Instagram ads launch in UK: Cadbury, Starbucks and Waitrose among first to sign up

23/09/2014

Facebook-owned photo sharing app Instagram has launched its ads in the UK with an initial partnership with Omnicom Media Group.

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Seven brands managed by Omnicom Media Group agencies Manning Gottlieb OMD, OMD, and PHD have become the first to roll out ads in users’ Instagram feeds on the mobile app.

The first brands advertising on the platform are Starbucks, Cadbury, Channel 4, Rimmel, Estee Lauder, Sony Music and Waitrose.

The new ad platform appears as sponsored photos and videos in Instagram's main feed, identified with a sponsored label.

The hope is that they’ll be of an exceptional quality and feel like native content, which users are then happy to interact with in their feed.

'Premium brand environment'

Waitrose’s first Instagram campaign in the UK will be based on its “Love Food” promotion, with shots of “deliciously messy” cookery according to Quarles.

Meanwhile, Rimmel London will be running a campaign based on images of women putting on make-up with the help of reflective surfaces, from mirrors to windows, while Channel 4 will be promoting two of its new TV series.

“We want ads on Instagram to be as engaging and high-quality as the experience of flipping through a favourite magazine,” James Quarles, Global Head of Business and Brand Development at Instagram said.

Instagram is pitching itself as a “premium brand environment” comparable to magazines, reflected in the US by reported prices of anywhere between $350k and $1m for a month-long campaign.

Users can hide ads they do not like, and provide feedback about what they didn’t feel was right.
Comments will be moderated, with profanity filters hiding inappropriate comments.

Advertising is the first attempt by Instagram to monetise its hugely successful photo and video-sharing service.

In March, advertising industry site Ad Age reported that Instagram had struck a year-long deal worth up to $100m with agency group Omnicom. The first seven brands launching Instagram ads in the UK are all managed by Omnicom-owned agencies.

The company has been deliberate in its roll-out, starting in the US with only “occasional” ads in its feed.

As in the US, Instagram has run a “house ad” in the week leading up to the first ads’ appearance, explaining its plans and showing “an example of what an ad on Instagram looks like”.

Instagram confirmed back in June that it would also bring ads to Canada and Australia. The exact timing for those regions is still unknown.

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