If you’re ready to try Instagram ads for yourself, here are nine things to consider to help you make the most of your marketing dollars.
1. Keep Your Images Clean
If you’ve ever advertised on Facebook, then you know the 20% text rule. If you haven’t, it basically means that they will reject your ad or significantly reduce the reach if you have text on more than 20% of your image. On Instagram, this is even more of a no-no.
People love Instagram precisely because it is a visual social platform. Essentially, your ads shouldn’t look like ads. They should feature your products in a compelling way—that means not covered with text. They should also be 1080 x 1080 so they fill the space accordingly.
2. Use Your Most Beautiful Images (and Lots of Them)
You’ve probably invested money in taking product images for your store. You can (and absolutely should) re-purpose those on Instagram. Make sure they are truly beautiful. And if they aren’t, find a free editing tool to touch them up.
This is a great opportunity to show your products in a bunch of different ways by using carousel ads that feature multiple images of your products in the real world. Forget the shots of your products with a white background—that’s for a catalog, not for an Instagram ad.
3. Ditch the Branding on Your Images
To continue on this theme, don’t throw your branding on top of your product image. Your ad will be seen next to your Instagram icon and handle, which will speak for itself.
4. Choose Your Text Wisely
You only get 300 characters for your ad caption, so make the most of them. Tell people what’s awesome about your products. Include any special offers. Make sure to have a clear call to action. And if you’re funny, Instagram is a great place to get your brand’s humor across.
Just don’t try too hard or do something that feels off-brand compared to the rest of your online presence.
5. Forget Hashtags
While hashtags can improve your reach with organic posts, ads won’t show up in hashtag search results. If you have extra space in your text, you could use them to point people to other related products and posts, but we'd recommend skipping it.
6. Don't Forget Video
Instagram is an awesome place to post short videos that show off your products, offer some how-to tips, or showcase related entertaining clips.
The quality doesn’t need to be perfect, but make sure it formats correctly with no black space on either side, has at least 72px minimum resolution, and is between three and 30 seconds long.
7. Turn Off the Sound
Don’t forget that Instagram is a mobile experience for consumers. While people love videos, they often have the sound off on their mobile device to not bother their neighbors (or tip off that they are watching videos instead of doing something else).
Instead, add closed captions to your video or text breaks so your target audience can get your message without needing to turn on the sound.
8. Ease Into Your Budget
When you're just getting started, you’ll want to get a feel for what people respond to and what they don’t. Start by spending a few dollars a day to learn before you diving in with your entire budget.
9. Support Ads With Other Posts
While it's easy to invest only in ads on Instagram that you can pay to get in front of people, don't forget to post on your own content as well. The more you post, the more you will be seen as a real "social" brand that people want to connect with. Want more? We wrote 10 Instagram Ad Tips for eCommerce.
And you have a lot more flexibility in what you can post. Try "behind the scenes" images that feature your employees or quotes by people you admire. (And use those hashtags here to expand your reach.)
Bonus tip: Match Ads To Onsite Experience
If you’re spending money driving traffic to your website or online store with Instagram ads, there is a good chance you have a very targeted message. To get the best return on your ad spend, consider matching your advertising message to the message a visitor sees when they land on your website.
One way to do this is via onsite popups that are triggered to appear according to unique UTM tags placed on your social ad links.
In the example below, The Bruce Lee Store store uses an onsite popup to acknowledge that their visitors are coming from Instagram by using the social platform's colors and branding. They are also greeted with the same messaging and offer that was promised in the initial ad, giving the shopper a positive and cohesive experience.
There's so many social channels out there. Next up, we'll discuss connecting your YouTube presence to your on-site campaigns.