“We recognize that advertisers have a variety of creative resources and want to bring more choice to help them reach their business goals,” an Instagram spokeswoman said on Wednesday.
The first brands to test the longer ad format include T-Mobile and Warner Brothers, which is promoting its new comedy, "How To Be Single." T-Mobile’s ad -- a shorter version of which is slated to run during the Super Bowl -- features a satirical behind-the-scenes look at Drake’s “Hotline Bing” video shoot.
The longer ads coincide with Facebook’s broader Super Bowl strategy. Hoping to have their presence felt during the big game, Facebook and Instagram are also inviting brands to use their “Reach & Frequency” product to create campaigns that deliver a set number of impressions, designated in advance, at a fixed price.
More broadly, Facebook has recently been far more willing to monetize Instagram. Brand Networks, for one, recently saw ad impressions on the popular platform rise more than 13-fold from 50 million in August to 670 million in December.
Agency executives say Instagram has become a favorite playing ground for clients.
“We've seen strong brand performance on Instagram, with a majority of our brand partners moving spend to the platform, some significantly,” Max Kalehoff, Chief Marketing Officer of Facebook marketing partner SocialCode, recently told Social Media & Marketing Daily.
In part, Instagram’s ad surge can be attributed to its decision to offer its application programming interface to outside parties, last August. With the change, brands and their developer teams were invited to plug their software directly into Instagram’s API.
By 2017, Instagram’s ad revenues will grow more than four times in size to reach $2.39 billion, according to recent estimates from eMarketer. By then, the mobile-first social network should represent nearly a third -- or 28% -- of Facebook’s total mobile ad revenues.