Instagram Advertising Research: Video Ads Take the Lead in Q1 2016 [REPORT]

In January, we released research on Brand Networks’ Instagram ad data over the final six months of 2015.

Now that another quarter has come and gone, we’re back with another Instagram advertising research report to look at the results from Q1 2016.  

Below is a quick summary of our findings, including a few charts that can be found in more detail in the full report.

Instagram Ads in Q1 2016: A Few Key Highlights

Advertising Growth Led By Video Content

After serving 200M Instagram ad impressions in Q3 2015 and 1.37B in Q4 2015, Brand Networks witnessed continued growth in Instagram impressions served as the total climbed to 2.2B in Q1 2016. Most notably, video ad impressions surged to unexpected heights. In January, 43% of Brand Networks-served impressions were video ads. In February, that number jumped to 59%, and in March an impressive 65% of total Instagram impressions served were video ads. This is tremendous growth when compared to Q4 2015, where December video ads represented just over 30% of the total.

See video take the lead over other ad impressions (photo content) below:

Screen Shot 2016-05-17 at 5.31.41 PM

Average Costs Decreased, CPMs Reach All-Time Average Low

Following a rise in demand and price headed into the 2015 holidays, average cost-per 1,000 impressions (CPM) dropped to a new low of $4.58 in January, based on Brand Networks’ findings. That drop continued into February as an all-time average low CPM of $3.88 presented itself, offering advertisers across industries improved cost-efficiency on Instagram. Average CPM grew slightly in March, bringing the average to $4.19 for the month. Overall, average CPM dropped from $7.04 in H2 of 2015 to $4.16 in Q1 of 2016.

View this improved CPM performance below:

Screen Shot 2016-05-17 at 5.38.37 PM

Real-Time Event Marketing Drives New Industries to Instagram

Leading the new class of 2016 Instagram adopters is the telecommunications vertical. In Q1, this industry competed for sports-fan impressions as college football and basketball wrapped up, paying a premium in January and March, respectively. This was also the first year in which advertisers could integrate Instagram advertising into their Super Bowl marketing strategies. Instagram augmented many TV-based advertising campaigns in Q1, helping brands increase their reach at a much lower CPM.

Based on performance gains witnessed in this time period, we expect to see brands integrate additional second-screen experiences on Instagram in tandem with real-time advertising opportunities like sporting events and primetime broadcasts as 2016 progresses. In particular, we expect to see a spike in spend on Instagram during the 2016 Summer Olympics.


View our press release here, and be sure to download the full report for the in-depth results.

Instagram Ads: The Rise of Video
A Look at Q1 2016 Performance Across Industries