It looks like Instagram is about to get a whole lot more crowded—and we’re not just talking about influencers and meme accounts. Earlier this week, it was reported that the Facebook-owned platform is planning to ramp up its number of ads, with a particular focus on augmented reality (AR) ads. This move comes as no surprise to those of us in the marketing world; after all, Facebook has long been known for its aggressive ad tactics. But what does this mean for marketers? Let’s take a closer look.
On Tuesday, Meta announced it is testing “new ways for advertisers to reach customers in a range of ways based on how they are spending their time,” the company said in a statement. What does that mean? Well, according to the statement, Meta is testing post-loop ads—4 to 10-second skippable and standalone video ads that play after a reel has ended. In other words, those annoying videos that you see on Facebook that keep looping even after you’ve watched them all the way through? Yeah, now there could be ads in between those, too!
But wait, it gets even better! According to Reuters, Meta previously partnered with augmented reality (AR) companies Modiface and PerfectCorp in March, to help beauty and cosmetic brands more easily run 3D and AR advertising. So not only will you have to sit through an ad even after you’ve already seen the video all the way through once, but that ad could be in 3D!
More Ads Means More Competition
The first and most obvious consequence of Instagram increasing its number of ads is that there will be more competition for viewing space. With more brands fighting for attention in users’ feeds, organic reach is likely to take a hit. So, what can marketers do to combat this?
One way to cut through the noise is to create ads that are truly unique and impossible to scroll past. AR ads are one way to accomplish this; by allowing users to interact with the content in a fun and novel way, you can increase the likelihood that your ad will stick in their mind (and hopefully convert them into a paying customer). Of course, creating an effective AR ad requires both time and money, so this may not be an option for all brands.
Think Carefully About Your Target Audience
Another important consideration for marketers is choosing the right target audience for their ads. With more brands advertising on Instagram, it’s more important than ever to make sure you’re targeting the right people with your message. Luckily, Instagram’s robust targeting options make it easy to zero in on your ideal customer. When choosing your target audience, think carefully about who you want to reach and what kinds of messages are most likely to resonate with them. By taking the time to segment your audience and customize your ads accordingly, you can improve your chances of driving results—even in a crowded feed.
Augmented reality (AR) is an increasingly popular technology that allows users to interact with digital content in the real world. By bringing ads to life with AR, Instagram is giving marketers a powerful new tool to reach their audience. With AR ads, users can test products, try on makeup, and even preview vacation destinations before booking—all without leaving the app. And since AR is still a relatively new technology, it’s likely that users will be more engaged with AR ads than traditional ads.
These AR ads will be available in both users’ feed and Stories in the app, and will be built using the Spark AR platform. This will allow users to interact with the ad content in a variety of ways, including testing out various positions to fit virtual furniture in their homes, or trying to drive a car in the app.
What Does This Mean for Facebook’s Revenue?
It’s no secret that Facebook’s revenue has been declining in recent years. In fact, the company has missed Wall Street expectations for three quarters in a row. One reason for this decline is that younger users are spending less time on Facebook and more time on Snapchat and Instagram. So it makes sense that Facebook would want to increase ad revenue on its subsidiary platforms.
Only time will tell whether Instagram’s new AR ads will be successful. But one thing is certain: Facebook is feeling the pressure to increase ad revenue as its user base declines and trust in the company wavers. For marketers, this means that now is the time to experiment with AR advertising—before your competition does.