The increasing popularity of Facebook Inc’s Instagram brought out some changes that may not be enjoyed by many. They will be introducing ads to their ephemeral Stories feature, thus bringing competition with Snap Inc to a new level.
Stories is a five month old feature that brought about 150 million daily users so far. The Stories feature is inspired by the same feature available in Snapchat that displays several seconds long videos that disappear shortly after they have been viewed or after 24 hours. So far, Instagram and Snapchat seemed to achieve more or less the same number of viewers for stories on a daily basis.
Soon enough, Instagram will start displaying short videos or images that will appear between stories and are to be identified as advertising content. Snapchat uses the same system of advertising, but they have not optimized yet the technique to attract marketers. Instagram and Facebook can track ads and link them to demographic data.
This new technique is more efficient in helping marketers reaching their targeted customers. James Quarles, the vice president of Instagram, declared that this advanced technique is what differentiates Instagram from other ad-displaying companies, and all the information they gather is used for the benefit of possible customers provided by the businesses that advertise their product.
Instagram scheduled to start testing the ads in a few weeks, with a number of 30 companies. A few of the companies that will display ads are Airbnb, Capital One, Nike, McDonald’s, Buzzfeed, L’Oreal, Coca Cola, or General Motors. The feature was made available for advertising during this year’s edition of CES that took place last week.
Quarles also explains the popularity of the new feature. Users appear to enjoy vertical videos with sound. The biggest percent of users watch the videos with the sound on. The vertical format for videos is probably the main bringer of popularity. They take up the whole screen of the phone and offer a better visibility, as opposed to horizontal videos that was firstly designed for television screens and is the format Facebook videos display in the news feed.
The vertical video was first used by Snapchat, the main rival of Instagram. They are going to have their first initial public offering sometime around March this year. More information is to be provided soon.
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