Brands

Why Instagram’s Ad Approach Is Great News
For Brand Publishing

Last Thursday, Instagram made the announcement that everyone had been anticipating since Facebook bought the photo-sharing network: Ads were coming to the platform.

But instead of creating an ad platform that is open to all, as Facebook did with Sponsored Stories or Twitter did with Promoted Tweets, Instagram is taking a far more measured approach, promising to start slow. “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,” the announcement on the Instagram blog reads.

Instagram’s approach to ads appears to be similar to that of a publisher, such as Buzzfeed, The Atlantic, Gawker or Forbes, than to other social platforms. “I can’t tell you what [they’re] going to look like–all I can tell you is that I’ve failed if it’s something that doesn’t feel like Instagram,” Emily White, Instagram’s director of business operations, told Fast Company.

Instagram seems genuinely committed to finding out what types of ads turn people off. Following the Facebook model, users can hide ads they don’t like and provide feedback on what bothers them.

As we’ve written before, holding brands to high editorial standards is good for branded content. When publishers collaborate with brands, it results in awesome sponsored posts that readers engage with even more than regular content. And, as a bonus, brands learn a lot about creating the type of content that their target audience wants to consume.

The more social networks and publishers that force brands to create great content for native advertising, the better off brand publishing will be.”

It’s only when those checks and balances aren’t in place that things can go awry. You only have to look as far as the self-promotional drivel in many Sponsored Stories, Promoted Tweets and content distribution networks to see that.

So will Instagram’s move be a game changer and lead other platforms to focus on high-quality native ads? Let’s hope so. If the Instagram experiment is a success, we can bet that Pinterest will take the same approach when the time comes to make money. And perhaps Tumblr will, too, as they ramp up ads and move away from a purely data-centric approach.

The more social networks and publishers that force brands to create great content for native advertising, the better off brand publishing will be. And, heck, maybe this philosophy will even spread to Twitter and Facebook. A content strategist can dream.

What’s the deal with the Content Strategist? At Contently, storytelling is the only marketing we do, and it works wonders. It could for you, too. Learn more.

Image by BestPhotoStudio/Shutterstock
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