How to advertise on Instagram effectively & profitably?

How to advertise on Instagram effectively & profitably

Would you like to launch online advertising campaigns on Instagram but you don’t know how to get the most out of it?

In this article I will show you how to run profitable campaigns on Instagram Ads by reviewing their formats, giving you some practical advice to avoid the beginner mistakes that we have all made and telling you a practical example where I will give you the keys to “put your brand in orbit” Instagram today.

But before we get into the practice, let’s take a look at the journey Instagram has traveled to become the jewel in the crown of the Facebook empire.

How advertising works on Instagram?

Instagram began as a social network exclusively for photography in 2010, but since it was acquired by Facebook in 2012 it began to expand the variety of content and publication formats. 

Until today, when it has become a generalist social network where all kinds of content have a place. Of course, maintaining that visual appeal that has always characterized it.

All this has made it possible to achieve an exponential growth rate in recent years until it is currently one of the most used social networks on the planet , with about 1 billion users and only surpassed by YouTube and its older sister Facebook. 

As it expanded, the inclusion of advertising on Instagram was prepared, which was opened to all companies in 2015 by integrating its management into the Facebook Ads advertising platform. 

And, since then, it has become one of the platforms with the best advertising interaction and profitability rates on the market .

According to a study conducted by Instagram in 2016 , “75% of Instagram users take actions (such as visiting a website, doing searches or purchases, or recommending the company to a friend) after seeing a post that inspires them.”

But don’t be fooled: not all companies that invest in Instagram Ads manage to make their investment profitable, far from it. Only those who draw up a strategy and know how to design their campaigns correctly get results. 

Don’t despair, you don’t need to be an expert to create simple and profitable campaigns on Instagram. And also, today you are in luck because in the following points I will show you everything you need to know to achieve it. 

But before entering the matter, just in case you are still not convinced, we are going to see all the benefits that you will get by investing in this social network. Don’t miss them!

5 benefits of investing in advertising on Instagram

You must bear in mind that Instagram is a business that bases its income on the advertising investment of companies. Therefore, to take advantage of its full potential you have to go through the box.

Some of the benefits that Instagram Ads offers are:

  1. Reach your potential customers in the same environment where they interact with their friends and references. 
  2. Get an impact on your audience by taking advantage of all the visual possibilities it offers you.
  3. Reach users who are interested in your products / services. 
  4. Improve your image and transmit the values ​​of your brand.
  5. Increase your followers and create a community around your brand.

7 tips for creating Instagram ads that stand out

Before analyzing the different advertising formats available on Instagram and starting with the guide to creating your campaigns on the social network, I will give you 7 tips to make your ads stand out. 

  1. Simulate the amateur format : don’t forget that Instagram is a social network where users seek to interact with their friends and acquaintances. Therefore, if you simulate an amateur format in your creativity, you will attract the user’s attention by identifying your ad with a publication of their friends.
  2. Create spatial inconsistencies : Create compositions that confuse the senses so that they stop at your ad. The sensation of weightlessness, inverted reflections and impossible perspectives are usually the most common.
  3. Includes smiling faces : humans are attracted to other faces, and if they are smiling, even more so. And if they also appear to be enjoying your product or service, you will be sending an implicit message to users that will make them want it.
  4. Use in humor : humor and wonder are two of the ingredients that work best on social media. If you can use it in your creatives, you will trigger your interaction and the reach of your message.
  5. Tell stories : people are attracted to stories, you just have to see the “boom” of the series. And if you manage to transmit emotions related to the consumption of your product / service with them, it will become an indelible mark in the brains of your customers.
  6. Maintain consistency : everything said above should not be at odds with maintaining consistency between your creativity and your product / service. Do not forget that the objective in itself is not to create the content that generates the most interaction, but to reach our target audience and that this helps us increase our sales. 
  7. Raise the quality : Another way to stand out is through quality. If you offer content of a higher quality, you will attract the attention of users and increase the effectiveness of your campaigns. A clear example of this are the creatives used by international brands such as Nike, Coca Cola, etc. But you don’t have to spend thousands of euros to achieve it, if you manage to offer the best quality among your competitors you will achieve the same result.

What kinds and formats of Instagram ads can you use?

Once we have reviewed the characteristics of advertising on Instagram and its benefits, and you have the keys to create ads that stand out, we are going to analyze all the ad formats that you can use on the platform. 

In this way you can unleash all your creativity knowing the rules of the game. In addition, I will give you some tips on how to optimize each format so that you can get ideas to apply in your campaigns.

1. Image

The image format is the most widely used and simple (a priori) to implement. However, to create an image ad that grabs the attention of your target audience in an environment where the level of photographic quality is very high, it is not easy at all. 

Try to include a quality image that, in addition to transmitting a message that reinforces the objective of your campaign, stands out for its quality and creativity.

All the investment you make at this point will pay off. And you will get a lower advertising cost and a higher conversion.

The most used format is square, but you can also use the vertical format.

How to advertise on Instagram effectively & profitably?

2. Video

Video is the star format in social networks, establishing itself by far as one of the formats with the greatest interaction and that best connects with users.

This is due to two factors. First, moving images attract more attention than a static image and, on the other hand, you can transmit much more information through a video and users will appreciate more details that will indicate that they are before their best purchase option. 

However, video also has a great disadvantage: its difficulty and high production cost. 

Making quality videos has a high cost that many businesses cannot afford. But surely you have a latest generation mobile right?

Well, take advantage of that “gazillion” megapixel camera and start creating simple videos for your campaigns. In the following sections I will teach you to spy on your competitors’ ads to inspire you and get ideas when creating your own.

As for the format, they cannot exceed 2 minutes in length. From left this link to the official Facebook page with the available formats.

3. Carousel or sequence

Through sequences or carousels you will be able to show several images or videos in your ads. And you can take advantage of this functionality to:

  • Highlight different angles of a product
  • Show multiple products
  • List characteristics of a service
  • Create a composition in mosaic format
  • Tell a story in various stages
  • And a long etcetera

As in all cases, creativity to power. But something that works very well to get users to see all the images on the carousel is to include visual marks that indicate that there are more images to see. Or, in the case of including video, invite the user to swipe to see the next video.

4. Stories

Stories are one of the strengths of Instagram, reaching the point that more than 500 million people use them every day .

Stories have many advantages, among them, that they are a totally inverse experience, in which for 30 seconds you will have the user’s full attention and can convince them to perform the target action.

In addition, it limits you to only using a single image or video. Rather, you can use multiple images or videos to expand the creative possibilities and the message you convey.

How to advertise on Instagram effectively & profitably?

5. Collection

Through the collections you can show users a collection of products in a highly visual format and completely adapted for mobile phones. 

In addition, if you install the Facebook pixel on your website and synchronize the catalog of your online store with that of Facebook, you will be able to show in a personalized way the products that interest your potential customers the most. 

How to discover your competition’s advertising strategy on Instagram?

Now that you know in a summarized way the possibilities that the platform offers you, you have to know what is working in your sector and where is the level of your competitors. 

This step is essential and will save you a lot of headaches to figure out what works and what doesn’t. I’m not telling you to copy your competition, far from it. But before going out to play the game you have to know your opponents. That is: your competitors. 

But you can go much further if, in addition, you look at the big players in your sector, those who have the most capital and carry out the most creative campaigns. Surely you will get a lot of ideas to apply to your campaigns on Instagram Ads. 

With that said, let’s see how you can research your competitors’ ads. You will only have to follow these steps: 

  1. Enter the Instagram profile that interests you
  2. Display the side navigation menu
  3. Click on “information about this account”
  4. Enter the tab “active ads”
  5. Tachan! You will be able to investigate all the creatives of your competitors

How to create advertising campaigns on Instagram [Guide]

If you have come this far, you already know the characteristics of advertising on Instagram, the available formats and some tricks to get creatives that connect with your audience, and you will have been inspired by researching your competition. 

Now we are going to take action and we are going to create your first advertising campaign on Instagram, step by step. 

1. Link your Facebook page with your Instagram profile

First, you will have to link your Instagram account with your Facebook page. Since it will be from the Facebook Ads business manager from where we will manage the campaigns on Instagram. 

I leave you this link to an article where you will learn how to create a Facebook page for your company and how to configure it correctly.

2. Enter the Facebook Ads business manager

The next step will be to go to the Facebook Ads business manager and create an advertising account. 

This advertising account will be linked to your Facebook and Instagram page. You should know that you can create and manage an infinite number of personal or client advertising accounts. 

The most common is to have an advertising account for each brand or business. 

Something that I recommend that you do from the first moment, although we do not go into detail in this article so as not to complicate it excessively, is to add the Facebook pixel on your website . 

In case you don’t know, the Facebook pixel is a code that, when inserted on your website, stores the behavior of your visitors in the Facebook Ads business manager. 

And through this data you can create remarketing campaigns on Facebook to, for example, impact users who have visited your website and left without finalizing their purchase. 

Interesting, right?

Well, even if it seems very advanced at this time and you do not want to complicate your life any more, I advise you to install it because, in this way, if in a few months you want to carry out more advanced campaigns (and I bet what you want that it will be) , you will have a large database to work with.

The process is very simple, and if you have installed the Google Analytics code on your website, you will have no problem getting it.

We are going to briefly review what objectives exist and when you should use each of them. 

First of all, you have to understand that the campaign objectives are divided into three groups that represent the purchase decision process of your target audience. That is, in what phase of the sales funnel they are measured by the distance that separates them to become customers. 

Let’s look at them briefly: 

  • Recognition target group: target group focused on impacting users who don’t know you (cold traffic) and getting them to discover your brand and the product / service you offer. In this category we will not ask users to take any action and we only want to convey authority and trust to them. In this group are the objectives of:
    • Brand recognition
    • Scope
  • Consideration group of objectives : once you have achieved user recognition, you must move on to getting them to identify (or consider) you as a solution to their problem. Now that they trust us and take us into account, we can ask them something, such as visiting our website, downloading a PDF, filling out a form, etc. Within this group are the objectives of: 
    • Traffic
    • Interaction
    • Application download
    • Video views
    • Lead generation
    • Messages
  • Conversion objective group : finally, there are the objective groups with which we will get users to finalize their purchase when they have shown that they are interested in our product / service. This is where the remarketing campaigns that you can carry out if you install the Facebook pixel will enter. In this category are: 
    • Conversions
    • Catalog Sales
    • Business traffic

4. Create a set of ads and segment your audience

Once you have established the objective of your campaign, you have to create an ad group, in which you will segment the audience you are going to target and the locations where the ads will appear on Instagram (stories or feed). 

You should understand that each campaign can have multiple ad groups with which you will target different audiences. 

For example, a business school will create a campaign to reach users who have been interested in one of its courses, and will create several ad groups to target different profiles of potential clients (managers, students, workers, etc.) , and each of them will buy for different reasons, so the messages will have to be personalized. 

And, in turn, within each ad group we will create several versions of ads with different copies and creatives to optimize messages and increase profitability. 

5. Create your ads on Instagram

Finally, as we have advanced in the previous point, we will have to create the ads for Instagram. Adapting both the creatives and the text to the placements you have selected in each ad group, as well as to the audiences you have targeted.

Tips to optimize your advertising on Instagram

Following the previous points, you will have created your campaign on Instagram and you will begin to impact your target audience with your ads, but if you think that the work has finished here, you are wrong. It has only just begun. 

Most campaigns are not profitable in the beginning , especially if you have no experience, and only after working hard to optimize them will you achieve the desired profitability. To help you in this process, we are going to review 5 points that you must follow to optimize your campaigns.

1. Define your buyer persona

A buyer persona is the detailed representation of your ideal client, but not only with their characteristics, but with their first and last names. You have to give it an identity, personality and motivations , as well as all the relevant data to help you understand its buying behavior. 

And you can’t limit yourself to creating a single buyer persona. You must create as many as types of clients you have. This exercise will help you better understand the characteristics and motivations of your customers, managing to personalize your ads, better connect with your audience and increase your profitability. 

Let’s look at an example with something as simple as sunglasses. 

At first you may think that from something so simple you cannot create many buyer personas. You’re wrong. 

The characteristics of the product are simple, but not the personality, purchasing power, age, language, style or characteristics that customers who purchase them most appreciate about the product.

Therefore, if you create your campaigns thinking only of one of these buyers, you will be losing a large number of customers by not connecting with them through your ads.

2. Use copywriting techniques

Copywriting is the art of convincing with words, using persuasive writing techniques in order to get the reader to take action. For example, a purchase. 

There are dozens (or hundreds) of persuasive writing techniques, but in order not to get off the topic by stopping to analyze them, I am satisfied that you internalize the essence that is hidden within all of them: 

“Connect with the emotions or needs of the readers and take advantage of that connection to transmit your message and get them to take the target action.”

Here are references to two of the most famous copywriting methods used to create ads: 

  • AIDA model
  • PASTOR model

3. Adapt your messages and creatives to the type of ads

You should tailor your ads to the placements that you have defined in each ad group. It is very tempting to take advantage of the same design to show it everywhere, but I do not recommend it for two reasons: 

  • It is unprofessional : surely you have seen an ad and have said to yourself: “They put it in here with a shoehorn.” 
  • You waste your money : if you do not adapt your creativity to the advertising format, you will not be able to transmit the message effectively, since the text will not be read correctly or the image will be cut off.

4. Analyze and optimize

I imagine you know the saying that goes: “What cannot be measured, cannot be optimized.” And what is not optimized ends up degrading until it loses validity and profitability.

If we take into account that with advertising on Instagram the analysis capabilities are enormous, you have no excuse. So now you know what you have to do. Open the analysis tab in your business manager and dive into the data of your campaigns to optimize them progressively.

5. Don’t take anything for granted: take A / B tests

Lastly, you can’t trust your perception to tell whether one creative or advertising copy is better than another. You have to put it in front of your audience and let them decide which is the winner. 

Performing A / B test will help you find the key and optimize little by little to achieve maximum profitability. 

Here I have to give you a warning: in order to draw conclusions from your A / B tests there cannot be big differences between both versions. Since this way you will not know what works and what does not.

This is a long-distance race, and you will have to perform countless tests to find the perfect ad. So be patient and improve little by little.

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