Instagram claims that 200,000 advertisers worldwide have begun using the photo-sharing app since it was opened up to advertisers in September, with more than three quarters of its advertiser base coming from outside the U.S.
Advertiser interest comes as the Facebook-owned social media platform has skyrocketed in popularity over the years, and now boasts more than 400 million users worldwide.
In a recent report, eMarketer said Instagram would add 26.9 million U.S. users over the next four years, close to double the amount of Twitter, and predicted 51.8% of social network users will use the service by 2017.
Instagram has also proven extremely brand-friendly, with Facebook citing a recent survey which found more than 60% of its users say they learn about products and services via the app, and 75% say they take action – such as visiting a website, searching, shopping or telling a friend – after being inspired by an Instagram post.
Facebook also released a series of Canadian advertising success stories from brands including Mercedes-Benz, Shomi, L’Oréal and A&W that demonstrate the platform’s advertising efficacy.
Burger chain A&W, for example, used Instagram to share its “Better burger experience” with men and women 25-44, with the goal of promoting its new brand commitment and informing consumers it is the first national burger chain to serve beef raised without hormones or steroids and chicken raised without antibiotics.
The brand used a five-week photo campaign that featured close-ups of its best-known and most popular menu items, such as the Teen Burger and root beer served in frosted mugs. The photos also documented elements of A&W’s new dining experience, including shots of food items on china plates, and in-restaurant elements such as wood and metal.
The Instagram campaign accompanied A&W’s “Ingredients Guarantee” TV commercials, reinforcing the messaging around higher-quality ingredients and improved dining experience.
Results measured by Nielsen Brand Effect showed that the photo ad campaign helped to start shifting consumer perceptions, increasing ad recall by 39 points and generating a four-point lift in brand association between A&W and quality.
L’Oréal, meanwhile, ran a winter-themed campaign on Instagram aimed at driving awareness of its new Infallible cosmetics line while increasing recommendations and ad recall among women 18-49.
The four-week Instagram campaign incorporated sponsored photos taken during an outdoor shoot in Whistler, B.C. that showcased models wearing a variety of L’Oréal Paris cosmetics products. The ads urged viewers to “Dare to stand out from the crowd this winter,” and “Take winter beauty to new heights.”
The ads produced a seven-point lift in recommendations among those 25-49, and a 14-point lift in ad recall compared with a control group – more than twice Nielsen’s average for online ads. Ad recall was consistent across age groups, although L’Oréal did report a “notably higher lift” among 25-49 audiences.
Shomi used Instagram to build awareness and drive strong message association between its brand and iZombie, a series that caters to audiences 18-34. Shomi eschewed the standard stills and clips used to promote new programs, instead relying on carousel ads featuring four custom illustrations and tongue-in-cheek captions that linked to the show’s landing page.
The learn more call-to-action produced a 6% click through rate and reached a total of 1.56 million Canadians at an average frequency of three times per person. The video ad was particularly effective, with a unique view rate exceeding 32%.
The streaming service says that brand recognition was “significantly” boosted, while the perception of iZombie among the younger target audience was amplified, including a 17-point lift in ad recall and a three-point lift in message association.