What do we need more social media? The answer is straightforward- influencers and ads. And, no doubt we are lucky-Instagram has announced a new tool for presenting the hybrid of the two in your feed. Instagram has never looked more #sponsored than this.
In a blog post published this Tuesday, Instagram has officially announced it would begin rolling out a completely new way for advertisers to target their advertisers to reach their target demos by marketing them through Influencers. According to Instagram, with the help of brand content, “businesses have an opportunity to tell their brand stories through creators’ voices, reach new audiences and measure impact.”
The blog post published by Instagram said that the ads, which will be shown into user’s feeds and stories, will be able to reach the audience who subscribe neither the ads or the creators. It’s not necessary that brand users follow the Instagram ads of their brands so these ads do not worth much. But, associating the influencers with the brands, the branded content can be more authentic and more effective to catch the attention of the viewers and Liant Weingart, Old Navy’s Vice President of Brand Communication.
“We’re consistently looking for more sophisticated ways like Branded Content ads to serve partner content to the right shoppers, instead of just throwing it into the social ether,” Weingarten said in a statement. “Promoting content directly from an influencer’s handle inherently gives the post more authenticity than coming from a brand handle, and we’re seeing significantly higher engagement rates using this strategy.”
Instagram said that this particular feature has been among the most requested by businesses-which may be good for them but this feature may not be a good decision for the Instagram as it marks the latest move in a slow crawl towards the app’s arguably inevitable ruin.
Let’s take a journey to the back. Back in 2012 Facebook acquired Instagram for $1 billion. In the next year, Instagram it would begin displaying photos and video apps but they had planned to “start slow” and “focus on delivering a small number of beautiful, high-quality photos and videos from a handful of brands that are already great members of the Instagram community.”
But honestly, this is not an ad experience many of us are seeing in our feeds today.
What has made Instagram stand apart from the other social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook is that the format of Instagram is free of much of unavoidable toxicity, vitriol, misinformation or any other trash? It allows you to keep your follow list tidy. On Instagram, it’s not necessary to connect with the people or figure you know. You can simply give shut out for a nice experience just by following the topics and hashtags. Influencers, let’s remember it, there was a time when there was no existence of influencers on Instagram.
But now ads are actually spoiling our experience on Instagram because these annoying ads come after every third or fourth post. Nowadays the ads on Instagram do not even as natural as the photos and videos that you enjoy on Instagram. It is very obvious that Instagram users are going to be interested to have more sponsored-content mixed into their feeds than they already see from different influencers they do follow who pepper it throughout their profiles.
Do you really think that Influencers need more reach? The truth is that most of the influencers are already the advertisers in their own rights. The confluence of two different forms of brand marketing doesn’t make a more authentic experience. Hawking good and services via an influencer whom users have no interest, to begin with, won’t make that brand’s ads more efficient and result oriented.
These terrible changes follow what has already been a tumultuous time at Instagram. Instagram’s co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger dipped from the company last year after brewing tensions with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. They were replaced toward the end of last year by longtime Facebook executive Adam Mosseri, who’s credited as having a hand in developing the Facebook News Feed. Which, uh, doesn’t seem to be going so great.
To be fair, there is no such thing as a perfect social media network. And don’t get me wrong, Instagram was far from infallible prior to this latest announcement of super ads. But man, this brings Instagram—a mostly good platform—dangerously close to becoming trash. Big thanks to Zuckerberg, once again, for making this possible.