In many ways, Apple, Google, and Facebook are the Big Three of Silicon Valley, although companies like Amazon and Twitter might disagree. Earlier this year, Apple drew a line in the digital sand when it announced that some ad blocking software would be allowed on its operating system and devices.
In response, Google announced a major initiative to speed up mobile web browsing. Many ad-blocking users report slow load times as their reason for using the service in the first place. Now, Instagram — acquired by Facebook in 2012 — is tackling ad blocking on a different front.
On Tuesday, November 10, Instagram reported that it would work with 41 separate marketing partners to improve the advertising experience on its app.
In some ways, commercials and advertisements are the green vegetables of the media world. Whether they’re on TV, radio, streaming services, or your smartphone, few consumers enjoy consuming advertisements. While some advertisers might like to treat ad blocking consumers like children who won’t eat their veggies — by shoving the ads down their throat — Instagram is taking the spoonful of sugar approach.
While some consumers do use ad blocking, digital advertising is increasing in both efficacy and total revenue in 2015. One study found that up to 65-70% of consumers have visited a store after seeing a local search ad online, and online political advertising is expected to play a bigger role than ever in the upcoming 2016 election. By making advertisements more palatable to its users, Instagram can charge more for access to its platform. In effect, Facebook and Instagram want users to eat their veggies (and like it).
“[The marketing partners] help solve a wide variety of business challenges — whether it’s driving more installs for a new mobile gaming app, or driving in-store foot-traffic during the holidays,” reads a new Instagram blog post. “We have partners available to help drive both brand and performance objectives across a wide range of businesses.”
And that’s just the beginning; Instagram plans to work with at least 100 different marketing partners to improve ad campaign management, user experience, ad engagement, and content marketing.
Riding a wave of increased digital advertising and higher mobile use in general, Instagram reached two major milestones this year as a company. The Instagram app now has more than 400 million active users, and according to Director of Marketing Operations Jim Squires, Facebook and Instagram combined account for one in every five minutes spent on a mobile device around the world.
Facebook has every reason to take a proactive approach to negating the effects of ad blockers. In Facebook’s most recent third-quarter earnings report, the company reported mobile revenue of $3.4 billion, or 78% of Facebook’s entire advertising operations.