As anticipated, the first Instagram ad debuted on Friday. But despite ample warning from the company, it looks like consumers aren’t happy about the integration.
Instagram confirmed that it would begin running sponsored content from brands about a month ago. As a result, image and video ads will be shown in members’ feeds from brands they don’t follow. Kicking off the initiative was Michael Kors with an image of a watch.
The company recently shared an example of what the ads would look like, and as promised, the live ad fits right in with traditional photo and video layouts. The only thing setting it apart from regular content is the “Sponsored” tag in the upper right corner. To help make the transition easier, Instagram planned to kick off the launch with a handful of brands that are already considered to be great members of the community.
But if the comments on the image are any indication, members of the photo-sharing network aren’t happy about the introduction of ads into their feeds. Something to consider, however, is that Facebook’s audience generally dislikes everything the social network does, so it shouldn’t come as any surprise that the ads are already receiving negative comments.
As with most new features, the initial feedback will be mixed but that shouldn’t deter advertisers from getting involved. One thing brands should consider is crafting ads that blend in naturally to consumers’ feeds. Take what’s already working for you on the service and enhance it, don’t completely transform it.
It only takes a couple of taps to hide Instagram ads, and people are encouraged to provide feedback on any sponsored content they don’t like. It’s unlikely that Instagram will pull ads, but like Facebook has experimented with its own ad units, it’s possible we’ll see a few different iterations before consumers get used to seeing ads in their feeds.
Jennifer Beese: Jennifer Beese has worked as a community manager and social media strategist. When she’s not writing, you can find her studying anatomy and physiology—she literally has a skeleton in her closet—or under the stars with her telescope.