What has Instagram got up its sleeve?

The big social media giants, mainly Twitter and Facebook, have been making quite some noise lately announcing constant functionality and advert changes in the last few months. If you need a refresher you can find out more from our previous blogs:

Facebook’s Product Ads target specific products to those most likely to buy them

How Relevant are you? Facebook reveals all with its relevancy score

Is Twitter going through an identity crisis?

However, in the midst of these announcements, another social platform has been quietly working hard to make sure it is not left behind, and is now ready to announce some pretty snazzy and exciting changes of its own.

Instagram has partnered up with SocialRank and, like Twitter, will allow you to sort and filter your followers by location, keyword, most engaged, most valuable and a range of other criteria.

This is a great addition to the platform, allowing marketers to understand their audience better to provide even more relevant content. It also means we can identify potential influencers; could help with the creation of targeted regional promotions; and lots more. The opportunities are seemingly endless.

Those eager to get started using SocialRank Instagram Analytics and see their followers segmented and categorised to their heart’s content will be glad to hear that SocialRank is running a waiting list, with signups opening at the end of March.

Another very exciting update, to both marketers and consumers, is the ability to create click-to-buy ads on the platform.

On their blog yesterday Instagram talked about the introduction of ‘carousel ads’, which allow brands to link images to their website and allow customers to purchase directly from the platform.

The reason Instagram has instigated these over static images is to allow marketers to tell a story. The company blog says: “We’ve heard from marketers that they want to tell sequenced stories in beautiful, compelling ways that lead to meaningful results for their business.”

I suspect that the industries that will benefit the most from this will be fashion, automotive and food. However there is nothing to say that other industries couldn’t get creative with their story-telling.

Carousel ads will roll out in the coming weeks on a limited basis, which will allow Instagram to decide on what works best and potentially how frequently to show these ads before users become frustrated.

As Instagram starts its journey to opening itself up commercially, let’s hope it maintains its integrity – like so many others have failed to do – and continues to provide a sense of community to its users, rather than opening its door commercially to the point of annoying and upsetting its users.

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