Snap happy Instagram adverts

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Instagram users will soon notice sponsored posts slipped in-between the infinite flurry of cats, lunches and Starbucks cups as in-app advertising arrives in the UK.

With a whopping 200 million active Instagram users, it is no wonder that brands want to grab a piece of the advertising action. This new marketing opportunity comes as Facebook, which bought the photo-sharing app for an eye-watering $1 billion last year, puts plans in place to turn the platform into a profitable business.

It was announced that adverts will be “rolled out slowly” and only brands that already have an established and successful Instagram presence will be promoted. The masterminds behind the move have also stated that adverts need to be engaging and feel natural in people’s feeds in order to gain sponsorship.

The recent change is just one of many new features on the visually stunning social media platform – enter Hyperlapse, a new Instagram app that allows users to capture high quality time-lapse videos that give Scorsese a run for his money.

The arrival of analytics will also give brands the opportunity to measure the success of Instagram campaigns and a recent app update gives users more control than ever before over filters and the editing process, making your photos picture perfect.

The in-app adverts first launched in the US in November 2013, with many brands reaping the benefits. Levi’s reached 7.4 million people over a nine day stretch whereas Ben and Jerry’s reached 9.8 million in just eight days thanks to successful Instagram advertising.

A ‘sponsored post’ tag will indicate that posts are adverts with users being able to hide them and give feedback by clicking the “…” button. Despite this handy tool, the app has already received some negativity on social media.

However, any technical change to a popular platform runs the risk of a backlash. Facebook adverts and sponsored tweets, for example, are now part of the fixtures and fittings but they were not widely welcomed when they were first introduced.

We predict that any negativity will soon die down and Instagram advertising will be embraced by both consumers and brands alike. The photo-sharing brand demonstrates a desire to understand its audience and although feeds will now feature sponsored posts, the ability to hide them and to leave feedback sets it apart from the crowd. Personal tastes and trends will also be considered before targeting, which is definitely a step in the right direction for both Instagram to become a profitable business, and the overwhelming amount of users who want the app to remain personal and authentic.

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