall of coupons anytime soon,” he said. “It will try to attract brands that can create deeper customer connections.” 

Lindsay Williams, VP, media and analytics, at Rokkan, agreed the move would help boost advertiser interest, especially if combined with case studies and benchmarks for different ad categories. In contrast to Facebook’s more extensive analytics tools, she said, “the Instagram dashboard still seems to be less about robust advertising insights and more about richer publishing insights.”

An Instagram spokesperson said the company to date has “dozens” of advertisers but declined to say how many campaigns have been run on Instagram so far. During Facebook’s latest earnings call, COO Sheryl Sandberg said the company was seeing positive early demand for advertising on Instagram, but noted it’s still rolling out ads carefully to keep from alienating the photo-based social network’s 200 million users. 

This spring, brands including Taco Bell and Michael Kors reported promising results from test campaigns on Instagram, including increases in brand recall (among those exposed to ads) and higher engagement rates for organic content promoted in ads.

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