Social media has become a prime advertising platform. In 2013, internet advertising exceeded newspaper advertising spending for the first time. This is only expected to increase in the following years. The newest social network to include an ad platform is Instagram and with a community of over 400 million users, it is the largest mobile ad platform.
You have the option of image, video or carousel ads. Videos can be up to 30 seconds long and can be in landscape format. With a carousel ad, users can swipe to see more images and a call to action button takes them to a website to learn more. With Instagram ads, you can send people to important sections of your website, get people to download your app and drive mass awareness to a broad audience.
Just like Facebook ads, Instagram ad targeting allows you to be specific. Beyond the basic categories of location, age and gender, you have the ability to target users by interests and connections. Your target market will have the ads placed directly in front of them. Ads can be set up, run and tracked through Facebook's Power Editor or Instagram's Ad API.
Capital One used a series of sponsored posts as a way to reimage their "What's In Your Wallet?" tagline. They achieved a 16 point increase in ad recall which helped expanded their awareness.
Ben & Jerry's ran ads to build awareness for its brand and their new flavor. They reached 9.8 million people, increased ad recall by 33 points and 17% more people became aware of the new flavor.
These examples and more can be found here. Many brands that use Instagram achieve results 2-3x above Nielson online averages. Instagram said, "We’re excited that advertisers are seeing success driving consumer action with their campaigns—relying on Instagram as an effective and integral part of their marketing strategy. Over the next few months, we’ll continue to bring new advertising solutions and features to businesses everywhere."