Amanda Connolly is a reporter for The Next Web, currently based in London. Originally from Ireland, Amanda previously worked in press and ed Amanda Connolly is a reporter for The Next Web, currently based in London. Originally from Ireland, Amanda previously worked in press and editorial at the Web Summit. She’s interested in all things tech, with a particular fondness for lifestyle and creative tech and the spaces where these intersect. Twitter
When it comes to ads, I can be quite fickle. I’m a sucker for a good TV commercial but if the same one pops up on my computer screen unannounced, I won’t be too pleased.
Ads have become hot topics as people argue the worth of ad-blockers and how they could jeopardise the value of the very content behind them. There’s one platform where I am totally okay with ads though, even happy to see ads – Instagram.
Most of the ads and branded content on Instagram blend perfectly with the native content and are barely recognizable for what they are.
In comparison to Facebook, our relationships on Instagram are shallow.
My relationship with Facebook is deep – I use it for messaging, organizing events, sharing posts I’ve written, photos I’ve taken and memories I’ve made, in various formats. On Instagram, I share all of the same things but only in picture format.
Being that way inclined leaves less room for error for the advertisers, but it also benefits anyone using the app as it means you don’t have to awkwardly navigate around the ads, waiting for them to load or closing them to see the content.
You also don’t have to scroll through all the completely irrelevant and uneducated arguments over nothing.
The integrated ads blend seamlessly with Instagram’s flowing interface of never-ending imagery so it’s just a constant flow of aesthetically pleasing goodness.
Sure, you can use a wider variety of formats on Facebook, but with a mixed news feed, ads ARE jarring and annoying in comparison to when they are placed on a singular static page. Ads have to compete harder to show up on people’s news feeds on Facebook, which doesn’t always result in the most pleasant result.
While Facebook works endlessly to curate your news feed to only have the things others have liked, Instagram is a much more personal experience. Your feed is made up of posts from people you have chosen to include. You can go off the beaten track using the Discover feed but take comfort in knowing that your news feed is exactly as you left it.
One of the reasons I think creative advertising content is excelling on Instagram is because it’s not over-bearing to see a feed of aesthetically pleasing, artistic images when you open the app – compared to a feed of auto-playing videos, ‘Like and Share’ competitions or deals.
In fact, looking at Instagram first thing in the morning could actually be better for your brain than looking at Facebook or even Twitter as it’s generally a much more positive experience.
Instagram today is reminiscent of TV in the late 1940s, early 1950s – its ‘golden age.’ The arrival of television meant that advertisers had a new way into the homes of potential customers, so instead of being agressively pushy, ads were pleasant and enjoyable and required no action from the person watching them other than their appreciation. Sound familiar?
The environment Instagram has created – where ingenuity thrives – will ensure its longevity. As long as it stays true to that mantra, of course.
Focused platforms give both brands and users the luxury of knowing what works and what doesn’t. By being shallow in nature, Instagram ads have remained practically invisible and its easier to embrace the content for what it is, rather than what it’s trying to sell you.
As long as this remains the case, I’m perfectly okay with the ads taking over.
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