28th June 2019

POV: Instagram Explore Ads


Instagram has revamped its Explore page to feature a new format of ad and has introduced larger format posts that give preference to e-commerce and video content.

Details and Implications:

Within the Explore page, a user can now tap on a post to see a full-screen version. Instagram will then give users a contextual feed of similar posts that the user can scroll through. Ads will be displayed here in a more natural environment since the Explore page is where a user is looking to be exposed to new people, brands and content.

Advertisers can buy the ads using the same Facebook ads manager and API they use to buy Instagram feed and Stories real estate.

Explore will now also include longer form content versions of IGTV and a shopping feature in the top navigation bar – so users can access shopping directly form the navigation bar.

Users will also start the Explore experience by seeing two new slightly larger format posts within the Explore grid, these posts will be either video or shopping posts – the latter of which will now allow users to purchase without the need to leave the App.

With 80% of Instagram’s 1bn users following a business on the platform and 50% of all accounts using the Explore page every month, the revamped Explore page and ad experiences will give brands and advertisers the ability to tap into a new area of growth under Facebook umbrella.

According to Morgan Stanley analysts, Explore’s new ad rollout programme could bring $1bn in revenue for Facebook by 2021 and it is just the latest move that has seen Facebook looking to monetise its products.

Facebook Interactive Ads were released in May offering ‘playable’ ads through the Facebook Audience Network, the company’s off-Facebook, in-app advertising network for mobile apps.


In 2018 the e-commerce industry surpassed $2.86trn in sales globally and although it’s currently dominated by retail giants such as Alibaba, JD.com and Amazon, Facebook’s push through Instagram to own a bigger slice of this market brings more opportunities for retailers given its 1bn user base.

Also, the recent reveal of Facebook Libra, the Facebook crypto-currency that is due to launch next year, makes any move that Facebook takes to enhance it e-commerce capabilities on any of its platforms worth paying attention to – especially as commerce and media continue to combine across all platforms.

Further Reading:

Instagram | TechCrunch | Tech Radar | Bloomberg

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