Mobile Commerce

Instagram Turns Ads Interactive

About a year and a half after introducing advertising to the initial chagrin of its customer base, and four months after introducing video advertising to the delight of brand manufacturers looking to tout their products, Instagram will now offer clickable, interactive ads — coined “carousel ads.”

Carousel ads allow brands to promote items in a storytelling format similar to Snapchat. Instagram users can see these “stories” on their smartphones as photo albums by swiping left to see additional images. The ads will also feature links to the websites where the advertised items can be purchased, at each brand’s discretion. According to Instagram, the new feature is an attempt to bring multi-page print campaigns to mobile phones. Some examples provided for the utility of such a feature include car companies that want to show off the design process of a new vehicle or engine, or a fashion company which wants to break out the pieces that make up an outfit.

While some consumers and merchants are still loyal to their trusty catalogs, retailers like Nordstrom (an initial player in bringing eCommerce to Instagram last year) also recognize the importance of embracing emerging social media platforms. And Instagram’s new feature just made that platform a little more dynamic.

“It’s a great new creative canvas,” Instagram monetization lead James Quarles told TechCrunch about the new development, which also published a video demonstrating how the interactive ads will work.

Up until now, advertisements on Instagram were portrayed through photos or short videos, and Instagram was mostly used to create impressions of a company in the social conscientiousness rather than direct sales. The move to interactive advertising represents the next leap forward for Instagram in converting advertising space into sales for companies and continuing its progression into an eCommerce platform.

Carousel ads are to be introduced in a limited basis for the time being, according to Instagram, which told customers that there will be changes and variations as businesses and Instagram users interact with the feature and provide feedback.


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The Which Apps Do They Want Study analyzes survey data collected from 1,045 American consumers to learn how they use merchant apps to enhance in-store shopping experiences, and their interest in downloading more in the future. Our research covered consumers’ usage of in-app features like loyalty and rewards offerings and in-store navigation, helping to assess how merchants can design apps to distinguish themselves from competitors.

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