Why Offering Self-Service Carousel Ads Could Attract More Marketers to Instagram

Lift in ad recall looks promising

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Touting strong early performances of its Carousel ads, Instagram has opened up the option to buy the multiphoto campaigns through its self-service interface. Carousel lets marketers use up to five still images in a single ad. Viewers can swipe through them like virtual magazine pages.

Instagram, which launched the offering in March, said multiphoto endeavors on average drive an additional 2.5-point lift in ad recall. If that kind of performance holds true, expect more brands to dip their toes in the expanding pool of Instagram marketing options. Carousel ads, which are sold on a bid-auction basis and are available through the company's Ads API, Power Editors and Ads Manager, can likely be tested for a reasonable amount of money.

"By opening up the way advertisers can buy, businesses of all sizes around the world now have more flexible targeting, call-to-action button options and can customize their offsite links to help drive maximum return," according to an Instagram blog post.

Lance Neuhauser, CEO at social-data company 4C, added, "We've already seen strong demand and success on Instagram with brand advertisers given the engaging nature of the platform. It's right up there with TV in terms of visual impact so running campaigns using apples-to-apples metrics makes a lot of sense." 

Along with the new option for Carousel, the quickly growing social media app has added tools for advertisers to buy against reach and frequency. Marketers can now also optimize ad delivery to increase conversion rates.

In the next few weeks, businesses will also have the option of running Instagram ads using Facebook's Ad Manager.

@martyswant martin.swant@adweek.com Marty Swant is a former technology staff writer for Adweek.