Instagram is winning the war for our attention. In recent years, Instagram has become a part of our daily lives, with the average adult user spending nearly 30 minutes a day scrolling the feed, posting photos, stories and viewing content.
Not just a place for influencers and teens, Instagram is being used by everyone from celebrities to businesses. I personally go back and forth on whether our Instagram obsession is net positive or negative for our society, but there’s no arguing the fact that it’s become a central place to reach people with advertising while they are online.
Used correctly, Instagram Ads are a great way to reach new audiences with a consumer product, and can even work for B2B advertisers.
We put together 5 ways you can get more traffic and sales from Instagram today:
1. Instagram Stories
Instagram stories are a feature that allows users and brands to post photos and videos from their account, that disappear after 24 hours. Originally invented by Snapchat, Instagram rolled it out their own version in 2016 and it has become incredibly popular since then with over 500 million people using Instagram stories every day.
Since that’s where the eyeballs are, it makes sense that you would want to advertise there to reach your audience. Creative format options include image, video and carousel. However, I’m always skeptical of new advertising options and placements when they first roll out. While Instagram stories are a place where people spend a lot of time when they are using the platform, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best place to advertise. Because the tendency is for users to view a story for a matter for seconds, the creative needs to be attention-grabbing.
To get conversions, you’re going to want the ad to be as direct-response as possible, so you’ll want to have a strong call-to-action to get the viewer to ‘swipe up’ and visit your landing page or website. A brand type of message may work for brand recall later… but I suspect that most people reading this will want immediate action over brand awareness.
It goes without saying that you need to be in a position to measure the results of your Instagram story ad campaigns. That means tracking micro and macro conversions, checking on your campaign performance data often, and making changes and optimizations as needed.
2. As part of your Facebook Ads campaign
The best way for advertisers to get started advertising on Instagram, is part of a Facebook Ads campaign.
Facebook owns Instagram, and the creation and management of Instagram campaigns is only done via Facebook’s Ads Manager where Facebook gives you the option to choose what platforms to advertise on. Your creative will be mostly the same, and they’ll be automatically formatted to fit each platform’s requirements.
When your campaign is live, Facebook’s system will optimize performance across the two platforms based on your chosen performance metric. So if you're trying to get conversions, and Instagram is delivering a CPA (cost-per-action) that’s half of what you’re getting on Facebook, the system will automatically shift to focus on Instagram.
One thing you’ll find out rather quickly is that even though a lot of people are spending time on Instagram, there is less ad inventory so more budget tends to get spent on Facebook. If you’re finding success on Instagram, it’s possible to create an ‘Instagram only’ campaign and hone in on your audience and creative to maximize performance.
Remarketing is about advertising to people who have already interacted with your brand in some way.
There are many ways to approach remarketing, but most advertisers do the following:
Remarketing to people who have visited your website but have not converted
Remarketing to people who are on an email list
Remarketing to people who have already brought from you with a loyalty campaign
Remarketing is the best place for B2B marketers to advertise on Instagram. Prospecting (i.e advertising to a new audience) to a B2B audience on Instagram, is difficult if not impossible. Since you need to know what they do professionally to make sure it’s a good fit, and the data available on Facebook/Instagram isn’t as detailed as say, LinkedIn, it will make finding the right people difficult.
They aren’t on Instagram in ‘business mode’ either, so LinkedIn Ads are better suited for reaching new business audiences for the first time.
However, if you already know that someone has visited your businesses website, downloaded one of your E-books or opted in some other way, you can reach them with a business ad effectively during their ‘leisure time’ on Instagram. Ads on Instagram and Facebook can be more viewable and engaging than Google Display Ads, so consider adding this to the strategy as well.
If you’re in E-Commerce, Instagram is a great place to reach your audience and sell your products.
Understanding your audience so that you can combine targeted campaigns to new audiences with a highly relevant message can drive quality traffic and sales to your site.
You should create at least three campaigns:
Prospecting - Ads targeted to new audiences, telling the story of your brand and your products. A well-produced video is the best creative asset for this audience. The goal is to really get them to understand your brand, and visit your website. Most people won’t purchase on the first visit, and that’s OK because you’ll follow up.
Remarketing - At this stage, people have visited your site already and have hopefully learned about your brand and products. Now you can help them towards making a purchase by advertising your products to them again and pointing out the best features and benefits that your product offers.
Loyalty/Upsell - Once you’ve acquired a customer, you’ll have their information so you no longer have to pay the cost of making the acquisition again. Advertising to someone here to buy a different product can be very cost-effective.
5. Data Ownership
Make sure that you own or have direct access to your Facebook Ads account so that you have access to the valuable advertising data stored in the account and can audit exactly how much is being spent on ads.
I’ve talked about this before, but want to emphasize how important it is to have this ownership. Some agencies charge massive hidden fees by taking money out of media budget and keeping it for themselves, so you’ll want to be able to see the actual spend. Facebook/Instagram Ads are self-serve platforms, so it’s easy for anyone to share access to the account. And If the relationship with that agency ends, you’ll want to have the marketing data to share with the new agency.
Those are just a handful of ways to get more traffic and sales from Instagram Ads, but there is much more to learn and the platform changes constantly.
Here are a few other interesting resources you’ll want to check out:
If you’re interested in seeing how much time you spent on Instagram in the past 7-days, you can do so here.
Buffer put together this great resource on Instagram stories, with information on how often to post, the best times of the day to post and more: - note that this is only applicable to organic Instagram.
Instagram is testing in-app checkout so that you can buy directly from Instagram without having to leave the app.