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Instagram now allows clickable ads

By Alexander Højfeldt Lund on March 5, 2015

Instagram has never allowed URLs to open from the feed – until now. Instead, they wanted people to keep browsing through the photostream and not disappearing off to other webpages. But Instagram says that its advertisers demanded more ways to influence people, as this can may increase the chances of obtaining meaningful results for their businesses on this social media.

New format for clickable ads

So for the first time, Instagram will start showing clickable links on a limited basis in the feed, but only in its new multi-photo carousel ads function that can tell a story by letting the user swipe through a series of four branded images in sequence. The new ‘Learn More’ button that houses the links will open a URL in an internal browser within Instagram. This allows the user to quickly jump back to the feed.  

In the video you see a carousel for Pencils Of Promise, a non-profit that builds schools. The user can scroll through the four images and click the ‘Learn More’ button to open a URL. Video: Instagram

Emphasis on brands

Instagram first began showing ads in october 2013. Initially the reaction from the users were not positive but the complaints died down. About four months ago, Instagram introduced video ads.

Until now, ads on Instagram have been mostly for institutional advertisers wanting to influence and engage their audiences and not for consumer brand looking for immediate sales.
The new carousel ad will be harder to miss than a single photo in the feed. If someone is interested, they can swipe through to see more photos and click the ‘Learn More’ button to open the URL.

James Quarles, Global Head of Business and Brand Development at Instagram has stated to that the initial launch will have an emphasis on how brands communicate on Instagram. The ads are meant to let the users learn more about a company and not necessarily meant to generate purchases or sign-ups.

Instagram wants to keep it tidy

For now, these ads will only include photos, but Instagram is considering whether or not to allow videos too. Instagram will also monitor user reactions to the multi-shot format to determine if users should get the option to share carousels as well.

Instagram's CEO, Kevin Systrom will still give final approval on all ads allowed on the social media. Instagram wants to keep things tidy. But now, advertisers on Instagram will have a new ad tool where they can actually measure how many impressions, likes and comments their ads receive.