Scrolling through my Instagram feed a few days ago, my eyes were suddenly caught by a strange, and unexpected image: a defective sesame seed bun, held in the hand of, I assumed, one of my friends that I follow. On closer inspection my eyebrows went up to see that the top of the post said McDonalds and on the right hand side was the word: Sponsored.
While my first reaction was a bit of confusion and annoyance that Instagram thought I wanted to see this sponsored post, these ads on social media are nothing new and really not all that surprising. In fact, they will continue to increase as people continue installing all kinds of ad blocking software on their computers and ignoring emails.
And these sponsored posts are perfect for brands that are really embracing the social media platforms they have a presence on. This is part of why content is king: users don't want to see highly promotional and obnoxious ad, instead they want to interact with content that is creative and full of personality. Something clever and fun that is designed specifically for Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram advertising.
Take a peek at what Instagram served me:
"Do you see what we seed?" is the caption line, and the rather disgusting looking sesame seed bun resembles a soccer in honor of the World Cup.
Instagram has only allowed a few advertiser to purchase ad space, and has been very slow and methodical about putting Instagram ads in place. Perhaps this is why an Instagram ad was such a surprise to me. Plus, the image looks like something any friend would post if they found such a strange looking bun on their Big Mac.
Thinking about purchasing Instagram advertising?
Think again. Reportedly one month of advertising can cost up to $500,000. Plus Instagram is picky (as they should be) and only allows high quality images to be served to users. Although I'm not sure how the McDonald's post falls into this category. But this idea is just how online advertising should be: seamless content that blends in as something that you would interact with if a friend had posted it. It should be creative and interesting and ultimately provide value to those who see it.
Visual content may be a new world for you, but it is definitely one that is dominating web marketing with the rise of Pinterest, Instagram, and even the visual aspects of Facebook and Twitter. It can definitely bring a great deal of value to your marketing strategy.