With 400 million users and growing, Instagram is quickly closing the distance between its relatively new brand and its parent brand, Facebook. However, the techniques to succeed on Instagram are quite different from those on Facebook. Here are four of the best practices for creating Instagram ads to promote your Instagram presence.
Across the board, regardless of industry, Instagram users enjoy looking at people in an aspirational environment. If you are advertising a jean jacket to Millennials, make sure the person wearing that jean jacket is laughing and surrounded by happy friends in a gorgeous setting. Setting the lifestyle is exactly how Levi’s stays on top in the face of consistent competition from trendy brands like Seven, Rock Revival and True Religion. Regardless of advertising, this is one of the secrets to creating the best images for Instagram.
Make sure that you understand the nuances of the lifestyle that your audience is attracted to. Putting a great product in the wrong environment will only confuse the audience, and when people are confused, your ad conversion rates will immediately go down. If you do not have a product to showcase, such as a credit card company, showcase the lifestyle around it. American Express does quite well on Instagram using incredible travel photos, because many people using American Express enjoy using the card to have adventures across the world.
Although it can be difficult to capture aspirational and inspirational moments that are also “in the moment,” making sure that creating Instagram ads that are truly authentic is one of the most important aspects of a successful Instagram ad. Even professional modeling agencies are taking a different approach to their shoots these days. Instead of hiring models, these agencies will send photographers to events, let them snap people who are already having a great time, and get permission afterwards. The event goers do not even know they are the subject of professional photography unless the agency plans to use the picture, then terms are worked out.
You may not have a professional agency, but you can always be authentic. You may even sacrifice a bit of “professionalism” for authenticity if you must. The lighting does not need to be perfect if the moment is perfect. You have the perfect picture if it looks like anyone could have taken it.
Balancing Inspiration and Information
The text overlays with “25% off – Free Shipping” may work on Facebook, but Instagram is a different animal. The Instagram audience skews slightly younger than the Facebook audience, and this makes a huge difference in the types of advertising that work. For instance, the calls to action that are usually in text overlays are usually more effective in the caption of an Instagram ad. It is also usually too much to have a photo-in-a-photo on Instagram, especially if you have text prominently featured in the visual. Stick to one central image that has an obvious theme to it, and let the power of the picture do the talking.
As for your call to action, make sure that you have direct links to your sales page – you may not want to link to your website landing page! Reducing the number of clicks between your Instagram profile and your final conversion page can only help your conversion rates. Your CTA should also create a clear motive. If you have to explain your picture in any way in your caption text, your best bet is to use a new picture with a more obvious motif. Also, do not be afraid to use emojis or symbols to help make your point. Take the time to understand this hidden Millennial emoji language; it is actually quite space-effective.
Instagram gives you 15 seconds to make magic with a video, and cutting edge ads are taking full advantage of video as well as imagery. The secret of Instagram is to use video sparingly so that your audience is looking forward to your next video. Too much video makes your Instagram page an entertainment channel, and this subconscious assessment may actually reduce the viability of your video ads.
The same best practices that help your Instagram ad imagery will also work in your videos. Make sure that your video has a central theme and cultivates a lifestyle around the product that you are selling. Do not use the audio to hard sell – many of the best Instagram videos use only music. Finally, balance the inspiration and the information in your video, and keep in mind that most of the information that your audience takes in will be subconscious. Videos are very easy to play over and over again on Instagram, and your message will naturally embed itself into the minds of your customers as long as your video is emotionally engaging enough to keep them watching it multiple times.
Combining the best practices in creating Instagram ads above with a basic hashtag and social media connection strategy will ensure that you get the most out of your Instagram ads. Remember that you are on SOCIAL media, not commercial media, and you will have infinitely more success on Instagram.
Do you agree with these best practices in creating Instagram Ads? What other advice would you add?