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Why Instagram Is Ripe For Direct Response Advertising

Written by: Carolyn Berk, Content Marketing Associate

It’s been a few weeks since Instagram officially opened up its ads API to marketing partners, and the social media community is still buzzing about the news. What’s got digital advertisers so excited?  The photo sharing network not only gives brands the chance to reach large and diverse audiences; it does so through the universal language of visual content. Because of this unique characteristic, Instagram’s direct response ads are expected to be a hit when they’re made available in the months to come. Here are just a few reasons why:

Instagram is popular

Just last year, Instagram saw its user base grow more than 50%. So just how popular is it? According to Instagram:

Popularity stats - Instagram by numbers blog

This growing popularity shows no signs of stopping. In fact, Instagram is expected to reach 100 million users in the U.S. by 2018. A platform with a user base this size is extremely attractive to direct response marketers. And because the Instagram app is mainly viewed on mobile, ads are integrated into the same stream as other content, making them feel less intrusive to viewers.

Instagram attracts millennials

A study by Pew Research Center says that half of American teens use Instagram. Of the teens who use Instagram:

Instagram Teens Stats - Instagram Intro Blog


Another study by Pew shows that Instagram is also popular among young adults. According to their numbers:

Instagram young adults stats - Instagram Intro Blog

recent Facebook study explains why Instagram is especially appealing to millennials:

Instagram is a place where teens and adults go to discover what’s new and what’s next. The platform holds unique appeal because it captures the immediacy of the moment, ignites creative expression and provides a connection to a likeminded community.

If you aim to get young people to take a specific action like downloading your app or purchasing your product, Instagram is the place to be.

Instagram inspires purchase intent

British retailer John Lewis partnered with fashion bloggers and influential Instagrammers to promote its autumn and winter collection, featuring fashion shoots and “get the look” videos. Following the 6-week campaign, John Lewis saw a 14% increase in purchase intent among 25-to 34-year-old women and a 10% increase in ad recall. In addition, the brand also saw its Instagram followers almost double from 14,000 to 24,000.

John Lewis Ad - Instagram Ad Retailer Blog

Case studies showcasing high purchase intent on Instagram hint at strong performance once direct response ads roll out. When these product-focused campaigns feature a “Shop Now”  button, audiences will be able to go directly from the ads that inspired purchase intent to a site where they can actually purchase that product.

The best is yet to come

While the John Lewis case study focuses solely on gender and age targeting, Instagram says advertisers will soon be able to reach users based on interests and other characteristics, thanks to targeting interests gleaned from Facebook profiles.

Nanigans will also provide customers with the opportunity to use more action-oriented ad formats and targeting made popular by Facebook. These capabilities, combined with the unique advertising opportunities that Instagram provides, mean direct response advertisers have a lot to look forward to.

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