Instagram is becoming a vital asset for brand marketers in Australia, according to Instagram brand developer, Sophie Blachford, as more local names to begin sponsored campaigns next month in an effort to boost awareness.
Instagram’s sponsored posts first launched in the US last year, followed by the UK in September. The program started in Australia in October, with 10 brands signing up for the trial including McDonald’s, Ben & Jerry’s, Tourism Queensland, Vegemite, Toyota, Flight Centre, Audi, and Philadelphia Cream Cheese.
Tourism Queensland, Ben & Jerry’s, and Vegemite have begun rolling out sponsored advertising campaigns on the photo sharing app. Next to launch will be electronics retailer, Lenovo, next month.
According to new data by the IAB Nielsen Mobile Panel pilot study, one out of every three minutes spent on mobile in Australia is on either Facebook, Instagram, or WhatsApp.
“The early results are incredibly promising that Instagram is going to a be a really vital asset for brand marketers in Australia,” Blachford said at Instagram’s Branding Beyond Words event in Sydney.
Ben & Jerry’s
Since joining the trial to promote ice cream flavour, ‘Chubby Hubby’, Ben & Jerry’s Australia has gained more than 10,000 new followers on Instagram.
“It was really important that these images flowed naturally into users’ newsfeed. We wanted to enhance, not clutter their content mix,” Kalli Swaik, brand manager of Ben & Jerry’s Australia, said.
Ben & Jerry’s Australia is yet to see the final results of the promotion, however, in the US, Ben & Jerry’s campaign for its ‘Scotchy, Scotch, Scotch’ flavour reached 9.8 million people, recorded a 33 point lift in ad recall, and saw a 17 per cent increase in brand awareness about the new flavour.
While the photo sharing app is in line with the brand’s offering and is a platform its target market frequently uses, Swaik says Ben & Jerry’s is still a relatively unknown brand in Australia.
“We don’t go after the mass media channels so it can be quite a challenge to communicate that unique proposition to the Australian public,” Swaik said.
“So far, we have focused on our product and a bit about our brand. The next step for us would be to find an exciting way for us to tell our social mission stories through this platform.”
For Australia’s much loved spread, Vegemite, joining Instagram was a “natural progression”.
Vegemite’s senior brand manager, Justin Taylor, says the brand is aiming for 50 per cent of its global media budget to be spent in digital and social by 2016.
“As a business we are looking to move forward in digital,” Taylor said.
Vegemite, which sells 22 million jars a year in Australia, has nearly 5000 Instagram followers and around 66,000 Vegemite related images can be found on the app.
“The Instagram community is highly engaged, they’re actually seeking out inspiration,” Taylor said.
“I think that’s what makes Instagram different to other channels in that consumers are actually going into Instagram looking to be involved in the imagery that they’re seeing and the brands that they’re following,” he said.
For its first campaign, Vegemite aimed to show consumers how it can provide Australians with “energy and vitality”.
“The key part for a brand to be successful on Instagram is for the brand to feel like it belongs and add some value into the consumer experience,” Taylor said.
“We are actually in every cupboard in Australia, our challenge is how do we remind Australians to pull that jar out and eat us, because if they’re not eating us, they’re not buying.
“That’s what our single focus as a brand is, reminding Australians of their love of Vegemite, finding reasons to eat us everyday and not be forgotten.”
Lenovo will launch its first sponsored campaign on Instagram next month in a bid to boost its presence in Australia, competing against the likes of Samsung and Apple.
“For us, it was all about building a brand really quickly, engaging with a young audience, and showing some ‘wow’ technology,” Nick Reynolds, CMO, Lenovo Asia-Pacific, said of Lenovo’s campaign.
“Most people in Australia don’t know that Lenovo is the number one PC company in the world. We’re number three in tablets, and number three in smartphones,” Reynolds said.
In Australia, Lenovo products are stocked at retailers including JB Hi-Fi and Harvey Norman.
Reynolds says the company’s local marketing strategy is “digital and social first”, with Lenovo investing around 70 per cent of its marketing budget on digital and social advertising for its local operations.
“For us, Instagram is part of the puzzle in targeting the market that we think is a priority, which is 18 to 24 year olds – people that care about fashion, people that care about music and technology.
“I know those people go and tell on average eight to 10 people per month what technology they should go and buy. They’re the innovators, they’re the leaders, they’re the influences.”