Social media advertising has steadily grown in popularity ever since the opportunity to display promotional material on these platforms became available. It’s been a once you pop, the fun don’t stop type of trend.
But creating these targeted advertisements might be unfamiliar for many digital marketers. There are a number of complexities involved in these platforms, and it can be hard to have insight into your return on investment. That being said, the benefits to advertising on social far outweigh the negatives (as we’re sure you know). And Instagram is no exception to that rule.
500 million users log into Instagram every day. Yes—every day.
This visually-heavy platform is an immediate attention-grabber. And it’s an easy platform for consumers and brands alike to browse through thanks to its aesthetic appeal. These factors alone make it a great platform for advertising—again, not to mention the 500 million daily users.
Instagram advertising is booming, and it’s time to jump on board.
How Instagram marketing works
Instagram launched in 2010, and by 2013, the popular social media platform was acquired by Facebook. Any good social media advertiser understands the staggering benefits of Facebook ads. And that success easily transfers over to this image-focused platform.
From traditional posts to sponsored content, IG Stories and more, there are copious opportunities for marketers to take their brands to the next level through visually stunning advertisements.
And with 200 million users visiting at least one business profile every day, your brand has very tangible potential to make an impact on consumers by promoting products and services through images, videos and even long-form content.
And yes—it sells.
In fact, Instagram mobile ad revenue hit almost 7 billion in 2018. Those numbers will grow through 2019 and beyond.
Much like its parent company Facebook, marketers can create a variety of content and target it accordingly. But there’s one thing that differentiates Instagram from Facebook and other platforms—its sorting algorithm.
How does the Instagram algorithm come into play?
Instagram feeds aren’t the chronologically ordered feeds of social media past. Instead, there’s an algorithm in place that sorts and sifts through posts and accounts. This algorithm is customized to each user, putting content from real people before content from brands.
There are three key indicators that dictate how Instagram organizes a user’s feed:
Let’s dive a little deeper into each so your marketing team knows what to do when setting out to create Instagram ads.
1. Focus on content quality.
Just like Google and its Facebook counterpart, the Instagram algorithm focuses heavily on content value. It won’t just promote your post because your brand posted it. Instead, the content needs to make an impact. It needs to tell a story. And it needs to drive action.
Your posts have to say something and tell a story in order for Instagram to promote it on a user’s feed.
Some users follow thousands of accounts, with hundreds of businesses included in those numbers. They don’t actually want to see all of that promotional content. Likewise, your brand shouldn’t be posting ads that are too promotional either.
Focus on answering questions or starting conversations. This gets more people—potential customers—involved, and gives your brand a better chance of scoring a top spot.
2. Personalize your Instagram ads to your audience.
This is where Instagram’s nifty native ad functionalities come in. With these Instagram advertising options, you can personalize your content to your specific audience.
And that’s important, considering consumers want more personalization when it comes to their interaction with brands. Only 22% of consumers are happy with the level of personalization they experience from brands.
Be better and give your audience what they want in the form of innovative and personalized messaging, targeting, and imagery.
3. Get your audience engaged.
The last, big-ticket factor in the Instagram marketing and advertising algorithm centers around engagement. The more people engage with your posts organically, the higher they’ll rank on a user’s feed.
Similarly, if you post an ad with high engagement, it’ll be promoted to more people and shared in a way that gets more views, drawing more eyes to your products and offers. Whether you’re using Instagram in the traditional social media marketing way, or you’re using it for paid advertisements, keep these factors in mind when it comes to content creation.
That being said, here are some more tips to develop an Instagram advertising strategy that drives results.
3 tips to boost your Instagram advertising strategy
1. Up your visual design skills.
80% of users follow at least one business account on Instagram. What’s better? 75% of users visit a website to learn more about a product or service they saw on the social media platform.
That means that your brand is already in front of your target audience. Consumers want to follow brands on social media platforms—especially Instagram.
But they’ll continue to follow you to see what visual assets you can bring to the table.
Yes, Instagram is all about the aesthetics. So you need to make sure that while your audience is there and ready to absorb your content, they’ll actually stick around to interact with it. This means you may need to invest heavily in your visual designs, or at least your design skills. Whether you’re promoting images, videos, photography, or graphics, they need to be eye-catching and engaging. There needs to be a very clear design plan in place for your designers, animators, and producers to follow.
It’s your visuals that’ll stop people in their tracks. If your ad is on a user’s feed that knows nothing about your brand, you need to grab their attention with eye-catching images and video. Yet as foundational as that sounds, this takes time, patience, and creativity.
Your first step in creating an Instagram ad is finding the right visual medium to get people interested. One brand doing a great job using eye-catching imagery in their ads—and in their Instagram strategy as a whole—is ONYGO.
The German fashion brand uses high-quality photography, enthusiastic videos, and a clear color palette to entice viewers and lead them on a fantastical journey that takes them to their website. This visual mastery immediately grabs attention and aligns the brand as a fun, flirty, and vivacious leader in millennial fashion.
2. Make use of hashtags.
Hashtags are a very low-maintenance way to instantly boost results: Instagram posts with at least one hashtag see a 12.6% increase in engagement.
Hashtags are a vital tool in the Instagram advertiser’s arsenal. Hashtags target specific groups, conversations, and audiences. There are people who are spending their time searching for these hashtags, or that follow an individual hashtag in their main feed.
Similarly, advertisers can target these hashtags through their ads and posts. Make sure your team is utilizing hashtags in all posts. There’s a sweet spot for every brand, but it’s important that you research and come up with hashtags that makes an impact on your audience.
Another effective way to make a splash with hashtags in your Instagram ads is by creating a branded hashtag. Think about your brand, its name, and its core values. Use this research to come up with a hashtag that can accompany all of your posts and compel audiences to use it in their own posts as well.
This opens up the possibility for conversation, which brings us to the last tip to break through for Instagram advertisers.
3. Start and jump in on conversations.
Fact: 72% of users have bought a product they saw on Instagram. So if you can get your product in front of your audience, there’s almost a 75% chance that they’ll take this information and run with it. They’ll Google your brand or visit your website, and this will lead them to learn more, and then ultimately to purchase.
I’m sure you can attest to this—almost certainly you’ve seen products on Instagram and immediately wanted to buy them.
But in order to sell products, you have to have the right messaging. And in most cases, that messaging involves asking questions, starting conversations, and giving your audience something to talk and think about.
This falls in line with the part of the Instagram algorithm that focuses on engagement. Instagram wants to facilitate relationships and conversations, so use your ads to get inside the heads of your audience and get them interacting.
MeUndies effectively started a conversation with its Instagram ads. This underwear brand used its Instagram presence to eliminate stigma around underwear and make people more open to talking about it—and shopping for it online.
Image Source: Instagram
Whether you’re using Instagram to market more traditionally, or you’re using it for paid advertisements, you need to be aware of the complex algorithm that sorts your content. More than awareness, use our explanations and tips to use it to your advantage!
From here, focus on your visual imagery—whether that’s a photo, an animation, an illustration, or a video. Make sure to use hashtags to engage with more audience and demonstrate that you’re an approachable brand.
Then it’s time to have fun! Engage in conversations, start discussions, and use your content to create a dialogue between you and your audience. This establishes trust and lets your audience know that you’re more than just a corporate entity.
Are you looking for more ideas for social media tactics? Look no further:
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