BOSTON, MA: Advertisers are embracing Instagram and experimenting with new ad formats according to a new study.

Brand Networks, a social advertising and content marketing firm, examined more than 1.6bn ad impressions served by the company's customers in 2015, tracking a variety of metrics related to spend and performance throughout the second half the year.

Total impressions served on Instagram through the Brand Networks Platform stood at 50m in August – while Instagram advertising products were in their beta stage – doubling to 100m in September, and again to 200m in October, before surging to 500m in November and 670m in December.

Brand Networks is now expecting to deliver more than 1bn Instagram ad impressions per month by the end of Q1 2016.

"We anticipated that pent-up demand for programmatic, native advertising solutions on Instagram would drive rapid adoption and eventually scale," said Jamie Tedford, CEO and founder, Brand Networks.

"However, the pace and scale of investment from our clients in key verticals exceeded our expectations dramatically," he added.

Those key verticals included CPG, fashion and retail, all of which spent more than three times as much on Instagram ads during the festive holiday period as they did during the summer and fall months.

Brand Networks also noted that this coincided with more brands experimenting with new video ad formats – video ads as a percent of total ads served by Brand Networks jumped from 9.54% in September to 22.52% in December.

"Video advertising on Instagram is rising to prominence incredibly quickly," said Tedford. "Over the past six months, we've learned that users are willing to increase their time spent interacting with a brand when shown a short video clip.

"This is a game changer for brands, as competition for eyeballs continues to increase on the platform," he added. "Brands who can offer this compelling video content stand out from the crowd and leave a lasting impression on the viewer."

Data sourced from Brand Networks; additional content by Warc staff