Chick-fil-A unwraps Instagrams Ads API to tap retargeting, editing tools
By Alex Samuely
August 5, 2015
Chick-fil-A was one of the first brands to tap the Instagram Ads API
Social marketing software firm Brand Networks has been announced as one of the premier Facebook Marketing Partners to elaborate on the Instagram API and help marketers use targeting tools to reach the right audience with the most relevant message. Its client Chick-fil-A tapped Instagram as the channel of choice to celebrate Cow Appreciation Day with image-focused posts.
Brands have been eager to begin advertising on Instagram for a while now, said Jamie Tedford, CEO of Brand Networks, Boston. The platform is hugely popular -- attracting an audience of 300 million engaged users, most of them on mobile.
The reason for this growth in popularity is that, at its core, Instagram is all about sharing beautiful visuals in a simple format that resonates with todays consumers who are bombarded with content on a variety of social sites every day, he said. However, advertisements on Instagram should become a seamless, native part of the user experience, instead of the typical disruptive pop up or on screen advertisement weve previously been accustomed to in digital channels.
The native aspect of advertising is especially important to Instagram and on mobile.
Chick-fil-A claims it has consistently found Instagram to be a strong communication channel to leverage, particularly as many quick service chains count younger demographics as a significant amount of their customers.
The fast food marketer teamed up with Brand Networks to tap the Instagram API ahead of Cow Appreciation Day. It posted several modern art-inspired photos of materials comprising a cow costume, and saw a substantial brand lift.
One of the most important things for brands to keep in mind when designing an ad for the new API is the idea of relevance, Mr. Tedford said. Brands have the opportunity to strategically target content to certain audiences on Instagram with the same great targeting tools they use on Facebook.
Brands who focus on delivering compelling, useful advertising content to the right audience at the right time will be more relevant and find the most success on Instagram.
One of Chick-fil-A's latest posts
Chick-fil-A believes Instagram is an optimal communication vehicle for displaying image-focused content, spreading the word about real-time events and complementing Facebook advertising.
The API's other partners include Kenshoo, Ampush, 4C, Nanigans, Unified, Salesforce Marketing Cloud and SocialCode.
As a mobile-first platform, the opportunity for Instagram advertisers to leverage native mobile ad units is awesome, said David Zelniker, product manager for Kenshoo, San Francisco. With the new API, Kenshoo and thus our clients, can advertise within Instagram's native mobile experience.
This allows brands to display their paid media where the user experience best resembles the organic form and function of the Instagram stream.
Instagrams advertising potential
The photo-sharing applications move to an Ads API may help transform the social network into mobile advertising platform to compete with the likes of Twitter and Facebook. Brands can now purchase ad units and plan their Instagram campaigns in a more automated way.
Facebooks targeting tools will now be available to Instagram marketers, an attractive feature for those seeking to tap into a specific demographic. Last month, the app also introduced a Shop Now button enabling users to click through to the brands profile or mobile site to purchase the displayed items.
Instagram is catching up to Facebook with its increased advertising options
Brands that partner with Brand Networks will receive access to support for the full range of Facebook targeting options, as well as the ability to edit live Instagram ads in bulk. This enables social campaigns to be optimized quickly and efficiently.
Marketers may also develop specific targeting guidelines that can be saved for future campaigns.
Brands can choose a variety of ads to roll out to Instagram users, including video ads, link ads and mobile app install ads. Some may opt to use Instagrams carousel ads, which show up to four images in a slideshow post format.
This past December, Chick-fil-A also updated its mobile application to include two features paramount for driving mcommerce: in-app mobile payments and mobile ordering in more than 130 of its chain restaurants (see story).
Although part of Facebook Inc., Instagram is a different publisher supporting different types of creatives and objectives, Mr. Zelniker said. Advertisers must keep in mind that ad creative should highlight their brand voice, one which speaks strongest to the Instagram community.
Consistency is also key, as users should have similar experiences across both paid and organic content. Identifying your objective is also very important, as advertisers can now leverage both engagement and direct response type ad units on Instagram.
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York
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