As we approach 2016, we’re gazing into the digital marketing crystal ball, and conjuring our predictions for the New Year as we do every year; you can find Anvil’s comprehensive predictions for 2016 here. However, in this article we’re going to talk about Instagram now that their ads have finally gone mainstream and are available to any advertiser with an Ads Manager account. It’s easy to predict that many advertisers will experiment with this new platform. You set them up very much like you would a timeline or right column ad, in fact, your Facebook website click ads and videos will now default to display across Desktop, Mobile, Right Column, Audience Network, and Instagram so your ads may be running there already without you being aware of it. Of course, you can include or exclude any of these platforms in the Ads Manager and you can optimize the image to display as a square within Instagram. These features are nice and advertisers are sure to experiment with this new offering but just how popular will Instagram ads be?
Instagram ads will be all the rage early in 2016 but marketers will quickly abandon them for higher converting “traditional” platforms like PPC and Facebook ads. When Facebook ads first became an option, most businesses were content to get a new fan of their page or a like on their post. Since that time, marketers learned that while a like and share are great for brand advocacy, the only way to measure the impact on the bottom line is to track conversions. Conversions equate to revenue which is what stakeholders care about. While the likes, comments and new followers will be there for brands using Instagram, the conversions will not due to Instagram’s foundation as a mobile platform. While visits to mobile ecommerce sites have spiked, the vast majority of consumers (74% according to a recent Adobe Digital study) still feel more comfortable making online purchases via a desktop device. Ecommerce marketers will be drawn to Instagram like a moth to a flame early in 2016 but will quickly learn the moxie still lies with AdWords and Timeline ads. Instagram ads will steadily generate revenue in 2016 but the growth will be stagnant compared to Facebook and investors will be unhappy, with less than 15% growth between 3rd and 4th Q 2016.
What do you think; will Instagram ads be a part of your media mix in 2016?