Facebook Inc. finally plans to include ads on Instagram’s Explore page.
Set to rollout over the next few months, Facebook is positioning the change as an opportunity for brands “to be part of what’s culturally relevant and trending while reaching new audiences who are looking to discover something new.”
The ads are fairly straightforward. After tapping on a photo or video in their Explore feed, users will then be served ads.
As with its other ad offering, Facebook is promising that Instagram will have some control over the types of ads that appear in their Explore feeds.
To encourage adoption, Facebook plans to make it as easy as possible for marketers to extend their campaigns using automatic placements with an opt-in to reach audiences in Explore.
Having evolved into one of Instagram’s more successful features, more than 50% of users check out their Explore feed every month.
Of course, adding advertising to an environment where consumers are not accustomed to seeing ads is always a risky endeavor.
“The biggest hurdle for any platform trying to introduce ads in a previously noncommercial space is minimizing interruption to the user experience while satisfying advertisers that their content will be seen,” said Dan Goldstein, owner-president of Page 1 Solutions, a digital-marketing agency.
Yet, Goldstein doesn’t think users’ current experiences will be dramatically impacted by the change. “Instagram is at least easing users into the transition,” he said.
In order to make the most of Instagram’s new initiative, “brands will need to strongly examine their video strategy as it pertains to their advertising efforts,” says Carly Carson, director of social at PMG.“Video has proven time and again to be more compelling for users and lucrative for advertisers,” Carson says. “Given the Explore feed’s prioritization of video, it will be important for brands to find ways to make their video assets stand out in a sea of photos and videos.”