As the saying goes, a picture paints a thousand words. Instagram has fast become one of the most popular social platforms in Australia, appealing to the masses with its visual messaging prowess.

Arguably the most popular, it is also the fastest growing social media platform in Australia, attracting more than 8 million visitors every four weeks—that’s a growth of more than 238% in the last three years. And 80% of Instagram users follow brands and businesses.

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Unlike its counterpart Facebook, Instagram was designed and built exclusively for mobile usage, so your Instagram content—copy, graphic and video—should always be fully optimised for mobile. This also applies to your landing page or any other post-click experiences driven by your ad.

When it comes to look, load time and functionality, anything less than a first-class user experience will negatively impact your Instagram ad performance.

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Types of ads

In the interest of keeping it simple, here is a snapshot of the types of ads you can run on Instagram. Each of these can be woven seamlessly into users’ feeds and stories to create a non-disruptive experience.

With some 500 million Instagram users across the globe viewing Stories every day, the potential to reach a big audience is at your fingertips. Served as full-screen ads that appear between users’ Stories, they are an ideal way to complement your native content. You can target your audience and define how often they see your ad. Stories expire after 24 hours making them an ideal format to promote limited-time offers. The call-to-action is a simple swipe up action that takes viewers directly to your website from your Stories ad.

Photos are a powerful way of telling your story using a crisp, simple and engaging canvas. Instagram photo ads can be either square or landscape format, allowing brands to showcase products and services through captivating and persuasive images. If you’re already producing engaging visual content, these ads are the ideal way to boost your reach and share it with even more people.

Plain and simple, Instagram users thrive on video content. Video ads make it easy to tell your brand story with sound, sight and motion. Use these ad spaces to share videos up to 60 seconds long in landscape or square format.

Taking photo and videos ads up a notch, carousel ads allow your audience to swipe through a carousel of up to ten photos or videos with a call to action button leading them straight to your website. You can use carousel ads to showcase multiple products, tell a multi-part story or to delve into a single product or service.

With collection ads you’ll not only visually appeal to your target audience and allow discover your products, but they can also browse and purchase them directly from the ad. Comprising photos, video or both, collection ads tell an integrated story with a product or lifestyle focus.

Reach people when they’re ready to discover you by extending your feed ads to users who are actively expanding their interests beyond the accounts they follow.

Lucky number seven: tips for top performance

You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to work out Instagram ads, but there’s still plenty that you must consider to make sure you get the results you’re looking for. Here’s what you’ve been waiting for—our seven suggestions to make your Instagram ads shine.

1. Know your audience

Knowing who your audience is will not only help you better leverage the granular targeting options of Facebook Ads, write the best copy and use the most effective call to action, but you can also schedule your campaigns for times when your audience is ready to engage.

2. Consistency is key

Instagram users respond well to consistency and timeliness from the brands they follow, so post frequently but keep your content fresh to ensure your audience stay interested. Consider each element of your ad—visual creative, message and tone— as consistency will reflect and reinforce your brand.

3. Use text wisely

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, an image is worth a thousand words. And that’s probably pertinent given you can’t include much text in your Instagram ads—so you’ll need to let your visuals speak for themselves.

4. Always have a call to action

Your job is to lead your audience and customers on a journey. Share with them, engage with them and tell them what you want them to do. Instagram provide a range of call to action options for all ad types, making it easier for your audience to follow the journey you have mapped out for them.

5. Complement with Stories

Stories are a great tool to use to complement a feed ad campaign or your native content. They can serve as short and sharp reminders of who you are and what you’re offering, and when teamed with a call to action can turn leads in conversions.

6. User generated content

Essentially an extension on word of mouth, user generated content is seen as a good indicator of brand quality and reputation. Leveraging user generated content demonstrates transparency, can drive brand loyalty and naturally makes brand experiences more customer-centric. There’s a huge number of ways to encourage user generated content but one of the easiest can be to run a competition.

7. Get engaged

Social media is all about engagement so, to get the results you want, you have to do more than just post content and run ad campaigns. Find the right combination of reactive and proactive engagement with your audience and soon enough there will be @mentions and user generated content at your disposal.

  • Reactive engagement looks like responses to follower comments, mentions and direct messages. Simple interactions such as liking a comment, or responding to a question or direct message will help you build deeper and more fruitful relationships with your followers.
  • Proactive engagement looks like you making the first move. You can get creative by using Stories features such as polls or questions to find out more about your audience, and then even reshare this content with your followers. Proactively engaging with your Instagram community can be useful in creating a buzz around specific campaigns or ahead of big announcements such as product launches.

And of course, as with any digital advertising campaign, you should test your copy and creative to find the most powerful combination for your objectives. Measure your results and optimise your campaigns for best performance.

We’ve got your back

With its highly visual content, Instagram has grown into a powerful storytelling platform with cost effective solutions for all advertisers—and as its growth continues to skyrocket, brands and businesses can’t afford not to be there. If you need a helping hand getting your Instagram ad campaigns off the ground, or just need a little advice, contact us for an obligation free chat.

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