Instagram ads hit Kiwi shores

Campaigns could cost more than $1 million.

Brands will now be able to target specific demographics on Instagram, with the app launching its advertising platform in New Zealand this month.

Burgerfuel, Air New Zealand, Neon, and Sky TV are Instagram’s inaugural ad clients, with their paid posts beginning to appear in users’ feeds from this week. All businesses will be able to buy ads from September 30 through a self-serve auction system.

Instagram has been secretive about the cost of advertising, saying "the market will set the price" in a bidding system dependent on targeting, reach and frequency. Chief executives overseas have reported large month-long campaigns costing up to $US1 million.

The Facebook-owned square-photo-sharing app will introduce ads to all global markets by the end of the month, following successful rollouts in several countries over the last 18 months. 

When Facebook acquired Instagram in 2012, it had no ads. Now the app is putting several formats up for purchase including single photos, videos and ‘carousel’ ads – which are essentially photo galleries allowing users to swipe through multiple photos in a single post.

Key features of the platform's ads include several calls-to-action such as buttons for shopping, downloading, learning more and signing up to websites.

These features – along with advertisers gaining access to Facebook data to target ads to specific demographics – will set paid posts apart from business’ organic content, says creative strategist Gavin Carver.

“The difference between organic content and paid advertising is that paid advertising is in service of a very specific business objective,” he says.

Mr Carver says Instagram’s creative department will work with brands and creative agencies to create content that will complement existing campaigns.

“Content will still have to fit in with the brand’s organic feed, but paid ads allow access to a specific target market and address a specific objective,” he says.

Facebook NZ head Spencer Bailey says brands will quickly learn what type of photographs will work on the platform. 

“The brands obviously want positive engagement with their ads, so as relevant and useful and entertaining they can make that to fit in with their audience, the better,” he says.

Sophie Blachford, head of brand development, says brands will need to ensure their content resonates with their target market.

“You don’t want to put something out there and spend the next six months playing catchup because people aren’t favouring your brand,” she says.

“The rewards are there for the taking for the brands that are invested in matching the look and the feel of the platform.”

Users will be able to carry over their ad preferences from Facebook, including removing ads pushed through from websites visited outside the platform.

Feedback can also be given on ads in a similar fashion to Facebook by tapping the ‘sponsored’ button that will appear in the top right hand corner of promoted posts.

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