Instagram: Picture Perfect and Ad Friendly

Three years after Facebook purchased the immensely popular photo-sharing social network Instagram, it was officially opened up to all advertisers in the summer of 2015. This was a highly-anticipated and long-awaited social media channel for marketers, because let’s face it, with more than 400 million users per month, Instagram is quite the catch. And although it’s still very young and not everyone has tested the image-centric waters, recent feedback suggests it’s going swimmingly.

As of October, two months following the API launch, Nanigans, a company at the vanguard of advertising technology for in-house marketing, reported that 31 percent of all advertisers using their company’s ad automation software were spending marketing dollars on Instagram.

With user engagement second only to Facebook, Instagram is considered by Nanigans and other digital marketers as a necessary component of any social media marketing strategy, but some changes may be required.  As marketers move in to the unique Instagram environment, adaptations may be necessary to the existing look and function of ads.

Instagram currently offers three options for advertisements; photo, video and carousel, and they’ve done a nice job explaining what they offer and how they can help businesses on their information page … https://business.instagram.com/advertising/

With Instagram advertising in mind, some things to consider are…

1. It’s a visual medium, so bring the goods, or go home. Gorgeous images, interesting videos, highly polished or insanely cool, Instagram is the marketing channel where creativity can and should run wild and where special attention should be given to the aesthetics of the advertisement.

2. Tiny URLs, not just for Twitter anymore. Unfortunately, Google analytics does not track traffic generated from Instagram. Create customized short links in order to track the flow of traffic being driven by the Instagram ad. Bit.ly is a great resource for customizing a short link that can then be tracked.

3. Hop on and share the ride. Improve exposure through sponsored posts on peer feeds. Posting sponsored content on an Instagram account that is relevant and shares a similar demographic can yield wide exposure. This can also be done by including trending hashtags with Instagram ads/posts. The Instagram explore feature allows users to easily search for trending hashtags, so you can serve up biggie-sized exposure by simply adding a trending hashtag to an ad/post. According to Richard Lazazzera, content strategist at Shopify and founder of A Better Lemonade Stand, Instagram is currently the cheapest CPM (cost per thousand impressions) of any ad platform, so it’s worth participating and sharing.

4. And finally (and as always), bring them into the funnel. Once an ad has managed to capture attention and perhaps even a “follow”, it’s time to consider the next step in bringing a customer deeper into the marketing funnel. One of the best (and easiest) ways to accomplish this is to ask for an email address. Whether it’s a newsletter or additional relevant content a company is offering, opportunities for snagging an email address can create marketing success. A direct contact, such as an email address, allows for direct communication, which can be more personal and meaningful for both the customer and company.

Find additional posts on sales and marketing at www.smstudy.com/articles.

Sources:

Instagram Advertising Benchmark Report 2015, Nanagins. http://www.nanigans.com/blog/igram/usu/instagram-advertising-benchmark-report-december-2015

13 Instagram Marketing Tips from the Experts, July 22, 2015. Cindy King, Social Media Examiner. http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/13-instagram-marketing-tips-from-the-experts/

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