Instagram has started running its first 60-second video ads, starting with T-Mobile and Warner Brothers. Formerly, the maximum length for video ads was 30 seconds, already longer than the 15-second videos users are allowed to post.
Instagram stated that they recognize that advertisers have a variety of creative resources and want to bring more choice to help them reach their business goals.
With 400 million active users, Facebook is finally getting serious about monetizing Instagram. In September, it began selling ads in 30 more countries, introduced Marquee ads that let brands own a moment with a huge ad blitz, and began offering 30-second video ads.
Essentially, Instagram wants to be able to absorb the shift in ad spend from television to digital. To do that, it can’t force advertisers into proprietary formats and lengths. Otherwise, the requirement to produce special ads just for Instagram could discourage them from running campaigns there. That was the logic behind allowing advertisers to post landscape format clips that are the same shape as the TV ads brands already shoot.
Each big mobile video provider is taking a slightly different approach to video ads. Facebook lets companies run video ads that are as long as they want, but only as full-fledged videos. YouTube has it’s skippable pre-rolls. Twitter lets brands sponsor the delivery of high-quality content from other publishers, like ads before sports highlights. Snapchat has short interstitial video ads in Discover as well as sponsored clips inserted into Live Stories. All of them are trying to figure out how to maximize value for advertisers while minimizing the interruption to their users.
Like its parent Facebook, Instagram is trying to ease people into the idea of ads. For years there were none. Then Instagram introduced simple photo ads with no links, then short 15-second video ads, then clickable photo ads, and then progressively increased the video ad length. Rather than shocking people by suddenly showing full-strength ads, Instagram hopes it can boil the cash out of us frogs by turning up the heat slowly.