It is true that Instagram is owned by Facebook, but its role in social media and modern advertising is no longer to be out shadowed by its elder sibling. Its popularity has grown tremendously in the last couple of years and only last week a new feature has just been launched: the carousel.

The name might remind us of a great Mad Men moment and the predictions are that the update will in fact be as impressive as Don Draper’s Kodak pitch.

First of all, this new advertising format will allow marketers to create a visual storytelling type of ad on Instagram by uploading multiple images, as part of the same sponsored post. This will constitute a more engaging and memorable type of content than the traditional promoted posts used before.

Moreover, advertisers will now be able to add links to their promoted posts, a feature which was previously unavailable. This represents a significant change in the way marketers are looking at Instagram. What was before considered a simply photo-based social media platform, is now starting to shape up as a major player in the future of online advertising.

This comes just after another major update in the world of social media: only a couple of weeks ago, Pinterest announced that they were removing all affiliate links from their pins. The click through functionality has been removed, although the pins themselves will remain on the website.

Back in 2012, Pinterest had been accused of generating revenue via their partnership with the affiliate brand Skimlinks without revealing it to its users, causing discontent. Their recent indiscriminative block on all affiliate links is recognised by the industry as a sign that the platform is preparing to develop its own advertising proposition.

While Instagram is only just beginning to outline its social media identity and advertorial power, its influence on the market is not to be neglected, with over 300 million users and the fastest user growth of all the major social media platforms.

This update means we’ll finally be able to measure traffic to a brand’s website from Instagram and the success of our campaigns. This is a major step forward and it also constitutes another way to measure audience interaction.

The new carousel ad feature will continue to consolidate Instagram’s role in catering for an ever growing online market, while continuing to curate relevant and quality content for its customers.