Instagram never allowed URLs to open until now. It wanted people browsing photos, not the web. But Instagram says its advertisers demanded more vivid ways to influence people who “lead to meaningful results for their businesses.”
Brands want measurable impact, not to be breezed by. Meanwhile, Instagram new ads court e-commerce companies that need people to click-through and buy, and big-ticket advertisers like car companies that require more than a single image to show off their product.
So for the first time, Instagram will start showing clickable links, but only in its new multi-photo carousel ads that can tell a story by letting you swipe through four branded images in sequence. The new “Learn More” button that houses these links will open a URL in an internal browser within Instagram that allows you to quickly jump back to the feed with a tap of the top bar.
“It’s a great new creative canvas,” Instagram monetization lead James Quarles tells me. You can see how the clickable carousel ads look and work in this video.
Above you’ll see a carousel for Pencils Of Promise, a non-profit that builds schools. A single photo might have been easy to scroll by. But if someone is interested, they can swipe through to see more photos of the students the organization helps, and at the end, click through the Learn More button to donate.
For now, these ads will just include photos, but Instagram is considering whether to allow videos in carousels too. It will also watch user reactions to the multi-shot format to determine whether users should get the option to share carousels as well.
Sequenced Stories have been a hit on Snapchat, and Instagram might want to open a similar creative medium to everyone. That could help it fix “The Unfiltered Feed Problem” where over-sharers you follow drown out people you care most about. Instead, shutter-happy users could pile multiple photos into a single carousel rather than flooding the feed.