A recent study by Forrester Research found that Instagram users were 58 times more likely to engage with a brand’s post than Facebook users and 120 times more likely than Twitter users. Let the data speak for itself — if your brand isn’t on Instagram, you’re missing out on a huge marketing opportunity.
Not only should your brand have an active Instagram account, but your company should be taking advantage of the new Instagram paid advertising options to reach a bigger audience.
Don’t know where to start? We’re here to show you how.
Explore the various Instagram advertising objectives
Much like many other social media platforms, Instagram now offers paid advertising. Depending on your marketing strategy, you should choose an objective that matches your marketing goals. Just like Facebook, you can run different types of ads with robust targeting options available at your disposal. These ads allow you to refine your targeting to focus on the people who are most likely to engage with your posts, become brand ambassadors, and (hopefully) turn into repeat customers.
Here are the current Instagram advertising objectives:
- Page post engagement
- Clicks to website
- Website conversions
- Mobile app installs
- Mobile app engagement
- Video views
YES! You can create Instagram ads through Facebook!
Very recently, Instagram integrated with Facebook’s ad creation tool. This is awesome because it allows your Instagram account to be synced to Facebook, and you’re now able to create all of your Instagram ads online (as opposed to poking around on your phone).
Understand the design requirements and recommendations for Instagram ads:
The recommended image size for an Instagram ad in the square or landscape format is 1080 x 1080 pixels. When you’re creating your ad in Facebook Power Editor, you can use “Crop Image” to help ensure your Instagram ad looks the way you want it to.
Your video ad should be no more than 30MB in size and no more than 30 seconds in length.
The caption you use for your Instagram ad will appear below the image and may include up to 300 characters.
These are called design requirements for a reason. You don’t want to upload a picture that’s going to cut-off important elements of your photo. You don’t want to upload a long video that requires your audience to make a choice: sit through a long video that they may not be interested in, or just continue scrolling. Nine times out of 10, you aren’t going to win over someone’s attention span, especially if they have the option to just keep scrolling and see something else that vaguely resonates with them.
Now let’s talk about captions. Even though there is a character limit, you really shouldn’t try to use 300 characters. Be short, sweet, and to the point; write engaging copy that enhances your photo or video.
Much like trying to get people to sit through a long video, most people aren’t going to take the time to read your long caption. And please, if you’re using hashtags, don’t go crazy. Hashtags are definitely huge on Instagram and using them comes recommended, but try to limit yourself to 1-3 per post. Anything over three just looks spammy.
Use compelling images that are inspiring and concept-driven:
- Share visually compelling stories that incorporate your brand’s logo and style guide.
- Develop a consistent story-telling theme and consistently share a series of images showcasing your brand’s point of view
- Take advantage of tools like Canva to create stunning visuals that reflect your brand.
- Create deeper connections with influencers to gain brand advocacy and reach new customers.
Instagram in the Wild
If you’re a local business, you shouldn’t just be promoting your product – promote your city, as well. If you’re out and about and see something awesome, take a picture of it. Check out Blue Seven – a local Oklahoma City apparel shop. They run an AMAZING Instagram account. Not only do they take awesome pictures of their merchandise, they humanize their merchandise by taking pictures of it on OKC residents. They even post pictures of where their signature hat has been. On top of that, they also feature: cool shots from around OKC, shots from events, and cool shots of cool people in OKC.
And what’s REALLY cool about their content is that a large handful of their pictures come from Instagram users that they follow/follow them. User-generated content is one of the best ways to advertise your product. Not only is it absolutely free, but you’re also connecting with your audience on a much deeper level than just promoting an ad and sending it to their feeds.
Also, I get it. Maybe you don’t own a retail shop that has awesome clothes, charming household oddities, or a real connection with your local culture; using compelling images can be harder for niche companies. Have you ever heard of Topo Chico? You know, the company that sells Mexican mineral water? Giovanni Gallucci, Topo Chico’s Social Media Ambassador, came to last year’s Confluence Conference and spoke on how he (over the course of just a few months) was able to make water fashionable through their Instagram account. Let me repeat: He made WATER cool. If you have 30 spare minutes, give his Confluence session a watch.
Check to make sure your ads follow Facebook’s advertising policies (Facebook owns Instagram):
- Facebook and Instagram ads should follow the same Advertising Policies.
- Check to make sure your image doesn’t have 20% or more of its pixels dedicated to text, by using the grid tool to check your photos.
Once again, Facebook rules everything around us. However, at least among the younger demographic (people who use social media religiously/people you should probably be connecting with), Instagram is quickly becoming Facebook’s popular baby brother. According to a 2015 study by Pew Research Center, 55% of young adults (ages 18-29) were Instagram users by April, up from 53% in 2014 and 37% in 2013. Expect this number to keep rising. Instagram is ready for a takeover.
Want to learn more about Instagram? Learn more about Instagram engagement on our blog, “Don’t Leave Your Instagram Followers Hanging…”