Tips for Advertising on Instagram

More than one billion people use Instagram every month, making it one of the leading social media platforms in the world, with engagement numbers higher than both Facebook and Twitter. Instagram continues to attract new users and is the fastest growing social media platform in Canada. This makes it an ideal platform for reaching your fans with advertising.

Not sure what the best practices are for advertising to your fans on Instagram? We share some helpful tips to consider:

Instagram Advertising

1) Choose Your Ad Type

Instagram offers a seamless experience with ads as each of these ad types are woven into a user's Feeds and Stories.

Stories Ads

These ads appear when Instagram users view Stories. Over 500 million accounts use stories daily and 1/3 of the most-viewed Stories are from businesses, making it an excellent way to reach fans with advertising. In fact, 62% of Instagram users say they have become more interested in a brand or product after seeing it in Stories. These ads are fullscreen, interactive ads that appear between users' Stories. They feature a Call-To-Action button with phrases to choose from. Stories ads can be very engaging as they make full use of phone screens, offering businesses a gorgeous distraction-less canvas. Instagram allows you to get really creative with your ads in Stories since you can take advantage of all their Stories features, including face filters, video effects, and text. You can choose from a video (15 seconds maximum), a still-photo (5 seconds) or a carousel ad (video and photos) where you can play up to three pieces of content within a single ad.

Instagram Stories Ads

Photo Ads

Photo ads appear when users scroll through their Instagram feed. They come with a Call-To-Action button with several captions to choose from (e.g. Learn More, Download, Contact Us).

Instagram Photo Ads

Video Ads

Just like photo ads, video ads also appear when users scroll through their Instagram feed. However, video ads have additional immersive features of sound and motion. In-feed video ads can be one to 60 seconds long. Instagram users love video content. Did you know that humans pay attention to videos 5 times longer than static images?

Instagram Video Ads

Carousel Ads

Do you have plenty of content to show your fans? Carousel ads appear in a user's Instagram feed and Stories. These ads allow users to swipe up(in-feed) or tap (stories) to view additional photos or videos in a single ad. Carousel ads have a variety of capabilities. They can showcase multiple products, share a multi-part story, and display multiple videos or images. In-feed carousel ads allow you to display up to 10 videos or images. In contrast, Stories carousel ads allow you to display either three (for a native stories carousel campaign) or 10 (for an expandable stories carousel). Carousel ads are great for displaying diverse creative assets if you want to show the versatility of your content.

Instagram Carousel Ads

Collection Ads

These ads appear in a users' Instagram feed and allow them to purchase products directly from the ad when they see it. These ads are extremely effective as just one advertisement combines photos, videos, and direct-response marketing.

Instagram Collection Ads

Ads in Explore

These ads appear within the Instagram Explore page. However, they don't appear in the Explore grid itself, but rather only once a user taps on an Explore post and begins to scroll through the discovery feed. These ads can be photos, videos, or in IGTV format. Advertising to fans on the Explore page is a great option since many users go on this page to discover new accounts, people, or brands.

Instagram Explore Ads

2) Authenticity is Key for Stories

The more branded and polished an Instagram Story content looks, the poorer it typically performs. People want to see genuine, casual Instagram Stories from real people.

In addition, Instagram requires all ads to have a 'sponsored' label, so the more compelling and authentic an ad is, the more likely it'll garner results. Successful campaigns rely on creative that's not overly branded.

3) Fast and Furious

When it comes to advertising on Stories, it is best to capture fans' attention with speed. Things move quickly in Stories, so aim to showcase your messages and brand immediately. Keep it short, sweet, and fast-paced. Instagram recommends splitting your story into short, quick scenes and messages. In fact, top-performing ads have more concise, more succinct scenes. Videos hold our attention longer than still images, so it is a good idea to use video for your ad campaign. It's also essential to ensure brand and key messages appear at the beginning of the video.

Instagram Ads

(c/o Later Media)

4) Turn It Up With Sound

Create a more compelling and engaging ad by enhancing message with voice-overs or music. However, you should also consider using captions in your video ads since some users might have their sound off while browsing Instagram.

5) Optimize that Landing Page

When people are using Instagram, most of them are on mobile devices. So it's important to keep in mind both the in-app and the browser experience when creating your ads. Once a user clicks on an ad's Call-To-Action button, they typically spend only three seconds on a landing page before clicking away. Therefore it is crucial your landing page content matches exactly what the ad shows. For example, if your ad is about earrings, ensure your landing page displays those earrings, rather than a broad collection or something else unrelated to your ad. You will spend less money per click the more optimized your ad is.

6) Stickers, Stickers, Stickers

Making your ad interactive is ideal for capturing a fan's attention. Love those cool stickers on Instagram Stories? 83% of the time Stories stickers actually enhance the performance of video ads and in Stories themselves. Interactive stickers like the emoji slider encourage people to engage directly with your Stories ads longer. Instagram's parent company Facebook found the polling sticker increased their 3-second video views in 90% of beta campaigns. However, when it comes to static photo Stories, you should avoid using unnecessary stickers. Facebook found that using two stickers actually reduces performance. They recommend that you avoid stickers if they cause visual clutter and don't help communicate or reinforce key information about your brand or product.

Instagram Ads Stickers

7) Short & Sweet Copy

Your in-feed ad's caption is important for engagement. Your ad's caption will only show the first few words before users have to click "more". Therefore you should keep it short and sweet, with the most important part of your message in the first 8 to 10 words.

Instagram Ads Copy

8) Boosts vs. Dark Ads

Is this ad better suited as a boosted post or a dark ad? It is important to keep in mind the differences between Boosted Posts and Dark Ads.

Boosts: These ads are created by boosting one of your existing Instagram feed posts. Since they come from your Instagram feed, they appear authentic and organic. They will accumulate reach and engagement metrics from both the organic post time period and the paid post-boost time period, which is always higher than from a paid-only ad. Using the Boosted Post method may result in some cheaper delivery metrics, such as CPMs.

Instagram Post Boosts

Dark Ads: For these ads, the link and Call-To-Action are more apparent on the ad, so it can sometimes be a more significant driver of "in-the-moment-action" because the CTA is directly located on the image. Whereas with a boost, a user will often have to find a non-clickable link within the body text or go to the link in the Instagram page's bio. You also can have a Headline; therefore, there's more creative control with the copywriting.

Instagram Dark Ads

Looking for more creative insights? Check out Facebook's advertsing inspiration gallery.

Not sure where to start with Instagram advertising? Contact us for a free consultation on how you can implement Instagram ads within Tradable Bits for your fans.


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