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Instagram Bringing Ads to Explore Tab

Friday July 19, 2019

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Instagram Explore Ads

Instagram’s “Explore” tab is one of the most engaging parts of the image-sharing app: it shows users content that they may enjoy, algorithmically tailored based on photos they’ve engaged with previously. The social media platform announced last month that they plan to introduce ads to this portion of the app “slowly and thoughtfully” over the coming weeks.


Instagram Statistics and Usage

In the U.S., Instagram usage is expected to reach over 117 million people within the next three years, according to recent research. The announcement of ads in the Explore feed means that the Facebook-owned platform can expect its revenue to grow even further beyond the projected $15.7 billion within that time frame.

A majority of users are under the age of 35 (34% are millennials), and 72% of American teens use Instagram, making it the top social media platform for those under 20. There are also users in all income brackets, meaning that there is a market for just about any product at any price point.

The app is used heavily, with over one billion people using it each month, and 22% of all users logging in at least once a day. Of these, more than 50% of accounts use Explore every month. With numbers like these, it’s no wonder that Instagram seeks to capitalize on its rapt user base.


Explore Ads & Your Strategy

Photo and video ads alike will appear among Explore posts with images. Sponsored posts will be integrated seamlessly, easing user transition into the new content. One of the most challenging aspects of app development is avoiding an interruption in user experience while also ensuring that advertised content will be seen.

Instagram has assured its users that they have control over the ads they see, and that advertisers will need to contribute to “what’s culturally relevant and trending while reaching new audiences who are looking to discover something new.” That probably means that low-effort or unoptimized posts won’t see great success on the app.

Because Instagram is a heavily visual platform, companies will need to ensure that their ads are aesthetically pleasing and offer value to potential customers. Video ads in particular will stand out, since the Explore feed algorithmically prioritizes this type of content. Because users spend more time with content on this tab, it is recommended to consider long-form video or engaging captions for ads placed here.

Advertisers may begin placing ads in the Explore feed by opting in to use automatic placements.


Webconsuls is a digital marketing company headquartered in Nashville, TN and Los Angeles, CA.

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Last month, the Wall Street Journal launched an investigation into Google Maps. Their report claims that millions of business listings are completely fake – and that the search engine giant profits from this deception through ad revenue.

In the digital age, Google is the first stop for just about everyone looking for home repairs or locksmithing services, especially if they’re emergent in nature. When a pipe has burst or a key is locked in the house, time is of the essence; homeowners don’t have time to wait for someone to drive across town. For this reason, they’ll probably select the closest repairman in the area. This is the point where fake listings can defraud consumers.


Why Create a Fake Google Listing?

Why would someone bother to create a fraudulent Google Maps listing? There are a few different explanations for these scams. Some businesses will attempt to sabotage competitors by creating poser profiles with the wrong NAP information (name, address, phone). They’ll then intercept customers trying to use the other company’s services or sell these leads to other organizations.

Other times, the motives are even more nefarious. The WSJ tells of one woman who attempted to hire a local repair service she had used before, only to have a scammer turn up in an unmarked van, shoddily repair her garage door, and demand twice the money for the work. “I’m in my house by myself with this guy,” she said. “He could have knocked me over dead.”


Google’s Response

Google has responded to the WSJ report by removing more than 3 million fake listings. They’ve also added new safeguards for “high-risk” businesses – these include repair services and contractors, which customers in emergency situations don’t have the time to research. This isn’t the first time Google has had to cull fake business profiles. Last year, the search engine disabled over 150,000 accounts used to create millions of fake listings. According to Google, over 85% of these removals were flagged by its internal systems, while the remainder were reported by users.

In their blog post response, Google states that “these scammers use a wide range of deceptive techniques to try to game our system – as we shut them down, they change their techniques, and the cycle continues. Although it’s important that we make it easy for legitimate businesses to get their business profiles on Google, we’ve also implemented strict policies and created tools that enable people to flag these issues so we can take action… We can’t share too many details about these efforts without running the risk of actually helping scammers find new ways to beat our systems.”


How You Can Combat Fake Business Listings

Google offers a few different options for those looking to contribute to the fight against fraud. First, learn more about their policies for businesses representing themselves on Google – as well as their information on user-contributed content – to determine whether or not to report businesses for review. Next, you can use the new flagging system to notify the search engine of any suspicious content you see. If you notice multiple fraudulent business profiles or if you are personally affected by such a scam, submit the business redressal form to begin the review process.

Moving forward, be sure to check in on your business’s Google presence regularly. Make sure that there are no poser profiles attempting to redirect your customers and report them if you see them. Make sure that your company information – especially contact info – is current on all platforms, social media included. With awareness and dedication, scammers shouldn’t be a problem for your clients.


Webconsuls is an SEO and digital marketing company with offices in Nashville, TN and Los Angeles, CA.