Instagram opens its ad platform to all advertisers, Spark launches first campaign

In September, Instagram kicked off its local ad offering with launch partners Burgerfuel, Air New Zealand and Sky TV, which have each been running campaigns through the platform. And now, following on from a relatively short testing phase, Instagram has extended its advertising options to all Kiwi brands.

“The reception has been really positive so far,” says Sophie Blachford, the Instagram business lead across both sides of the ditch. “We haven’t got any results yet to talk about externally, but we’re really happy with what we’ve seen so far. We’re also keeping a very close eye on the reaction from the community, but everything is going well.”

Although the initial testing period ran for only 20 days, Blachford previously told StopPress that the international application of the ad platform meant that the service had already been thoroughly tested by the time it was unveiled in this market. 

“From the branding business side of things, we have over a year and half of learnings from markets globally, so we’re taking all of that in,” she said. “Also, some of the new products that we’re taking in have been in an alpha and beta test phase in those markets, so we know that the systems are robust and ready to go.”

Over the course of the last few weeks, Instagram users will have noticed several ads creeping onto their newsfeeds.

A lil tease for the new special burger dropping Monday in NZ!! ? #lamberjack #burgerfuelspecials #burgerfuel

A video posted by BurgerFuel (@burgerfuel) on


Much of the creative produced for these campaigns tends toward the subtle side—something which is partly attributable to the guidance that Gavin Carver, a creative strategist at Instagram’s Creative Shop, has been giving to brands.  

“It’s worth noting that the creative bar will be a little higher on Instagram,” said  Carver previously. “We really want to protect that community. The onus is still on the advertisers to make that content as relevant, useful and entertaining as possible, because they want that positive engagement and sentiment with the community.”

Carver compares Instagram to a magazine, saying that an almost editorial approach should be applied to the creation and curation of ad imagery for the platform. 

“It’s like the outside back cover: 100 percent real estate, 100 percent share of voice, visually led and made with a lot of craft … That’s how much attention should be going into it.”

Now that Instagram’s ad platform is being opened to a broader advertising market, it’s unlikely that this high standard of creativity will be maintained across the board. But in the same way that the best ads on Facebook bounce from one user to the next, so too will the most creative Instagram ads be shared across the network. And for this reason, it will certainly be in advertisers’ best interests to be as creative as possible.

From today, any business with a credit card could essentially run an ad campaign via Instagram in much the same way that it is done on Facebook. What this means is that brands now have the ability to distribute their content, which may have been created some time ago, across the ad exchange to customers within a specific target market. 

Earlier today, the Spark comms team sent out a publication announcing that the telco had jumped at the opportunity to run a campaign via Instagram.

The company’s first creative effort uses 3D content to the promote the New Samsung Note 5. 

Spark isn’t the first brand to use 3D content, with Jameson also having a bit of fun with the technology in a recent Instagram campaign run in the US market.  

In addition to investing in its first Instagram advertising campaign, Spark has also announced a partnership with digital start-up Mish Guru to manage its Snapchat community. 

Founded in 2014, Mish Guru provides analytics and content management tools for Snapchat, allowing users to manage communication to their followers and to share user-generated content. 

Spark social media marketing manager, Jessica Moloney, believes the product will play a crucial part in managing Spark’s Snapchat community, which now includes 14,000 New Zealanders. 

“Mish Guru provides better insights, which means we can generate better content and – most importantly – we can engage our customers more with content and conversations that are relevant to them,” Maloney says. 

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