By Jin Kim

New Options for Advertisers

The ad industry’s shift to Instagram has been fast and furious over the past few years. From 2016-2017, marketers doubled their investment in Instagram, and the number of monthly posts on Instagram likewise doubled. But the biggest hangup for effective use of Instagram as an ad channel has always been the limitations of Facebook’s programmatic ad platform, which does not allow for direct placements through specific Instagram pages.

If advertisers want safe, direct placements, they have to leverage 3rd party ad platforms with pre-existing relationships with influencers and publishers. Advertising through direct placements on Instagram allows brands to execute campaigns that are highly-relevant, engaging, and non-disruptive, with 70% of Instagram campaigns cited as generating a statistically-significant sales lift.

Which raises the question, which Instagram placements are the best option for advertisers: Influencers of Publishers?

Influencers: Personality-Based Advertising

Instagram Influencer campaigns revolve around a single, high-profile individual. Typically, content is created by a single thought leader, trend-setter, model, or lifestyle advocate who has a significant amount of sway and engagement with their followers.

Influencer marketing can be a great social media marketing tool to build trust with an audience. Nielsen found that 84% of consumers trust influencers over direct advertising. That being said, it can be an ongoing challenge for many brands to find an effective fit with the right influencer. A swimsuit model may have a large following, for example, but is not necessarily an appropriate fit for every brand on the market. Additionally, influencer campaigns come with a degree of uncertainty. There are no widely-accepted standards for process, pricing, or brand safety.

Publishers: Interest-Based Advertising

On the other hand, Instagram Publishers can be considered an interest-based promotion, much like a digital magazine. Examples include National Geographic, Vogue, ESPN, Mashable, and New York Magazine. Content is created and curated by large teams, based on the particular interests of the audience. One publisher might specialize in travel, another might focus on fitness, sports, entertainment, or even interior design. Publisher campaigns offer a greater degree of brand safety and alignment between the brand being promoted and the interests of the audience.