Are Instagram ads the future of online advertising?
In news that echoed a trend in the technology community, Instagram announced via an October 2nd blog post that the company would slowly start to debut advertisements on the feeds of their users. The following week was filled with news headlines discussing a general sense of disappointment from the online community. After all, the photo app tech giant had gained more than 150 million users in their three years of existence, thanks in large part to providing such a strong user experience.
People in every corner of the world use Instagram daily to view and share photos with their friends, family, and favorite celebrities. They are able to choose who they follow and have the option to unfollow users who present lackluster content. That being said, the idea of businesses invading their feeds was sure to ruffle a few feathers. But, will it make a difference? Will people decide to spend their time on other apps instead?
In the brief history of advertising among the tech giants, it’s been pretty clear that advertisements integrated properly are very unlikely to cause a dip in the number of users who interact with an app on a daily basis. Twitter is the best example of this. There was a lot of speculation that rolling out sponsored tweets would anger the public to the point that people would shut their accounts down. However, this hasn’t been the case due to the fact that sponsored tweets are targeted and can easily be scrolled past by users on their phones or tablet devices.
When Instagram crafted the blog post announcing the future debut of advertisements, they were well aware that a good portion of their audience would respond with some friction. Trying to ease some of that tension, they stated, “We'll focus on delivering a small number of beautiful, high-quality photos and videos from a handful of brands that are already great members of the Instagram community.”
Could Instagram change the face of mobile advertising?
The success of this integration will go a long way towards projecting the long-term success of mobile advertisements through Instagram. However, the ability to quickly scroll past these images should negate much of the speculated blowback. It also helps that Facebook and Twitter have set precedence throughout the tech community for the need of advertising. Instagram is a business and after three years of building their brand, they needed to start generating some revenue. When Facebook purchased the company for $700 million in stock last year, the countdown to advertisements being rolled out was officially on.
Tech users should expect some hiccups when it comes to the advertisements that are placed on their feeds in the weeks and months to come. Growing pains are quite normal when advertisements are rolled out, but these pains shouldn’t stop advertisers from taking advantage of all that Instagram has to offer. In fact, having an active Instagram account is already one of the best ways to connect with one of the largest growing groups in the tech community – mobile users. The ability to connect in real time with people on the move provides an incredible opportunity to increase brand relevancy. Running unique advertisements through Instagram is just yet another way businesses can turn social media marketing into dollar signs.
About the author
Ken Wisnefski is the founder and CEO of WebiMax, a leading social media and Internet marketing company. WebiMax was named to the 2012 and 2013 Inc. 500 lists, and was also selected as one of America’s Most Promising Companies (2011) by Forbes Magazine (No. 30 overall).
Timeline: India takes unicorn leap with six in five days
We chart an historic week in India’s tech industry, where in just five days, between 5-9 April 2021, the country achieved six new unicorns, bringing India’s total to 10 in 2021 to date, an immense unicorn leap from just seven in 2020 and six in 2019.
April 5: Meesho
India’s first social commerce unicorn, Meesho raised US$300m from SoftBank, Facebook and Shunwei Capital, giving the Bangalore-based startup a US$2.1bn valuation, a threefold jump from its previous funding round in 2019. Founded in 2015 by two IIT-Delhi graduates, Meesho connects producers and resellers, helping small businesses sell through social media. It has 45m customers and has enabled 13m entrepreneurs to start their online businesses with no investment.
April 6: CRED
Founded just over two years ago, Bangalore-based credit card repayment app CRED raised US$215m from Falcon Edge Capital and Coatue, nearly trebling its valuation to US$2.2bn from its January US$80m round. Allowing customers to pay off their credit card debt while earning CRED coins which they cash in for rewards, CRED has grown rapidly during COVID-19, doubling its customer base to nearly 6 million in a year.
April 7: API Holdings / Groww
The first epharmacy startup to gain unicorn status, PharmEasy (API Holdings), which has digitised 60,000 brick and mortar pharmacies and 400 doctors across India, raised US$350m in a round led by Prosus Ventures. Founded by four former Flipkart employees as a way of making investing simple, investment platform Groww became India’s second-youngest fintech unicorn, raising US$83m in Series D funding led by Tiger Global, quadrupling its previous round in September.
April 8: ShareChat
New Delhi-grown social media startup ShareChat, founded in 2016 by Mohalla Tech raised US$502m from Lightspeed Ventures, Tiger Global, Twitter and Snap taking its raised total over six rounds to US$766m and pushing its valuation to US$2.1bn. The funding will be used to grow its user base and short video platform Moj, which launched in 2020 following TikTok’s ban in India. The regional language startup claims 280m users.
April 9: Gupshup
AI-led conversational message startup joined the unicorn club after raising US$100m from Tiger Global giving it a ten-fold valuation of US$1.4bn. The smart messaging platform, which has seen accelerated growth during the pandemic, was founded in Bangalore in 2005 by serial entrepreneur Beerud Sheth, whose online freelancing platform Elance is now listed. Gupshup’s API enables 100,000+ businesses to build messaging and conversation experiences across 30+ communication channels.