Instagram Ad Plans Highlight Facebook’s Q2 2015 Earnings Call

Facebook held its second-quarter earnings call after market close Wednesday, and chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg spent a healthy chunk of time discussing advertising on Instagram.

Facebook held its second-quarter earnings call after market close Wednesday, and chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg spent a healthy chunk of time discussing advertising on Instagram.

The social network provided some general usage stats, saying in an email that users are spending an average of 46 minutes per day on Facebook, Messenger and Instagram, and adding that the end-quarter total of 1.49 billion monthly active users represented one-half of the world’s online population.

Facebook added that 65 percent of its users return daily, and that 450 million of its users actively use events, creating more than 16 million events each month, and that its groups feature is used by 850 million people per month.

Co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg shared much of that information in his opening remarks during Wednesday’s earnings call:

Several products in the Facebook application are reaching global scale, too, now with more than 450 million people using events each month and more than 850 million people using groups. And when it comes to time spent across Facebook, Messenger and Instagram, people are now spending more than 46 minutes per day on average, and that doesn’t include WhatsApp.

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As for Instagram ads, Sandberg mentioned during her opening remarks that more advertisers will gain access “over the coming months,” with new features and better targeting, as well, and she also responded to two analysts’ questions on the subject.

During her opening remarks, Sandberg said:

We continue to make progress with ads on Instagram. In the second quarter, we launched Instagram ads in Brazil, Germany and Japan. We also introduced additional capabilities for marketers, including carousel ads on Instagram, which brands are using in creative ways–for example to showcase a spring fashion collection, gradually reveal a full panorama or show different views of a location. Over the coming months, Instagram ads will be available to more advertisers with new formats, better targeting and the ability to buy online, as well as through third-party planners. As we ramp Instagram ads, we remain focused on quality and relevance to ensure the best experience for people and the highest performance for marketers. And as always, our highest focus is on the consumer experience with Instagram.

When pressed for more details by JPMorgan Securities analyst Douglas Anmuth, Sandberg responded:

On Instagram, we are opening up to more advertisers. I talked about some of our global rollouts in the past quarter. We’re also opening up more capabilities, which means more formats like direct response, more ways to buy, like self-serve. That said, and it’s important to understand this: While we think there’s a lot of interest and great opportunity, we’re going to be really thoughtful and strategic about how we ramp revenue. Instagram remains small relative to Facebook, and it’s going to really take time to have significant impact on our growth.

Goldman Sachs analyst Heather Bellini asked Sandberg later in the call:

I just wanted to ask a little bit more about as you start to speak with more advertisers on the Instagram opportunity, how are you and they thinking about the differences in how they’ll engage with their customers across both platforms? And I guess what I’m getting at is do you see Instagram targeting a different type of advertiser, or do you expect people to leverage both platforms and almost think of them as kind of separate areas to budget for?

Sandberg replied:

I think one of the things that’s interesting about Instagram is while the ads are really visually appealing–and that brings to mind certain verticals like fashion or autos, things where the visual really matters–what we’re seeing is that lots of different verticals can use the platform really well. So a recent example, HTC working with its agency, Swift, did Instagram videos to raise awareness of its mobile device warranty program. So it targeted 18- to 34-year-olds, and it did five short videos with these funny moments of where you’re about to break your phone, and it got a six point lift in awareness of what is a warranty program. I think that’s not something you would think of typically as Instagram.