Instagram Ads Have Arrived in Indonesia

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Instagram for Business may have been launched in the United States in October 2013 but it has only just landed in Indonesia today, when the company sent out a sponsored post to Indonesian users announcing the imminent arrival of ads on the photo-sharing service.

The post, similar to the one sent out to American Instagram users in 2013, said, “In the coming weeks you will begin to see advertisements on Instagram. Ads will be labeled Sponsored. You can hide ads that you’re not interested in and adjust the types of ads you would like to see”.


By the time we saw the ad, it has already received more than 40,000 likes although when you drill down through the comments, it’s not exactly a rosy picture. There’s lots of negative responses complaining about being forced to see ads everywhere, saying Instagram is going bankrupt, having a bad feeling after the Facebook acquisition, and so on and so forth.

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Native advertising means that ads on Instagram will look just like any other photo or video post but they will be clearly marked as ads. According to the company, the “aim is to make any advertisements you see feel as natural to Instagram as the photos and videos many of you already enjoy from your favorite brands”.

As with native advertising from other networks, Instagram ads don’t necessarily have to be something that’s already been posted. Additionally, these posts will be much richer in content as Instagram allows ads to have multiple images in one post as well as web links.

As for how the company will distribute the ads, it is working with data from Facebook as well as other websites and apps that people visit or use, in addition to Instagram’s own data to determine what sort of ads will be shown to particular demographics so as to ensure relevance to the audience. Instagram also released its advertising API recently allowing select advertising partners to work much more closely with Instagram’s creative tools for advertisers.

While responses from the vocal Indonesian public may have skewed towards disapproval, advertisers in other countries have embraced the platform following positive responses.

Levi’s Instagram ads for example have helped the company to reach 7.9 million Americans and achieve a 24 point lift in ad recall. During the campaign, Instagram delivered two distinct Levi’s ads to 18-34 year olds in the United States and the company was “pleased with the results”.

Mercedes Benz USA couldn’t be happier with Instagram ads. General manager marketing services at Mercedes Benz USA Eric Jillard said, “with branding advertising on both Instagram and Facebook, site visits jumped more than 50%. Combine that with our direct response Facebook campaign and the impact on lift was tenfold”.

Instagram also recently said, “across more than 400 campaigns measured globally with Nielsen Brand Effect, ad recall from sponsored posts on Instagram was 2.8x higher than Nielsen’s norms for online advertising”.

According to Brama Danuwinata, social and engagement lead at VML Qais Indonesia, “Instagram ads have been long awaited by many digital agencies, media agencies, and the brands themselves because previously they could only reach out through Instagram influencers without measurable performance”.

Given the popularity of Instagram among online sellers, Brama thinks that there may well be ads from them as well especially as they would want to increase their reach throughout the Instagram crowd. At this point however, Instagram may choose to work with select advertisers before opening the gates to everyone.

A post by Federal Marcos (yes, that’s his legal name) who goes by @basibanget on Twitter, claims that the first three brands in Indonesia to launch Instagram ads are dining guide company Open Rice, transport company Go-Jek, and online ticket booking site Traveloka.

The three are said to be among the top spenders on Facebook for Business in Indonesia which earned them the privilege to be part of the launch of Instagram for Business for Indonesia.

[header image by AdDiction]