Instagram Brings Ad Campaigns More Focus With New Analytic Tools

Marketers Can Track Posts' Performance in Real Time

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Instagram's new tools give brands a clearer look at their accounts
Instagram's new tools give brands a clearer look at their accounts

Marketers are about to get a clearer look into their Instagram campaigns.

Starting on Thursday, Instagram will begin letting some marketers check out how their posts are performing in real time, including more detailed measurements, accompanied by a new tool to collaborate on creative with Instagram's team.

Instagram, the photo-sharing service owned by Facebook, rolled out its first ads late last year, aiming squarely at top marketers looking to raise brand awareness with visually appealing content. But marketers have had a limited view of who sees either their ads or unpaid Instagram posts, not to mention whether those photos are boosting their brands.

"Up until now if you run a campaign with us, we'll check in every couple days and let you know how thing are going," said Jeff Kanter, ads product manager at Instagram. "But there's no tool for people to log into to get a real-time sense of what's happening."

Instagram's three new marketing analytics tools will be initially available only to current and previous Instagram advertisers, but they will be extended to more advertisers later this year. Instagram has been testing the tools with a handful of marketers including Banana Republic.

The new tools are designed to make sure the quality of ads on Instagram are high as the photo-sharing service brings on more advertisers. "The doors are definitely open for large brands. We're talking to many more brands. Our hope is that these tools help us scale to work with more advertisers," Mr. Kanter said.

Mr. Kanter declined to specify how many advertisers have run campaigns, or how many campaigns they've run. He said the number of advertisers is "in the dozens" and includes Taco Bell, Ben & Jerry's and Hollister.

The first of the three new tools is called Account Insights. Similar to Facebook's Page Insights tool, the dashboard details a marketer's Instagram activity outside any ad program, tracking impressions, reach and engagement for a brand's unpaid posts. It also reports aggregated stats about an account's follower base and activity, such as the best times of day or week to post and audience demographics, including age, gender, top countries and languages.

The Ad Insights tool covers much of the same ground but for the posts that marketers pay to promote on Instagram. It also tracks a campaign's status so marketers can see how much of the campaign budget has been spent to date and how many of the impressions purchased have been reached.

And the Ad Staging tool creates a place for marketers to preview campaigns before submitting them to Instagram's team for review. Best described as a creative sandbox, a brand's team and its agency can upload photos; add captions and location information; see a mock-up of the post; and solicit feedback from each of its members. Once that's all been hashed out, they can send the post over to Instagram's internal team, who will review it and approve it to run on the service.

Importantly, the Ad Staging tool unshackles marketers from having to create Instagram campaigns on their smartphones by allowing them to upload content from their desktop computers. "The big marketers we work with are still operating on desktop," Mr. Kanter said. "Asking a large business to think about ad campaigns and operate entirely on mobile is pretty challenging."

All three tools can only be accessed through a desktop web browser.

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