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Instagram. It’s where all the cool kids are.
Yes, if it seems like everyone you know is using Facebook’s photo-savvy social app, it’s because they probably are. Instagram boasts over 110 million users in the U.S. alone, and over 500 million users around the world.
And unlike some other social apps that don’t offer a robust direct response advertising platform (We’re looking at you, Twitter.), shopping and selling are practically built into your daily Insta scroll.
For many businesses, that provides a huge opportunity to engage with their followers, find new ones, and convert Instagram users from far and wide into newsletter recipients, website visitors, and hopefully, customers.
If you’re considering Instagram Advertising, you need to start on the right foot. Consider this article that foot.
The short answer: Maybe.
Not every business is suited for Instagram advertising, especially its direct response offerings. At its core, Instagram is a visual platform with users who skew slightly younger, which means a highly technical brand, like a B2B property tax software company, probably won’t get much ROI.
On the other hand, retail brands, beauty brands, bloggers, apps and tech companies, travel, and media brands can often make the most out of their Instagram spend.
A Caveat: There are a number of types of ads you can run on Instagram, but not all of them fall under the direct response marketing umbrella—so we’ll leave those to another article. A lawyer, bike accessories company, or even a blogger might find Instagram’s advertising options to be well-suited to marketing goals like brand awareness or reach.
Instead, let’s focus on the ads that make users want to act right now.
Instagram isn’t all about scrolling. Users are increasingly drawn toward the Stories bar at the top of their Instagram feed, which allows them to view short, vertical videos and images posted by their friends. That’s where you come in.
Instagram Stories ads give you the opportunity to get your ad in front of users directly after they view one friend’s story and before they jump to the next one. All ads involve a swipe-up feature to drive audiences to your desired site or page:
Photo ads are the O.G.s of Instagram advertising, and they remain simple and powerfully effective tools for getting your brand—or a specific product—in front of people. For the same reason, they also offer a ton of CTA buttons to advertisers:
If you’ve made a video that’s optimized for the Instagram platform, you might want to use it to help your direct response marketing. Capitalize on the platform’s strengths and go all-in with a video, deploying a somewhat reduced group of CTA options:
Of course, we won’t rehash all these buttons since we’ve explained them, but your video may be the perfect way to accomplish all kinds of direct response goals. You can drive users to your Instagram page, get them to your lists or contact info, or even put them a click away from your app download.
Think picture or video ad a few times over. These engaging ads give users the option to swipe through a set of videos or images with specific captions and CTAs as the users progress. These are your direct response options:
Since we’ve covered these, we want to mention a couple things that make carousels so great. Not only do they give brands the opportunity to highlight several things in one ad—like various clothing items, handwoven bags, or even travel destinations—you can also use them as one larger brand story. Connect the images and videos to tell one complete brand narrative or explore one of your company’s services or announcements in depth.
One of the newer Instagram ad types, collection ads remove a step out of the purchasing process. Rather than just seeing a product from your brand and having to click that ad to visit your site where they would place the item in their cart and begin the checkout process, they have the option to purchase that product directly from the ad.
Understandably, there’s a streamlined set of CTAs:
Of course, users can still click on the ad to learn more. However, the option to purchase really puts the “direct” in “direct response.” Instagram continues to add more robust, immediate features for advertisers, and they’re worth a second look.
All the features in the world aren’t a substitute for smart copy and solid creative. Poor photos, uninventive and generic captions, and unreliable data capturing methods are all good ways of guaranteeing your direct response marketing budget is wasted on Instagram.
Remember the basics, and then you’ll be ready to crack open Instagram’s robust advertising capabilities. If your business is a good fit for Instagram, it’ll be more than worth the investment. And that’s something worth scrolling for.