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A Collection of Beauty

How M·A·C Cosmetics helped lay the foundation for the new Instagram Collection ad format

Globally popular brand M·A·C Cosmetics teamed with AitargetIsobar Moscow, and iProspect Russia to become one of the first companies in Eastern Europe to run ads in Instagram Collection.

Instagram Collection is a new beta format that blends a title video or an image with a product catalogue below. It was created as an analogue of Facebook Collection.

This opens up a new advertising opportunity for brands, another chance to connect with Instagram’s one billion users.

Collection for Facebook was released last spring and received positive reviews from many brands. Aitarget’s experience with adidas demonstrated a 42% increase in conversions.

The Collection format is designed to maximise engagement from a mobile audience. Advertising in the format tells a brand story through a head video or image and also shows several products or bestsellers in one sponsored post. A row of individual products are presented in a swipeable carousel which leads to a Canvas catalogue inside the platform.



Instagram/Composite. Source: Ad Age


From the user’s side, Collection makes it easy to search, browse, and buy products and special offers through a visually attractive interactive and organically built-in creative. Potential customers can then tap on a product in the carousel, learn about all the products in the inner catalogue, and visit the brand’s website for purchasing.

For Instagram, Collection has been slightly modified and optimised: it supports purchases inside the application itself. This allows users to complete the consumer funnel cycle without leaving the platform.

Another difference: whereas in Facebook Collection tapping on a particular product opens a new catalogue which prioritises that specific product, in Instagram Collection tapping on any of the product photos takes you to the same location in the Canvas.

The carousel for Instagram Collection has three product images, rather than the four in Facebook Collection. However, to launch an Instagram Collection ad you will need a catalogue of at least four products for the Canvas.


“Instagram is a business’s visual shop on mobile, and we’re seeing more people seek out businesses there,” says Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, commenting on the launch of Instagram Collection.


Instagram Collection is ideal for e-commerce, especially for beauty and fashion brands because they are particularly strong on Instagram in terms of content sharing and fan base.

More than 200 million Instagram users follow fashion-related accounts, and nine of the top ten accounts that beauty Instagrammers follow are beauty brands (statistics as at April 2018).

While news about Instagram Collection broke in February, the format is currently only available to certain brands through Facebook marketing partners, such as Aitarget.


“Instagram Collection is ideal for creating a store in which users can select products without leaving the favourite app. is new option is more fitting of the title Instagram Shopping. The emergence of the format is a landmark event for the e-com industry,” says Lead Customer Development Manager at Aitarget.


Thanks to a collaboration between M∙A∙C Cosmetics, Aitarget, and advertising agencies, the Russian audience on Instagram was first introduced to the breakthrough format.


The M∙A∙C Cosmetics campaign showed success after the first week of delivery: the CPC dropped by 20%, and the CPO decreased by 22% with a proportional growth of the CTR.


“We are pleased that M∙A∙C Cosmetics, the leading brand of professional cosmetics, was one of the first to test the Instagram Collection format. Special aesthetics and innovative brand concepts make M.A.C a trendsetter and a pioneer for the brightest and most promising innovations in marketing and promotion. The Instagram Collection format has seamlessly blended in the communication with our customer: from professional make-up artists to makeup amateurs and rookies, it also made the client’s way to purchasing much shorter and more convenient,” says Corporate Media Manager at Estée Lauder.


The new format may represent a shift in digital marketing strategies.

The interactive nature of such product branding strategy is not only convenient for consumers. Collection also allows companies to neatly connect social media content with sales and ROI that go through them. It provides valuable information about where the marketing assets should be focused, and where customers make their purchases.

These Collection ads validate a user before they go to a brand’s website, leading to conversion rates that are likely to be superior to other ad types.

Because of these advantages, the Collection format could become popular beyond Facebook and Instagram, adapted to replace traditional banners in online advertising.

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