While Kendall Jenner still possesses Instagram’s most-liked photo, the White House might be catching up. A decades-old ban on photography inside the residence was lifted today, and visitors rushed to post photos on Instagram – a sign that the platform has successfully pervaded American culture.
As Instagram has gained in popularity, it has devoted more space to ads, according to L2’s Insight Report Instagram: Advertising. When the platform launched ads in 2013, it promised to “start slow” in order not to interrupt the user experience. Only a select few brands were permitted to advertise on the platform, like Michael Kors, Lexus and Ben & Jerry’s. The ads themselves were costly, requiring companies to pay at least $350,000 and up to $1 million.
Last month, however, Instagram announced that it would open up advertising to all brands. The news followed previous accommodations for advertisers, such as launching autoplay video ads and multi-photo “carousel” ads that can be swiped through in addition to improved targeting capabilities.
The changes reflect the fact that ads have become an integral source of profit for Instagram, which brought in $700 million in revenue last year and is projected to make $5.8 billion by 2020. Ads on the platform have a demonstrated effectiveness, with a recall rate nearly three times higher than Nielsen’s average for online advertising. Sponsored ads on Instagram are also substantially more effective than organic posts: an organic post by Coca-Cola had about 14,000 likes, while the same post as a sponsored ad had more than 183,000.