What you need to know about Instagram ads in Canada

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On Monday, Instagram began rolling out ads in Canada and has partnered with six key Canadian brands for launch – HBC, Air Canada, Target Canada, Travel Alberta, Sport Chek and Mercedes-Benz, according to a company press release.

The Canadian launch of ads on Instagram comes almost exactly one year after the U.S. market launch and the company claims that it is “pleased with how they are performing.” In the U.S., initially only image-based ads were offered at launch with video ads joining the mix last month. In Canada, both will be an option immediately, though the company only provided examples of image ads from the six launch partners.

The new ads use “beautiful, high-quality photos and videos” and are accompanied by a “sponsored” designation beside the brand’s account name. An example from Travel Alberta features a solo kayaker paddling on a pristine lake against a backdrop of soaring, snow-capped mountains.

Big money in social ads…but not for everyone

According to Statista, total revenue from social media advertising was $10.24 billion in 2013 with a healthy growth expected for this year. But a deeper look at the numbers suggests that not all social networks will be reaping the rewards of this increased spending. A recent report from NetworkWorld.com points to the markedly different financial results being posted by the Big 3 social networks: Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

It would seem that Facebook is raking in a much larger piece of the revenue pie than its competitors, despite impressive audience numbers from both Twitter and LinkedIn.

The secret is likely in the platforms themselves. Instagram (acquired by Facebook in 2012) is clearly following in its parent’s footsteps while trying to avoid upsetting its 200 million monthly users by “rolling out ads in a very slow and carefully controlled way while taking feedback from the community,” the release states.

Advertising activity across social networks is rapidly picking up steam. Yahoo is in the midst of acquiring BrightRoll to beef up its video ad platform, Twitter added video ads to its network in August and the revenue from video ads (both desktop and mobile) is expected to reach $8 billion by 2016.

However, unlike Twitter, which uses separate social network Vine for user-generated video, Instagram lets users add video content to the same feed as their photos, making video ads on the service arguably more compelling for advertisers.

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Simon Cohen

Simon Cohen

Simon Cohen is one of Canada’s most experienced consumer tech writers. He created Sync.ca, an award-winning Canadian technology blog which had an audience of over 500,000 monthly visitors. He covers start-ups and the latest crowdfunding gadgets on VentureBeat.com and has written about the business of getting hired at Workopolis.com. You can always find his personal thoughts and musings on his blog at excitable.ca.
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