This seems like an interesting shift at Facebook.
As reported by AdWeek, Instagram will now allow new advertisers in some regions to create Instagram ad campaigns without having to link to a Facebook Page.
As per Instagram:
"You can now create Instagram ads without having a presence on Facebook. If you are promoting a post from your Instagram business account for the first time, you won’t have to connect to a Facebook ad account or Facebook Page."
The key proviso here being 'for the first time' - most Instagram advertisers have already connected their profile to Facebook Ad Manager, as has been required, and those businesses won't now have to option to disconnect their Instagram profile from their Facebook Page, and still have the capacity to run ads.
Businesses that do choose to run their ads on Instagram only obviously won't have the capacity to manage such via their Facebook ad account. Instead, they'll have to run their ad campaign, and track ad performance, on Instagram direct.
To promote your Instagram Post independent of Facebook, businesses will need to:
- Go to your profile
- Tap the post you'd like to promote
- Below the post's image, tap 'Promote'
- Fill in the details of your promotion by setting things like 'Destination' (where to send people), 'Audience' (who you want to reach), 'Budget' (how much you want to spend daily) and 'Duration' (how long you want your promotion to run). Tap 'Next' once you've completed these details
- To complete your promotion, tap 'Create Promotion' under 'Review'
Instagram notes that the option will only be available to new Instagram advertisers in the US and Turkey at this stage.
Facebook has seemingly spent years working to ensure business Instagram and Facebook accounts are linked, and that any promotions are run through a centralized platform.
So why the change in direction?
As AdWeek notes, some have speculated that the recent backlash against The Social Network over its failure to address concerns around hate speech is behind this new update.
Last week, a coalition of civil rights groups in the US called on major advertisers to pause their Facebook ad spend in July, in order to send a message to the company that its lack of action is not good enough.
The North Face was the first major brand to join the cause - but as many commentators noted, The North Face didn't initially plan to also suspend its Instagram advertising campaigns in line with its commitment (it's since announced that it will suspend its ads on both platforms).
That highlights a potential reason for this split - if Facebook starts seeing backlash over its policy decisions, maybe Instagram doesn't have to lose out by association, even though both are owned by Facebook.
Instagram told AdWeek that this was not the reason for the change, noting that it's been in development for months.
Still, it's hard to imagine any other logic behind the option, especially, as noted, given Facebook has pushed advertisers towards linking their Facebook and Instagram presences for so long. There are significant benefits for Facebook in establishing such links, including improved data tracking, targeting benefits, integrated functionality, etc. Splitting them seems like a lot more back-end work - but then again, maybe Facebook is simply looking to ensure that it's able to maximize ad dollars by removing Facebook Page connection as a requirement.
Either way, it's only available in the US and Turkey, and there's no word on any further planned expansion at this stage.