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Instagram is already a massively influential social media site, and now it has announced plans to open up its platform to all advertisers this autumn. This photograph-based social media platform has become particularly popular with young people, and there is no doubt that advertisers will want to take advantage of its massive potential audience.

Instagram Ups the Ad Ante

With this plan in mind, Instagram is already rolling out numerous new advertisement products, including direct-response ads, the ability to buy ads via an application programming interface, and enhanced targeting. The company has stated that it has spent the last 18 months developing the Instagram platform in order to ensure it is ready for large brands. Instagram intends to empower businesses of all sizes and enable them to target customers in intelligent ways.

Instagram currently offers video, photo and carousel ad formats, but the social media site has also announced that it will be enabling people to take action directly from an advert. This will enable Instagram users to buy a product or download an app directly from the site itself. From an Instagram perspective, this enables them to complete the customer journey from beginning to end; a massive boost for the company.

Considering the high quality of this social media platform, Instagram has announced that it will have clear guidelines and policies in place for commercial content. This site has also pledged to offer an algorithmic approach to ensuring a high-quality experience for businesses and users alike. There is also a clear intention to ensure that there is a close relationship between Instagram and the market-leading Facebook.

Instagram will also allow broad targeting of demographics based on gender, age and geography. The social media platform has also announced a new product by the name of Custom Audiences, which will enable advertisers to bring their own information to the table in order to commingle it with existing Facebook platforms.

Instagram Community

Although there are now very strong ties between Facebook and Instagram, there are also clear differences between the two communities. Instagram has a very distinct community feel, that is centred around its existence as a visual medium. In addition, it is notable that Instagram offers a particularly distinctive creative context. The tools that Instagram made available to the community have resulted in some extremely interesting and aesthetically pleasing content.

Instagram’s new ad model is all about customising commercial content. This is very much a social media platform that is based on individuality, and consequently the company has attempted to strongly emphasise this aspect of the Instagram experience in all aspects of the site. But the cross-pollination of brand affinity across Facebook and Instagram that is now offered truly provides an outstanding and extremely attractive platform for advertisers.

Instagram reports 300 million active users monthly, and these users generate as many as 70 million photos daily. It is thus emphatically clear that Instagram provides a hugely popular and powerful platform for advertisers. But some questions about the site still need to be answered.

Although following and liking Instagram content may help to propel brands to the forefront of fashionable conversation, it is also important for ideas about narrative and a compelling foundation to be communicated as well. The importance of concept as well as content is incredibly important to any new marketing platform, and this certainly applies to Instagram as well.

But although some marketers have questioned the value of Instagram, the new integrated advertising provided by the social media platform can potentially have a massive influence on increasing conversion rates. Central to this process is the fact that Instagram now offers a new quantitated measure for social media engagement, with sales being actively measured.

Collaborating with Instagram Influencers

This is a welcome addition, but it also ensures that brands need to make more effort to collaborate with high-powered social media users. Integrated advertising, if anything, further emphasises the importance of influencers on social media, ensuring that the pioneers of this platform are central to social media marketing today.

Consumers have no desire to sit through vast numbers of photographs every day, and thus social media influencers potentially offer a curated selection that suits particular tastes. Social media influencers on Instagram can play a key role in marketing, providing almost a sales agent function for companies and brands.

As influencers specialise in particular nieces, so fans can achieve a more refined and controlled advertising solution through them. The scope of aspirational categories that Instagram influencers fall into is entirely consumer-driven, and this means that clear demographics can be identified relatively easily. This also creates a captive market of consumers searching for products to enable them to imitate the lifestyle of a particular influencer.

This process can then be supplemented by the new advertising business on Instagram, with the simple association between a brand and influencer translating what could be an unfamiliar product into an immediately aspirational one. With Instagram's integrated external links enabling customers to seal a deal and ultimately complete a sale, this can become an extremely convenient and viable platform for businesses from a wide variety of industrial areas.

In the future, Instagram will play an increasingly important role in promoting brands. The platform has the ability to deliver a significant rise in both influencers and tech-driven advertising solutions. Increasingly, Instagram will be rolling out sponsored content to a wide variety of advertisers, and this will lead to tighter niches and demographics in the market developing around these critical Instagram influencers.

While Instagram has been a social media site focused on fun content, this image is about to change significantly. The tools that the social media platform has put in place will enable it to become a major commercial influence in the coming years, and those brands that have yet to establish a significant person on Instagram are certainly missing out on massive commercial potential.

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