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What are Sponsored Photos and Videos on Instagram?

By Alexander Højfeldt Lund on September 21, 2015

Instagram has begun to open up to the possibility of brands advertising on Instagram. The question is: What are sponsored photos and videos on Instagram?

For the time being ads will only be available for a range of Instagram-partners and will only be visible to users in the United States. But the advertising opportunities will spread to other regions.

Instagram is introducing sponsored photos and videos at a slow pace so the users will get used to seeing the ads.

What are sponsored photos and videos on Instagram going to look like?

An advertisement on Instagram will be labelled ‘Sponsored’ where the time stamp normally would be. If the user taps the label more information about how advertising on Instagram works will become available.

The focus of Instagram is to make any advertisement the user sees feel as natural to Instagram as the photos and videos of many other brands the user already enjoys.

Instagram will for the time being focus on delivering a small number of beautiful, high-quality photos and videos from a handful of brands that are already a part of Instagram. These first partners will include: Adidas, Ben & Jerry's, Burberry, General Electric, Lexus, Levi's, Macy's, Michael Kors, PayPal and Starwood.

Promoted photo on Instagram

Ben & Jerry's and Levi's are among the first partners to advertise on Instagram. For the time being only in the United States though.

Who will see the sponsored photos and videos on Instagram?

The user will see ads from businesses that are interesting to the user. The relevance of the ad will be based on information from what the user does on Instagram and Facebook which is the parent company of Instagram.

Everyone on Instagram will see ads from time to time whether or not they're Facebook users.

When will my company be able to post sponsored photos and videos on Instagram?

Instagram will start out slowly and take their time to make the experience right for partners and the Instagram community. Instagram will announce when they are ready to begin working with more partners.

While you wait for Instagram to provide further information on sponsored photos and videos you can begin broadening your target audience by creating an Instagram account.

Five step guide to growing your business on Instagram

  1. Create standout images and videos. Instagram is based on visual communication so it is important to post high-quality photos and videos.
  2. Follow and interact with influencers. By liking, commenting and sharing posts from high level interests in your market. Your network will soon start to grow and attract more followers.
  3. Use the right hashtags. Take full advantage of Instagram's powerful search feature by using multiple hashtags to convey what your post is about.
  4. Invite customers to the conversation. You can stand out on Instagram by encouraging your community to their experiences with your company.
  5. Be active on your account. You should make at least two posts per day and check for comments on your feed when possible. This provides an authentic persona to your community as you build on relationships there.

How important is the quality of the sponsored photos and videos on Instagram?

The best way to increase and strengthening your target audience is by making brand related content of a high quality, which the user will want to see in the Instagram news feed.

By making strong content you will increase the likelyhood that your account will be discovered by users that don't follow you because your posts will be shown under ‘Explore’ or under ‘News’.