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Social media giant to show more ads

Instagram is expanding its ad content as it dives deeper into e-commerce.

The social media platform, which is owned by Facebook, said that it will start introducing ads “slowly and thoughtfully” into its Explore feed during the next few months. (The Explore section allows users to see photos and videos that line up with their interests but are from accounts they might not be already following.)

The ads won’t appear on the main Explore grid. Instead, they will show up when a user taps on a picture or video and browse the content. Instagram noted that users still have control over the ads they see.

According to Instagram, more than 50% of accounts on its platform use “Explore” every month.

“For advertisers, this is an opportunity to be part of what’s culturally relevant and trending while reaching new audiences who are looking to discover something new,” Instagram stated. “Advertisers can easily extend their campaigns using automatic placements with a simple opt-in to reach audiences in Explore.

According to eMarketer, Instagram ad revenue in the U.S. will grow nearly 47% this year to reach $9.08 billion. By 2021, it is expected to total $15.65 billion

“Instagram advertising is very popular, and Explore will open up a pipeline of valuable new ad inventory,” said eMarketer principal analyst Debra Aho Williamson.“Half of Instagram users use Explore, making it a highly popular feature. We expect advertisers to quickly adopt this ad placement.”

Instagram has been expanding its advertising options as it continues to evolve into more of an e-commerce platform. Earlier this month, Instagram announced it would enable brands to place organic content posts as paid advertisements in user feeds. The company also has rolled out direct online shopping features such as Instagram@shop, an assortment of shoppable products curated by a team of Instagram editors.

In addition, Instagram is enabling a small group of Instagram “creators” (such as Kim Kardashian West, Kylie Jenner, and Kris Jenner) to tag products in their posts, making the products instantly shoppable, and has started allowing users to buy products from a select group of brands without leaving the platform.
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