Social advertising has been a consistent source of discussion year after year, with no signs of stopping. As social media continues to carve itself into users’ daily lives, retailers continue to invest in each network’s growth to market their products. Instagram is a great platform for retailers in particular. An emphasis on visuals, built-in shopping experiences, and high engagement make it a haven for B2C content.
Overall, more brands are investing in Instagram advertising—with the platform boasting a 44% increase in ad spend compared to last year. In late August of this year, Instagram also confirmed they were testing increased ad loads within Instagram Stories. The experiment is still being applied to a small subset of users and involves running ads from two different advertises back-to-back. This can be a double-edged sword for digital marketers on the platform.
On one hand, it underscores the urgency of jumping into paid promotional content on Instagram, as back-to-back ads gives brands the chance for increased reach and awareness. On the other, users can very well suffer from ad fatigue and opt to immediately swipe out.
To balance the benefits of advertising while avoiding its pitfalls, here are five things retailers need to do.
1. Do the Prep Work
The process of creating an Instagram ad campaign—regardless of ad set type—necessitates a thorough understanding of your goals and your audience demographics. You shouldn’t be trying to attack several goals at once.
If your targets are too broad, there’s a likely chance engagement on your ads will be too low to justify continuing the campaign. Aim to attract individuals with a specific set of interests and shoot for one goal per campaign based on your current account performance and market research. This decides the type of ads you’ll be creating and what you’ll place in them.
2. Keep a Close Eye on Composition
Think of the visual content you see getting engagement on Instagram and keep that approach with your ads. You still need to lead with visuals in Instagram advertising. Presenting your products in a creative way helps you stand out from other retail competitors.
Careful text placement on your ads also augments images, and writing the right copy can boost engagement significantly. Find an app with a simple text editor, or one like Instasize that comes with pre-layouted text styles.
Don’t forget brand consistency, though. Your visuals, music (when added to videos), and any outside pages you’re linking to should align with your brand image.
3. Show a Familiar Face
Instagram is the number one platform for influencer marketing, and it’s still a tried-and-tested method. Working with the right influencer gives you a ready audience to advertise your products to. You can choose to sponsor their posts, or have the influencer star in your advertising campaigns, with an agreement for them to promote the partnership on their own platforms as well.
There’s also another way to use influencers to advertise on Instagram—only this time you’re spared the time and effort it takes to create brand new content. Branded content ads allow you to promote creators’ content as if it was your own, while still being hosted on their own accounts for their own audience. It’s a unique and more official way to provide resources for the paid partnership.
4. Encourage Interaction
If your ad goals involve increased engagement through clicks and interactions, put in the effort to encourage them. Always place a clear call to action within your ad that directs the viewer to where you want them to go, and highlight it through visual cues such as clear surroundings or directional elements such as arrows. You could encourage them to buy the product itself if you tag them, or link them to a website or landing page.
For Instagram Story ads, make the ads themselves an interactive experience. Instagram continues to update features for Stories, and one of their most recent additions is making the polling sticker available for use on Stories ads. In 9 out of 10 beta campaigns using it, it increased video views and lowered cost per view for brands—worth a try!
5. Evaluate Performance
An advertising campaign shouldn’t be complete without post-campaign evaluation. A few ways to improve your Instagram advertising content with data include:
- Learning which visuals work best with your audience
- Finding out what content types to include more of in future campaigns
- Establishing whether still images or videos drive more clicks
- Adjusting times of when your ad campaign will run based on performance
With users changing how they engage on social, banking purely on organic content to promote retail products on Instagram isn’t realistic anymore. Augment organic content with paid advertising options for true success on the platform. Paid doesn’t necessarily have to mean stale—approach ad campaigns as another exercise in creativity, and reap the rewards.