With more than 800 million users to date and a multi-billion dollar beast that is probably responsible for its founder, Kevin Systrom’s 1.7 billion net worth as of 2018, selfie-filled Instagram has come a long way from just being an online photo sharing platform with the good old Valencia filter. After its launch 8 years ago, Instagram hit the ground running with one million registered users in just two months, hitting ten million in one year.
By October of 2015, over 40 billion photos had been uploaded and shared to the service making a (virtual) world without Instagram quite hard to imagine, amateur photography of its early days and all. Instagram is a powerful marketing platform but it doesn’t guarantee a successful outcome every time. However, using the following elements for your first Instagram ad might be helpful:
1. Visual: Instagram is a social network based on mobile visual content. You won’t be able to post just text the way you do on Facebook or Twitter. You also can’t post images or videos through your computer alone without the use of a third party app. If you’re planning on publishing content to the network, you should think about what kind of visual content it’s gonna be and consider that you’re going to have to use on your mobile phone. The best ads, the ones that get the most engagement, are often the kind of visuals that drive emotional interaction within the Instagram community.
2. Caption: It goes without saying, that Instagram is through and through, a visual environment. However, a description of what an image is just doesn’t work anymore. You can use words to add value to your photos, comment on the photos you have posted and use hashtags relevant to your content, to drive traffic and engagement to your ad. Captions are very powerful tools for Instagram advertising, so make sure you understand your audience and that you can talk in their “language.”
3. Call To Action: This should be simple. Use words or phrases asking your target community or audience to click the button of your ad and check what you’re offering. Depending on what you’re selling, you can put Download Now, Listen To Song, Play Game, Sign Up, Buy Now, Contact Us, See Catalog, etc. The best thing about having a call to action on Instagram is that you don’t have to design a button for it because it’s already there.
Here are more tips you can use for a successful Instagram ad campaign:
Advertising through Instagram has developed since its inception thanks to integration with Facebook’s powerful advertising platform, so if you haven’t given Instagram advertising greater thought, you’re missing out on a very big opportunity for your business’ success. Follow these steps to help you get started on an Instagram ad that generates the best results:
1. Promote your best content: The usual approach companies take to generating new content for ads often involves them carefully scripting ad copy and developing calls-to-action that will have the greatest impact with their audience. If you want to have more impact on your ads, don’t follow this approach when advertising on Instagram. It’ safe to assume you already have enough content that you know your followers appreciate. Check through your original or older posts to see the photos that garnered the most reaction from your audience. Reinforce those posts by using them ass your ads to get a huge boost in response from a wider audience.
2. Improve your targeting: Everyone knows Instagram draws on the large user data it can get within Facebook’s advertising platform, which means you really are able to zero in on your audience within Instagram. You just have to learn how to leverage different aspects of this platform to get the best results for your brand. Aside from the standard targeting mechanisms, there are some other features that can help you narrow your focus.
3. Your ads shouldn’t look like ads: If you’re aiming to increase engagement with your audience and score more click-through with your ads, then do it without being obvious. The days of hard-selling are far gone and blatant or “aggressive” product promotion often leaves a sour taste in people’s mouths. Tell a story. Make it more about people and try to incorporate actual people into your videos and images.
4. Shoot for Awareness: If your overall goal with advertising on Instagram is to get your name out there, then you probably want to make sure users actually remember your brand. Shoot for band awareness and design your campaign for it. Instagram’s advertising engine will then take care of optimizing for ad recall lift which is a rough estimate of the number of people who remember seeing your ads within 48 hours.
As Instagram ads are quickly evolving, businesses now have the option to not only increase brand awareness but to also, increase website visits and offline sales. Below are the most common types of Instagram ads you can use:
Hashtags are words, phrases or “urban” language abbreviations (#ootd anyone?) preceded by a hash or pound sign (#) and used to identify messages on a specific topic. If you add hashtags to a post that’s set to public, the post will be visible on the corresponding hashtag page. Instagram is already a powerful marketing tool, but using hashtags as a strategy drives more audience engagement.
You do this by boosting organic posts and choosing the appropriate target audience to drive more engagement to your ad and help for better ranking on your follower’s feed.
If Instagram continues to grow, it’s going to be a huge community of close to a billion users a couple of years from now, give or take. This also means large and small businesses around the world have a great opportunity to generate visibility and clicks to their websites, increase mobile app installs, boost video views and garner mass awareness.