Meta is introducing two new tools to Instagram designed to open up additional advertising opportunities as the company struggles with weak advertising demand. The social network has announced that it will begin testing ads in search results to reach people who are actively searching for companies, products and content. Ads appear in the feed that people can scroll when they tap a post in search results.
After the initial testing phase, Meta plans to launch ads in search results worldwide in the coming months. The launch is likely to be an unwelcome addition to the app from a consumer point of view, as it brings ads to yet another part of the social network.
Once the ad placement is rolled out widely, users around the world will start seeing ads related to their searches. For example, if you search for “Skin care”, you will see relevant ads in the search results feed. You can tell the difference between ads and regular posts through the “Sponsored” label under the account name.
Instagram is also launching Reminder Ads, which are designed to make it easier for businesses to announce, remind, and notify people about upcoming events or launches they might be interested in. The idea behind reminder ads is to help advertisers create awareness and anticipation of upcoming events. Users can sign up for reminders and receive three notifications from Instagram. Users will receive a reminder one day before the event or launch, 15 minutes before and at the time of the event or launch. Reminder ads will be rolled out to all advertisers as an option in the feed.
These new tools serve to boost the company’s ability to generate revenue at a time when Meta saw declining ad sales. As part of its Q4 2022 earnings results, Meta revealed last month that its ad revenue fell from $32.6 billion in the same quarter last year to $31.2 billion. Meta CFO Susan Li had noticed at the time that the company’s fourth quarter revenues remained depressed by weak advertising demand. Li said this was due to “the uncertain and volatile macroeconomic landscape”.
After Meta reported its first-ever quarterly revenue decline in Q2 2022 amid declining ad sales, the company increased its ad load on Instagram with the launch of two new ad slots. Meta launched a new ad format for Facebook Reels and began allowing advertisers to display ads on the Explore homepage and profile feeds.
Meta isn’t the only company struggling with weak advertising demand, like Snap CEO Evan Spiegel told analysts last month, demand for advertising did not improve. Spiegel said this was due to advertisers managing their budgets in a time of economic uncertainty.