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Advertising on Instagram has been on everyone’s lips recently. With this month’s announcement of a global launch and suite of additional products (including 30-second video ads and a guaranteed delivery premium product) the fervor has only heightened.

This is certain to play a large factor in holiday season advertising and upcoming Q4 media plans, as brands line up to take advantage of Instagram’s passionate and highly engaged user base. However, Instagram is still a very unknown entity for most brands and agencies, which can be daunting in the lead-up to the all-important holiday buying season.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at the current media buying landscape on Instagram and what you can expect to see.

What’s Important and What’s Available

The first relevant piece of the Instagram ad landscape is this: what can a brand actually do on Instagram? Once you work through the different creative options, there are only currently four objectives available to advertise against on Instagram: video views, site traffic, mobile app installs, and the premium awareness product “Marquee.” The notable omission here (and one that may irk some brands and planners) is engagements on Instagram posts. That means Instagram, or more specifically, Facebook, will not algorithmically optimize towards users most likely to engage on your posts. Advertisers can still manually optimize ads for the most engaging segments and creative, however it’s a bit of a workaround.

This means there’s a significantly increased emphasis on video for brands that want to leverage Instagram. Video campaigns will be the primary vehicle for driving brand metrics such as awareness, ad recall, and purchase intent. On top of video, brands are already seeing great results with traffic and app install campaigns. These will be important campaigns for many brands launching apps and delving further into eCommerce as they look to capitalize on digital buying trends.

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