Alas, all good things must come to an end. What started out as a simple and indulgent photography tool is now turning on you: Instagram has started to roll out paid advertisements in users' feeds. McDonald's recently ran ads on Instagram in hopes of reaching the large demographic secured by the photo-sharing app, but the results weren't exactly what they had in mind. Instead of embracing the branded content in their Instagram feeds, people are considering it an unwanted invasion, and they're lashing out with angry comments and tweets.
The McDonald's move shouldn't come as a surprise. Instagram was made to be utilized by advertisers. It's visual, easy to use, and sees an amount of activity and interaction on its platform that is comparable to its much more established mother company, Facebook. In fact, Instagram was the fasting-growing social media platform in 2013, beating out Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest combined. What company wouldn't want its ads running on something so wildly popular? McDonald's certainly saw an opportunity and ran with it.
David Martinelli, digital marketing manager at McDonald's, told Adweek:
While we are unable to provide specific details about our media strategies, we are always looking to engage with our guests and fans in fun and relevant ways in social media. Instagram allows us to share compelling and entertaining photos about our brand, food and more in unexpected and innovative ways.
Regular Instagram users like you and me, on the other hand, are not so keen on the idea. While Facebook has been adulterated by sponsored content to the point where people just glaze right over it, Instagram is still largely pure and untouched. And the simplicity of the format will make the ads stand out that much more.
Some people were annoyed because they don't eat at McDonald's, and didn't want to be lumped in with a demographic who did.
Some were just annoyed that these ads were showing up in their feeds at all.
And some just wanted to make fun of McDonald's, because it can be so easy.
The mockery is a familiar sight on the fast-food chain's regular Instagram account as well ...
... along with some more serious protests.