Facebook-owned Instagram is stepping up its presence across India by roping in more content creators and empowering influencers on its platform. It feels it can boost commerce on the platform in this way.
During the fourth quarter (Q4) earnings call, Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg said that commerce and payments were key focus areas for the company and its goal was to make sure every small business has the same opportunity and access to sophisticated tools that only big firms have had access to historically.
To further its presence, Instagram has rolled out the Born On Instagram initiative, which helps influencers and users on its platforms better leverage the app and hone their storytelling capabilities. The programme is being rolled out in 15 cities across the country.
Asked if the aim was to promote commerce and brand sales by leveraging the platform, Manish Chopra, head of partnerships at Facebook India, said, “For us, these influencers and content creators are like micro-entrepreneurs whom we can mentor. Brands can connect with them via the platform. Brands can also advertise on Instagram and get loyal users”.
Zuckerberg, in the call, noted that Pura Vida — a jewelry company based in San Diego — ran ads on Facebook and Instagram for a 50 per cent discount, and sold more than 300,000 bracelets within nine days.
Instagram Stories is another front that Facebook is bullish on. As of December 2019, Stories had 4 million advertisers globally, double the number from December 2018.
The platform claimed that Bombas, a sock and apparel company, used Instagram Stories to show people wearing their socks while ice skating and gift wrapping, which resulted in a 60 per cent increase in purchases from people under the age of 35.
In Q4, the total consolidated number of ad impressions served across Facebook’s services increased by 31 per cent, while the average price per ad decreased by 5 per cent. Impressions growth was driven primarily by Facebook News Feed, Instagram Stories, and Instagram Feed.
According to Dave Wehner, Facebook’s chief financial officer, the year-on-year decline in average price per ad was primarily driven by the ongoing mix shift towards ads on Instagram Stories and in geographies that monetise at lower rates.
Last year, Instagram rolled out Branded Content Ads, which allow advertisers to reach out to audiences.
In the call, Zuckerberg had said that on the payments front, Facebook was focusing on different places with different products.
“For things like Instagram, and even a lot of what we’re doing on Facebook, it’s a lot more developed countries; for WhatsApp, it’s the biggest countries on WhatsApp. So that’s countries like India and Mexico and Brazil and Indonesia, which will make up a large part of the community on WhatsApp,” Zuckerberg said.