Instagram has announced that it's adding a new ad unit to its Explore feed. Kind of.
As explained by Instagram:
"We’re introducing ads in Explore slowly and thoughtfully in the coming months. After tapping on a photo or video in Explore, people may begin to see ads as part of their browsing experience just like in the main feed."
Here's an example of how it works - when you tap into an image in the Explore feed, you're taken to a separate listing of related posts (the first two examples in the sequence below). Within that separate stream, as you scroll through, you may also now be shown a related ad (last frame).
So it's not like you're going to start seeing ads popping up all over your Explore feed directly. But indirectly, within specific, chosen listings, there's a new place that Instagram can now show you ad content.
Instagram says this is an opportunity for advertisers to "be part of what’s culturally relevant and trending, while reaching new audiences who are looking to discover something new". Advertisers will be able to extend their on-platform ad campaigns to Explore by using automatic placements and opting into the new 'Explore' option.
Given that more than half of Instagram's billion monthly active users visit Explore each month, there's definitely opportunity there, and it may be another way to generate additional exposure, and reach people likely to be interested in your products.