Instagram has emerged as a thriving social platform. With over 500 million users and 95 million daily photo uploads shared on average, it’s now one of the world’s largest mobile ad platforms.
For marketers who want to achieve success in their Instagram ad campaigns, it’s going to take more than just getting your brands on the platform. As with all other social channels, consistent execution of best practices plays a big role in whether you succeed or fail.
1. Know the Ad Formats
Although the opportunity to advertise on Instagram is still a relatively new concept, there's already a range of formats available for marketers to choose from. Understanding the different types of ad formats can give you a better grasp of what you can achieve with each.
Photo Ads: Photo ads are what most people are already used to seeing in their Instagram feeds - single images with small sponsored icons located in the top-right corner. These photos can include calls to action that prompt viewers to "shop now" when they see a featured product, or "book now", when tempted by an image of a restaurant or hotel. Photo ads offer a clean and simple creative canvas.
Carousel Ads: Created to help advertisers tell a sequenced story with a selection of images, carousel ads can help companies create meaningful results for their business by helping them turn storytelling into a marketing art form.
Video Ads: Video ads provide some of the best returns on engagement when it comes to social media advertising. In other words, they're an effective way to reach out to an engaged audience. However, because users will need to activate sound on a video in order to hear it, most Instagram videos are better for using compelling visuals that don't require audio. And now, you can share videos up to 60 seconds in duration and in landscape format.
2. Create Incredible Visual Content
Once you've figured out which of the available formats you're going to use in your Instagram campaign, you'll need to begin designing your creative. Though this may seem obvious, it's a crucial point because only outstanding videos and images are going to deliver good results in your campaign.
Instagram is all about the image. This doesn't necessarily mean that you have to spend a fortune on professional photography or ad design every time you want to make an Instagram post, but it does mean that your brand needs to consistently create attention-grabbing, clear, and well-composed images that will stand out in your audience’s news feeds.
3. Tell a Compelling Story
In Instagram, a picture can truly be worth a thousand words. People want to be inspired, entertained and engaged on Instagram (and most social media channels). They don’t want to be bombarded with an endless stream of boring brand ads.
Connect with your audiences at an emotional level using awesome imagery. Think about what your brand persona is and let your personality shine through your authentic brand story. Don’t be afraid to have some fun and not take yourself too seriously.
4. Start a Conversation
Hashtags are no longer exclusive to Twitter. On Instagram, creating relevant hashtags can help further amplify your messages to the right audiences. Encourage your fans to use your brand or campaign hashtags to start meaningful conversations. Use hashtags to gather user-generated content or power your latest campaign.
5. Optimize Your Schedule
There is so much content vying for your audience’s attention and if you want to be successful on Instagram, you’ll need to commit to a consistent posting schedule. In other words, you can't just participate when you feel like it, you need to be using Instagram all of the time. Or at least frequently enough to make a difference!
6. Be Native and Creative
Finally, if a user browses through their Instagram feed and sees something that looks like an ad, they're probably going to ignore it. That's why the most successful campaigns are the ones that don't look like ads at all, and can instead blend in with organic posts. Make sure your ads blend seamlessly with the overall Instagram experience, but at the same time, remember to be creative enough that you encourage interest, and engagement.
If you're struggling to find creative ideas, try giving your audience an inside look into how your company works, or how a product is created. Get your followers involved in photo contests, or start a competition that will give them something to talk about. The possibilities are endless.
It’s easy to start an Instagram page and run ad campaigns for your brand but transforming them into effective marketing tools for your business requires lots of working hard and working smart. Follow the right best practices and you’ll be able to turn your campaigns from blah to aha in no time!