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Best practices for advertising on Instagram for businesses

Jenny Wolfram
Jun 23, 2016 5:09:04 AM

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In under five years, Instagram has surpassed 500 million users – more than Twitter, Snapchat and other social media platforms.

This means the customer base brands can reach is large, and only continues to grow at a rapid rate.

Brands using Instagram to promote their products and services have an advantage over those who have yet to master the platform - but using it correctly is important.

Here’s how to ensure your brand is getting the most out of Instagram.

Ensure ads are relevant to your audience.

While this might seem obvious, it is incredibly important to be very clear about the usefulness of your ad to your target market before it goes live. Instagram uses a similar algorithm as Facebook, allowing a user to hide an ad they see and do not find relevant, and if this happens – Instagram will show your ad to less and less people.

Ensure that this doesn’t happen by creating ads your audience is eager to engage positively with. Diamond Films ran a successful Instagram campaign for their film Macbeth, creating three video ads in sequence, and increasing expected ticket sales by 25 percent.

Split test different ads.

Instagram offers single photo, video, and carousel ads that allow up to four photos. Running a small campaign trying all three, and also testing out some user generated content, will show you which option your audience engages with the most. Once you know which variety provides the best results, you can further split test the caption copy.

French liquor brand Cointreau realized video ads were the best way to reach their target audience of 25 to 35 year old women in London, running a campaign that provided six times as much engagement as they received on other platforms.

Keep branding very subtle.

An easy way to turn off users from your Instagram ads and feed is to have your logo featured prominently on too many images and video content.

A safer bet is to incorporate your branding in a subtle way, by featuring your brand colors throughout your content in a way that reminds users of your message, without being overt about it. Eatsprig’s feed does a great job of incorporating their green logo branding into the majority of their feed content.  

Utilize video ads.

While video didn’t quite catch on quickly on Instagram, it has been gaining traction recently, with brands finding engagement spikes through creating compelling video content. While photos still receive more likes, videos receive more comments.

Lululemon posted three videos during the launch of video content on Instagram to great success, seeing their engagement per post double.

Use call to action buttons so users know what to do next.

Like Facebook, Instagram now allows advertisers to choose a call to action button to include with their ad. Options include: Shop Now, Install Now, Sign Up, and Learn More.

These buttons are a huge advantage ads give brands, as organic Instagram posts do not allow for active, clickable links within the post. Take this opportunity to send users directly to your brand’s website or app, where they can take appropriate action.

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With these practices in place, your Instagram advertising strategy will pay off with increased engagement, strong conversion rates, and a high ROI.

As Instagram advertising is still in its early days, changes will continue to roll out - making it vital to keep on top of these practices as the platform grows.

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