Tech Watch: Instagram’s brand developer Sophie Blachford on video in Carousel ads

There’s a lot going on in the world of media. Each week new updates see platforms change and communication habits follow suit. So how can marketers keep up? In a new series we talk to people in the industry about what the updates mean to marketers. This week we look at how Instagram’s Carousel ads have evolved to increase creative expression through video, a feature New Zealand marketers will be able to use on the platform as of next week.  

Ad-serving platform Carousel was launched for Instagram in March last year to help brands share stories through imagery, by allowing up to five images to be included in a single ad post. Users can swipe left to see the additional images and a link to a website of the brand’s choice.

Since its launch, Carousel has proven itself to be better than serving a single static image format by increasing ad recall by 2.5 points. Brand development lead for Instagram Australia and New Zealand Sophie Blachford says it’s because there is more time spent engaging with the ad when there’s up to five images compared to one.

“That allows for richer story telling and we’ve found that’s really linked back to a number of metrics but particularly with ad recall for the brand.”

Over the past year, research has also shown the time people spend watching video on Instagram has increased by more than 40 percent, with Blachford saying there’s been a massive shift, as there has been across other platforms, of people “loving” the consumption of video.

She says the extension of Carousel ads to be programmed for video gives additional creative flexibility to marketers’ storytelling on Instagram and helps businesses reach potential consumers in new ways.

Earlier this year Instagram launched 60 second videos, she says, which further increased flexibility in the platform. Brands can launch video ads between five and 60 seconds long and Carousel will allow up to five to be included in a campaign.

“There will be different ways of story telling, whether it be a sequential message that goes through the Carousel or different products of different natures, we think there’s a lot of ways brands are going to use it.”

“We are in the early testing phases but we are excited to get some measurement and prove what impact video has in the mix as well, which will be great.”

At the moment Carousel’s video feature is only available in North America.

Blachford says Airbnb is using it capture people’s imaginations with videos of different locations and properties while Macy’s is using to break down a traditional TVC and showcase it across a few different sequences.

Already a number of local brands are using Carousel and Blachford says its multi-image features are proving successful for retailers. By including a number of images brands can showcase multiple products in the campaign and present them in different situations, she says.

Carousel video ads:

  • Within this format, advertisers can use up to five videos and photos in combination for richer storytelling.
  • The maximum video length is 60 seconds per each video.
  • Video view metrics will be available per carousel card if there are multiple videos within a unit.

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