The photo sharing network has always touted high standards for the advertisements it allows brands to post on users’ feeds. So what’s up with this Sprint ad?
When the company opened up the platform to advertisers in 2013, it was a controversial move. But the company assured users that the content would be Instagram-worthy: “Our 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.” They promised “engaging” and “creative” content.
For a while, they delivered. The first ad posted to Instagram was a gold Michael Kors watch laid on a table adorned with coffee and colorful macarons. Although plenty of people griped that the Facebook-owned (FB) network had given in to ads, nearly 100,000 people had “liked” it within the first four hours. One user even commented in support of Instagram ads, adding that the photo was “pretty and not obtrusive.”
But it appears as though Instagram’s standards have changed. As the Verge’s Chris Welch points out, this Sprint (S) ad in particular is neither “engaging” nor “creative.” It’s a simple image of an iPhone superimposed onto a white background. The graphic is no better than a banner ad. As Welch describes it: “mind numbingly boring” and “effortless garbage.” It’s jarring to see among filtered sunsets and #foodporn.
Instagram recently said that it plans to open the app to more advertisers in response to pressure from Facebook investors. Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom once claimed that all approval for advertisements goes through him, something that would be much more difficult to do with what is probably a massive influx of brands looking to market their products.
The platform was previously only open to a select group of U.S. brands. Now any company in over 30 countries can advertise using a “self-serve” option.
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