Yesterday, Instagram announced that it's expanding options for advertisers with new carousel ad units. The new ads allow advertisers to assemble multiple photos together in sequenced stories that let users swipe left to learn more about the product or brand.
The last photo in the series is accompanied by a "Learn More" button with a link to a website of the brand’s choice that will open in an internal browser within Instagram.
In their announcement, Instagram explains that last year they heard from marketers who wanted more advertising options. Up until now links inside Instagram have been unclickable giving rise to the "link in my bio" approach that businesses have been using as a workaround. Allowing in-app clickability on ads is a move that some believe is Instagram's attempt to court ecommerce brands.
Last year we reported that social discovery commerce is on the rise and that over 50% of all ecommerce traffic is now coming from mobile devices. So it should come as no surprise that businesses are hungry to tap into visual social networks like Instagram and Pinterest and use them as a way to drive measurable traffic and sales back to their own websites.
There's no doubt marketers and advertisers will come up with clever ways to take advantage of the new carousel functionality incentivizing users to "swipe left". For example, Instagram suggests that "a fashion company could use the carousel to deconstruct the individual products in a ‘look.’" Another approach might be to force users to swipe left to reveal a discount code or the image itself.
Right now Instagram is introducing the new ad format on a limited basis. We'll be sure to let you know as soon as they become available to everyone.