Instagram Debuts Slideshows for Advertisers

Instagram has been tiptoeing into the world of mobile advertising since 2013, wary of rocking the boat and upsetting its 300 million users and counting. But today, Instagram announced a major change to its advertising strategy with the introduction of slideshow ads.

The new ad format, which the company calls “carousel,” will allow advertisers to post several photos at once for users to flick through. But perhaps more critically, these ads will also allow advertisers to link to websites outside of Instagram where users can learn more about their brands. This is something that brands, hoping to translate “likes” into real world purchases, have always craved but never had access to on Instagram. Now they do. And for Instagram, it makes it much easier to demonstrate the effectiveness of its ads to other potential advertisers.

At the same time, the question remains whether this product could make it more difficult for brands that use Instagram but don’t buy ads on it, to get noticed. A similar tension arose when Facebook, Instagram’s parent company began tweaking its News Feed algorithms in a way that seemed to prioritize advertisements over regular posts from brands and businesses. It’s a change that left many companies with no choice but to begin buying access to their own followers through ads or risk watching their so-called “organic” reach continue to slide.

But if slideshows are successful, it’s hard to see how brands that don’t advertise won’t find themselves at a disadvantage. If all goes according to Facebook’s plan, they’ll find themselves with little choice but to become paying customers, whether they “like” the idea or not. In the meantime, Instagram hasn’t said whether slideshows will ever be an option for regular users. But if the company is trying to sell the new format to advertisers as a premium option, chances are they won’t be available to the rest of us anytime soon.”

3 thoughts on “Instagram Debuts Slideshows for Advertisers

  1. kkprice says:

    I hope this (potential advertising) doesn’t ruin the social media site. There was a time when trolling Facebook and Twitter used to be enjoyable and fun. But, then the news feeds become saturated with garbage that I’m not really interested in seeing. I moved more to Instagram from Facebook for that reason. Some brands will figure out how to handle this new functionality well without being a nuisance. But, others won’t.


    • tefayak says:

      I rarely troll Facebook on a desktop, so advertising is generally grouped so I can move on quickly. Considering Instagram, I had the app, but when they made a policy change, that they own my photographs, I jumped off the site and have never been back. Personally, since I haven’t seen the feed in a long time, I wonder if it will turn others off?


      • kkprice says:

        Hi, Tina – I am extremely skeptical of the covert snooping that is going on. It is probably by and large all well and good. However, it is my data and my life. I shouldn’t have to “opt out” of stuff. Rather, I should have to “opt in” if I so choose (and understand the risks). It’s a shame because I think all social media started out with good intentions, but then somewhere along the way, everything becomes blurred or compromised. We tend to ruin really, really good things.


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