Despite the advice of some social media experts that you ABSOLUTELY MUST BE RUNNING PAID ADVERTISING ON INSTAGRAM NO MATTER WHAT, we caution a different approach.
It’s about doing what’s best for you and your company, as well as what’s going to bring you the best return on your ad spend.
(1) DIP YOUR TOES IN THE WATER BEFORE DIVING IN THE DEEP END
To decide whether or not to even jump into the Instagram waters, Michael Skehill, one of our Senior Ad Optimization Specialists, recommends “opting-in” to Instagram as a location for delivery of your ads.
This means that for Facebook ads that you’re currently running on Desktop, Mobile, Facebook Ad Network (FAN) and/or All News Feed, you can easily add on Instagram as an additional option for ad placement.
Many people don’t realize how easy it can be to opt into advertising on Instagram, especially if you’re already seeing great results with Facebook ads.
Once you’ve spent enough time running ads on the above placements including Instagram to reach statistical significance (roughly around 100 clicks, depending on their cost), you’ll be able to see a comprehensive breakdown of performance. This is the way to dip your toes in, so that you can get some data back regarding performance and make your decisions based off of that.
Within Facebook Ads Manager’s performance grid, you’ll be able to see exactly how much of what you spend on ad delivery went towards Instagram, as well as how many conversions came back through as a result.
Now is where you can decide whether or not to go full-force into doing Instagram ads. If you’re seeing similar or greater success to ads you’d originally placed on Mobile, then Skehill and our team would recommend you continue to use Instagram as a placement venue.
Once you’ve seen success by taking this approach, you can delve deeper by testing creative and other ideas within the Instagram platform for even greater returns on your ad spend.
A year ago in our Instagram Best Practices post, we specifically cautioned against the use of hashtags in direct response ads.
We mentioned that brands usually only used hashtags as “a go-to discovery and branding practice.”
And while we still stand by the fact that hashtags can be overdone, using them in your direct response ads is something we now recommend.
Unsurprisingly though, this comes with a caveat: it depends on your end goal says Skehill.
If you’re a company that uses a 7-day-view attribution model, then hashtags can bring with them a number of conversions. Depending on how narrowly tailored your use of a hashtag is, when a user searches for it, they’ll come upon your ad and could convert.
It also depends on what you’re promoting or selling – if it’s something that is likely to be of use for an activity named in the hashtag, then the Instagram user will be much more likely to click on your image and convert (in whatever method that means for your brand).
For example, if you’re selling surfboards and use the hashtag #surfboardsale, it’s very likely that someone who is searching for that specific hashtag could be convinced to purchase a surfboard.
(3) DON’T BE A USED CAR SALESMAN
We discussed the nuances of this in our original post, but we’re changing our recommendation to lean more on the side of not having your ad look l much like an ad.
Previously, we recommended that your ads should “be recognizable as ads [so] that people will know they can click to learn more.”
Now, we believe that the user experience should be much more of a continuous flow. Your ad should be jumping out at someone not because it stands out as an ad, but because it is beautifully composed, or witty, or engaging, or exciting, or some combination of those things.
As Yianni Kotsalidas, Senior Ad Optimization Specialist put it, you’re “competing with cats and babies, so people have become soured on typical ads.”
Utilizing the ad formats that Instagram offers is still a strong plus in addition to your use (hopefully!) of excellent photography. Carousel ads or post types, video, use of Instagram Stories, etc. can all enhance your ads’ authenticity factor without bridging the gap into used car salesman territory.
With 600 million users on Instagram, 400 of which use the service daily, you should absolutely dip your toes into the water to see if Instagram is the right fit for your company. But don’t let the number of users sway you; if your customer base isn’t on there or if your tests don’t pan out, don’t feel compelled to advertise on Instagram.If your customer base isn’t on there or if your tests don’t pan out, don’t feel compelled to… Click To Tweet
However, if you do see better results with Instagram ads, it’s definitely a platform that you can explore further to increased success.
In the end, you have to do what is best for your audience and your brand and that will give you the best return on your ad spend. Taking the dive into Instagram may be just the solution, or it may not, but you’ll never know until you give it a try.