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4 Simple Steps for Taking Full Advantage of Instagram Ads

By Rory Witt    |    July 10, 2017

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While Facebook continues to stand as the world’s social media juggernaut (it recently passed 2 billion active monthly users), many advertisers are starting to feel that the level of competition on the platform—as well as the media consumption habits of its user base—is making it more difficult to connect with their target audience.

So it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that more and more digital marketers are turning to Instagram as part of their social media marketing.

The statistics behind Instagram’s user base illustrate the value it offers to marketers. Instagram is particularly popular with teenagers and users in the coveted 18-29 year-old age group. These users tend to be more likely to engage with the content that shows up in their feed than users on other platforms. In fact, Hootsuite reports that a whopping “75 percent of Instagram users take action, such as visiting a website, after looking at an Instagram advertising post.

So what do you need to do to get the most from your advertising opportunities on this very visual social media platform? The following steps are key to helping you create a successful Instagram Ads campaign.

1) Prep Work

Before you even get around to posting your Instagram ads, you need to start with the basics. Instagram advertising is run through Facebook’s Ad Manager system, which allows you to get very detailed when organizing your campaign.

Targeting should be one of your top priorities when building your Instagram ad campaign. Remember, you get the same targeting options as you would on Facebook, which means you can go much deeper than location and basic demographic info. By targeting based on interests, user behaviors, lookalike audiences, or even income, you’ll be more likely to have your ads reach the people who will engage with them.

Managing your budget and bidding preferences is also essential for delivering your ads to the right customers. Your daily budget ensures that you don’t end up spending too much on your Instagram campaign, but bidding is what can make a real difference for your campaign results.

While the ins and outs of bidding can seem confusing at first, Facebook’s Ad Manager system provides you with a suggested bid and a bid range to help you find a balance that will allow you to win bids while still making good use of your budget.

2) Focus On the Visuals

Regardless of whether you use a single image for your Instagram ad, a video, or a “carousel” post that features multiple images, prioritizing high-quality visuals is essential for a successful Instagram ad campaign.

So what do you need to do to ensure that your ads capture your target audience’s attention when they scroll through their Instagram feed? For best results, start by using simple, uncluttered images that have a strong focal point to grab viewers’ attention. That focal point could very well be your product! Some of the best-performing ads on Instagram prominently feature the company product.

Authenticity is key when promoting your project or brand. Avoid the cheesy “stock image” look as best as you can. Instead, show people in relatable, real-life situations to showcase your brand’s personality and approachability.

Lighting and framing play a big role in crafting an appealing image. Bright images that use natural light will stand out in a user’s feed. Key photography techniques, such as the rule of thirds, leading lines, and the diagonal principle, can also help your square images make a lasting impression.

3) Other Posting Considerations

As important as the visual content of your Instagram ad may be, it isn’t the only thing you should consider when preparing an Instagram campaign. After all, the text element of your ad quite often is what will convince a potential customer to take a desired action after your image captures their attention.

A call to action button is one of your best tools for improving results from your Instagram campaign. This appears as a small box at the bottom of your image that urges the user to “Learn More,” “Sign Up,” or even “Shop Now.” A single click is all it takes to then get the user from Instagram to your website. Supplementing this call to action button with organic CTAs in your regular posts can help drive even more traffic to your site.

Hashtags are another element that can improve your Instagram ad engagement. In fact, studies have found that Instagram posts with hashtags have 12.6 percent more engagement than posts without. Don’t overlook the power of a relevant, catchy hashtag!

Finally, don’t overlook the copywriting basics that are so essential for success on other advertising platforms. Explain in a brief, non-salesy way how your product or service solves a customer problem. Provide an exclusive offer. Tell a story. Above all, showcase your personality with a distinctive voice. These and other copywriting best practices can make a huge difference in achieving your campaign’s desired results.

4) Analytics & Reporting

Just like with your PPC campaigns and other marketing efforts, you can never underestimate the value of reporting and analytics for your Instagram ads. Since Instagram advertisements are managed through Facebook, you get access to the same detailed metric reporting that you’d get for your Facebook ads.

To help you get the most out of your ad reporting, Instagram’s ad campaign manager lets you choose one of seven goals for your campaign. Common areas of focus include conversions (for lead generation and sales-oriented campaigns), traffic (for increasing website clicks), and brand awareness (for increasing your Instagram followers).

Your advertising reports will be customized with these goals in mind, revealing the number of engagements for each post, as well as the number of desired results that were achieved through the campaign (including the cost per result). Among the metrics Instagram reports are website actions, app installations, video views, and adds to cart, just to name a few.

Diving into your analytics and reporting is crucial for your long-term success in Instagram advertising, especially when A/B testing different ads. When you use this information to analyze what is and isn’t working in your campaigns, you’ll be able to make key adjustments to your ads to get more out of your Instagram budget.

Conclusion

As you take the time to craft a well thought-out Instagram marketing campaign, your brand can experience much stronger results for its social media efforts. By tapping into Instagram’s highly engaged user base with your own quality advertisements, you’ll be able to drive new clicks and conversions for your brand.

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