What’s On

#DigiTales: Instagram’s new ad formats: What’s in it for brands?

Instagram now allows brands and individuals to post full landscape and portrait images and videos.

The first thing that came to my mind when I read this news was Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends report from May 2015. To quote her, “Something funny happened on the way to small screen”, she said in her report. The report continues to present a surprising statistic – every day, on an average people spend 2.9 hours of viewing their phones in vertical orientation! (To give a perspective, TV is at 4.3 hours). The growth in last five years for this vertical viewing has been six times. Looks like vertical viewing is here to stay and poised to grow.

Unlike Orkut and MySpace, successful social media platforms keep reinventing themselves to keep up with today’s generation who get bored easily. YouTube introduced 360 degree videos and more importantly offline videos; Pinterest Cinematic Pins are a delight to watch and the big daddy Facebook, finally started supporting GIF – the most loved meme format of today. In this logical order of things, Instagram promptly ‘heard’ their users and have now duly complied to allow posting full—size landscape and portrait images and video.

On a lighter note, just like what they do on YouTube, now we can expect brands to recycle their TVCs on Instagram too!

That being said, here’s a quick sum up of the good and the bad of this new feature:
Serious photographers on Instagram who had previously taken to use apps like Square ready and Cropic can now natively post without the frustration of ‘letterbox effect’, which leaves a dead space on the edges of their pictures.

Life got a lot better for brands, brand managers, and those glamorous models who make a living by posing with energy drinks and fashion accessories on Instagram. The canvas is now better, broader and less restrictive.

Support for landscape is great but with vertical viewing becoming mainstream, thanks to the likes of Periscope, Meerkat and Snapchat, brands have to re-imagine the visuals to appeal to the audience on these platforms. Even if they imagine the concept to fit a vertical canvass, there’s the cost producing content for different platforms.

Not every product fits the vertical orientation, and not every brand has the same sense of humour as Little Caesars Pizza. See the ‘Tap the Bacon Pizza’ video.

In good old days of advertising, we were told to pick the message first and medium later, but with the rapidly changing times, looks like the media is leading the message and brands have no choice but to give in to this change to keep up the people.

(Views expressed in the article are the author’s and do not reflect those of his agency / employer.)

Sreeraman Thiagarajan

Sreeraman Thiagarajan is Vice President at Publicis Beehive.
Search