Instagram Ads Launch in Canada Today from These Five Companies [LIST]

Earlier this summer Facebook announced ads would be launching on Instagram for Canadian users and that day has finally arrived.

Today marks the start of ’sponsored’ ads set to hit your Instagram stream from the first five advertisers chosen by the social network: Hudson’s Bay Co., Target Canada, Sport Chek, Air Canada, and Travel Alberta. Instagram is already in talks with a second round of advertisers set to kick off campaigns in the next couple months, reports the Globe and Mail.

Ads will display a ‘sponsored’ label, similar to what American users have seen since last fall, like this Levis ad below:

Frederick Lecoq, senior vice-president of marketing for FGL Sports (the division of Canadian Tire that includes Sport Chek) says the opportunity to advertise on Instagram is not to push individual products, but rather to help build the company’s brand:

“When you look at the consumer-decision journey, there’s two steps … there’s the shopping trigger and the purchasing trigger,” Mr. Lecoq said. “In the past, most of the time, the shopping trigger was TV ads. I think that’s where Instagram is going to play.”

Sponsored ads allow advertisers to reach users that do not follow them, plus reach a highly connected mobile audience. Facebook stated last year its goal for Instagram ads is to create classy ads, noting “We want someone to feel like they’re flipping through their favourite glossy magazine.”

Screenshot 2014 11 09 23 19 23

Ads are also set to launch for Instagram users in the U.K. and Australia as well. Personally, if an Instagram sponsored ad is clever or actually looks interesting, I’m not going to throw a hissy fit over it. Remember, when you’re using a service that’s free—you’re the product.