- Instagram is rolling out a new ad format that lets marketers reach target audiences through Stories, the ephemeral feature that strings together images and videos into a single post. "Promote for Stories" is like Facebook's "boost" tool that lets marketers pay to get their posts into more user feeds, TechCrunch reported.
- Instagram, which has more than 1 billion users worldwide, also started testing Instagram Analytics as part of Facebook Analytics to help marketers better track audiences and engagement. The software tool expands tracking from website clicks, impressions, new followers and Story exits to show lifetime value, retention rates, audience overlaps with website visitors, app downloads and Facebook likes, among other features.
- Another update includes letting users show a screen grab of videos they've posted to IGTV, the video-sharing service Instagram started in June to rival Google's YouTube. Apple's music identification app Shazam integrated its service with Instagram to show preview images of songs in Stories and to let users click through the static image in Stories to listen to the song on Shazam, SoundCloud or Pandora.
Instagram's fresh features help to make the image-sharing app more useful to advertisers that want to reach audiences through Stories, which has quickly grown to a user base of 400 million. Instagram has 2 million paying advertisers, many of which are small businesses and creators that don't have massive budgets to regularly produce full-screen ads for Stories. The "promote" feature lets them transform their stories into ads that can better reach a target audience, transforming these groups into paying customers of Instagram as parent company Facebook's revenue growth is in decline.
Improved analytics tools will likely also help marketers measure the effect of their ad campaigns on Instagram and make quick adjustments to their strategies to maximize performance and boost confidence in their ad investments, as they'll be able to better understand key users' consumption habits.
The updates come a month after co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger resigned amid disagreements with Facebook management, spurring uncertainty about the image-sharing app's future. Fresh analytics and ad offerings signal that the executives' departures haven't slowed down innovation by the popular social platform. Instagram is becoming an increasingly critical space for parent company Facebook, as it has broad appeal among younger consumers, including U.S. teens who are heavy users of rival Snapchat.