Meta recently announced that businesses can now place ads on the Instagram Explore home screen – the grid that people see when they first arrive on the Explore tab – via the Instagram Marketing API.
Ads in Explore give advertisers the opportunity to extend campaigns to additional audiences. Being part of what’s culturally relevant and trending is desirable to many advertisers. This can be achieved by reaching people who are looking to discover something new.
Explore home ads on Instagram appear as 2×2 tiles in the Explore grid, with the advertiser’s account name, a “sponsored” label, and a call-to-action button that you select.
People can click on the tile to see the ad in their feed, and continue scrolling to see a mix of organic posts and ads. Users can also click on the account name to go to the Instagram profile or the call-to-action button (for example, ‘Learn more’) to visit the advertiser’s website / landing page.
Regardless of your feelings towards Meta, they own three of the most-used social networks, as of January 2022. They cannot be overlooked when it comes to advertising.
Instagram is also experimenting with “Multi-Advertiser Ads,” which show consumers other advertisements from businesses with related products or services once they interact with an ad.
Ad performance data for the Instagram Explore home is available within the placement level insights reports.
Instagram Explore ads can help if your brand needs to:
- Increase commitment: Users are more likely to interact with content by liking, commenting on, or sharing it if they like what they see. As a result, when they discover your material through the explore page, it might increase brand engagement.
- Increase number of followers: Every day, more than 200 million accounts access the Instagram explore page. That makes up 15% of all users. It goes without saying that you have a good chance of gaining some of them as new followers.
- Boost sales: It’s not certain, but the explore page may display your shoppable Instagram posts. A rise in sales can result from more people finding your stuff.
New Reels and AR ad formats
Two other interesting ad formats were also announced at the same time.
Reels – Meta’s TikTok-style video format – will show post-loop ads, which are 4 to 10-second skippable and standalone video ads that play after a reel has ended, and image carousel ads for Reels, which are horizontally-scrollable ads including 2 to 10 image ads shown at the bottom of only Facebook Reels content.
Instagram will take advantage of Meta’s latest technological advancements with a new ad format that incorporates augmented reality (AR) to add an interactive element to ads. Using Meta’s example, a furniture company could use AR filters to let consumers design a dream living space — all without leaving their Instagram feed.
This is important to small, medium and large brands alike, as it signifies a big step towards AI technology taking centre stage in the ad panorama.
By bringing a new look to Reels, Explore and AR, Meta could help both advertisers and creators. Will this translate into real-world revenue and more sales for brands? Whilst there is no certainty, the early data seems positive, and might distract from the negative headlines that have plagued Meta these last few weeks.