There are plenty of opportunities for companies of all sizes to advertise on Instagram and reach their target audiences. And while organic social media strategies seem to be the most cost-effective, they are also more time-consuming and rely a lot more on trial-and-error. This is why comprehensive social media strategies always incorporate both organic and paid tactics. On the one hand, social media marketing helps build a loyal audience of followers, while on the other, paid advertising will help you achieve your goals and objectives with more accuracy.
But as more and more brands are joining this social networking site, the users’ Instagram feed becomes an ever more competitive environment. This means that it’s also harder to stand out from the competition. It is estimated that by the end of 2020, 75.3% of all US-based companies will advertise on Instagram. In more recent years, it has become a well-known social media platform used for both eCommerce marketing and advertising. Around 83% of Instagram users have said that the platform helped them discover new products and services. Similarly, 81% said that Instagram played a major role in researching products and services, while 80% used the platform to make an informed purchasing decision.
Likewise, 78% of responders have also said that brands on Instagram are popular, 77% have seen them as creative, 76% described them as entertaining, while 74% as relevant. One reason for this is that Instagram doesn’t seem to be as affected by “ad fatigue” as Facebook or other social media platforms. Taking these factors into account, it should come as no surprise to anyone that Instagram’s 2020 ad revenue is projected to make up 30% of Facebook’s entire ad revenue.
By being a highly visual platform, Instagram provides brands with the opportunity to show off their product. And together with Instagram Shopping, it’s even easier to convert audiences into paying customers. However, you will need to employ some of the tactics and best practices on how to advertise on Instagram, before you can experience any real success.
Determine Your Instagram Advertising Goals
Before you can advertise on Instagram and get started with your developing your Instagram ad campaigns, it’s critical that you give careful consideration to the goals and objectives you want to achieve. For some, these may include things such as a larger audience network or greater brand awareness. For others to choose an objective, it may imply lead generation, more website traffic, increased sales, product promotions, or it may encourage Instagram users to download a mobile app. Choosing the right purpose for your Instagram ad campaign will not only help you achieve it in the first place, but it will also help you determine the target audience, message, and specific call-to-action.
The ad campaign objectives, available in Facebook’s Ads Manager for Instagram, that are based on the three stages of the buyer’s journey include the following:
- The Awareness Stage
- Brand Awareness
- The Consideration Stage
- Mobile App Installs
- Lead Generation
- Video Views
- The Conversion Stage
- Catalog Sales
- Store Traffic
Define Your Target Audiences to Advertise on Instagram
To advertise on Instagram, choose the right target audience and keep your content relevant to that audience. Instagram ads have a wide variety of targeting options based on demographics, locations, behavior, interests, or automated targeting (letting Facebook decide). Many social media marketers make the mistake of targeting a broad audience in the hopes of generating more results faster. However, this strategy tends to backfire by often leading to lower overall engagement and clickthrough rates.
An even better alternative is to go for a Custom Audience. This represents groups of people who have already connected with your brand in some way. They could have already visited your website, engaged your Facebook posts, used your mobile app, or shared their contact info with you.
● Lookalike Audiences
Lookalike Audiences are an excellent place to start when targeting your Instagram ads. They are based on people who are similar to your existing customer base, making them prime candidates likely to convert. To create a Lookalike Audience and target it with your Instagram ads, you will first need to create a Custom Audience that tells Facebook what type of people you will want to reach. The Custom Audience is created from information gathered from your mobile app, Facebook Pixel, or the list of fans on your Page. Facebook will analyze their common qualities, such as demographics, interests, locations, etc., and deliver the ad to other people that share similar qualities.
Value-based Lookalike Audiences are an enhancement to the traditional Lookalike Audiences mentioned above. Aside from all the same features, these value-based audiences also take into account how much your current customers are worth, in terms of their Lifetime Value (LTV). Basically, you are telling Facebook which customers to prioritize based on their LTV. This adds an extra dimension to improve your targeting potential and eventual ROI.
To put it simply, the customer lifetime value is a numeric representation of the net profit you predict a customer will generate throughout your entire relationship. This will include factors such as the number of purchases during a typical buying cycle, the average amount spent on each purchase, the total amount spent over the course of the relationship, and the potential length of that relationship.
Using Instagram Ads for Shopify
Statistics show that around 65% of Instagram users will visit a brand’s website or mobile app after seeing its product on service on the social network. This makes Instagram a prime platform for those looking to sell their products online. However, Instagram marketing has long suffered from a lack of an efficient way of getting followers onto the company website or mobile app. Since there is no way to place clickable links in organic post captions, brands have to direct their followers to a link located in the Instagram bio. They also have to continuously update that link, based on the new posts they add.
Nevertheless, a couple of years back, Instagram partnered up with Shopify and has since created Instagram Shopping. You can now incorporate both website links and product tagging directly into your Instagram ads. Having a “Shop Now” button at the bottom of your ad, for example, will take the reader directly to a product page. Basically, Instagram Shopping ads have provided a seamless customer checkout experience by greatly reducing the number of steps needed for your audience to get onto your site and make a purchase.
Tracking Engagement and Conversions
Like with any other digital marketing or advertising campaign, the chances of hitting your ad objective on the first try are next to impossible. Therefore, when you advertise on Instagram, you will most likely have to continuously track, edit, and optimize your Instagram ad campaign before seeing any meaningful results. Depending on the ad objective you choose, you’ll have different results available. If, for instance, you’ve created an engagement ad, you’ll have access to how many post engagements your ad has received. You’ll also see the overall reach, as well as the Cost per Result and the Amount Spent, to better determine how your budget is being allocated.
● Facebook Pixel for Sale Conversion Tracking
If, however, your ad objective is to sell more products online (see more sales conversions) or, alternatively, to run a remarketing campaign for users who’ve already visited your website, you will need to create and install a Facebook Pixel from within Facebook’s Ads Manager. To put it simply, Facebook Pixel is a small piece of code that attaches to your website and tracks visitors and conversions. Basically, every time someone clicks on your Instagram ads visits your website or mobile app, or makes an online purchase, the pixel will tell Facebook that a conversion has occurred.
Facebook will then match that conversion against the set of people who’ve clicked on your Instagram ad, telling you exactly how many sales you’ve made from that ad. Facebook Pixel also comes in handy when building your Custom Audience. In addition, by tracking these conversions through pixel, Facebook will also get better and deliver your ads to people who are more likely to take those actions.
Split Testing Your Instagram Ad Campaigns
Conducting an A/B test on your Instagram ads will ensure that you are using the best possible ad performance in your campaigns. Also known as a split test, A/B testing involves comparing two variations of the same Instagram ad against each other and seeing which one performs better. You can use these insights when you advertise on Instagram to create future ad campaigns. For example, you may hypothesize that a custom audience will outperform an interest-based audience. You can conduct a quick A/B test to determine if that’s the case. Likewise, you may compare a different type of Instagram ad, like a single video ad to a carousel ad, and see which one outperforms the other.
To generate the most accurate results from your split testing, it’s best to change a single variable at a time such as the ad images, text, or different creative types, different audiences, placements, etc. If you change too much in a single split test, you may not figure out what exact variable was responsible for the improved result