Last August on ADTEKR Alex reported on the launch of Instagram’s advertising API, which allowed third parties to directly connect to Instagram’s platform and trade advertising programmatically, predicting that with this new ease of access for marketers wishing to advertise on the app Instagram looked to become the king of the mobile display world. Prior to the launch of the API, advertisers had to purchase directly via an Instagram sales representative with Instagram’s advertising platform being non-existent until 2014. This week on ADTEKR we look at whether the launch has been the success Instagram had hoped for. And crucially what successful content on Instagram looks like.
Instagram’s Advertising Success
Despite only opening advertising to all marketers in around October 2015 Instagram revealed in February this year that it had more than 200,000 advertisers on the social platform and is now one of the world’s largest mobile ads platforms. It has attracted a range of businesses from start-ups to household names such as Audi, Coca-Cola and Universal Studios with a range of advertising formats from photo ads, to carousel ads and video ads. It seems the launch of the API together with the launch of direct-response-focused ad units (which make it easier for advertisers to use the same copy, custom audiences and creative from Facebook) has so far had the success Instagram was hoping for.
The businesses advertising on Instagram have also reaped the benefits of the success so far. Coca Cola saw a 7-point lift in message association between Coke, happiness and friendship and Just Eat saw a 48% lower CPI with Instagram ads. A summer campaign by Red Bull also drove a 10-point lift in top-of-mind awareness amongst 19-39 year old males. With over 400 million users including a large number of millenials (whom are notoriously tough to target through traditional channels) combined with Facebook’s profiling abilities, it seems that advertising on Instagram could be a viable option for a lot of businesses, and that Instagram may be near to claiming its crown.
But on a more granular level how can businesses best utilise Instagram’s advertising opportunities? What makes a great Instagram ad that will ultimately lead to conversions?
How to maximise conversions as a business
- Rich content – with such a high number of users it could be easy for advertisers to look at Instagram as easy access to an audience where adverts can be dumped en masse waiting for conversions. But in an ever competing space quality content will be what stands out to a user. Engagement with an advert leads to adverts being seen by more users due to Instagram’s new algorithm. Creating a strong brand message or theme across adverts will ensure they stick in users’ minds. It’s not simply about click through rates on Instagram but converting viewers into followers, encouraging them to share and discuss posts and ultimately become customers.
- Making sure an advert stands out but blends into the app – blending into the crowd is not usually something advertisers are keen to follow, but with Instagram it’s important for brands to make sure adverts are not jarring and fit into the feel of the app. Anything that looks overtly professional or corporate is likely to be less successful. Successful brands have found that making a picture look as though a user could have taken it themselves has a number of benefits. Many brands also see the benefits of partnering with companies such as Olapic, a visual marketing engine, that enable brands and retailers to increase their performances on social media by using high-converting consumer generated images whilst ensuring associated intellectual property rights are managed effectively.
- Put users in the picture – making users see products in the context of their own world (or the worlds they aspire to be in) brings a product to life. Ensuring the background to an image of a product reflects the scenarios a product would be used in, providing tips for using products or even new uses for a product a consumer may already use ensures users fully engage with what is being presented to them.
Instagram might well offer an attractive platform for brands to advertise on, but success for these brands will depend on how well they engage with many of the issues ADTEKR has explored. By engaging with these issues, brands will ultimately engage with Instagram’s social media savvy users, leading to increased brand exposure, increased followers, and more click through rates. Whilst a brand’s success may depend on engagement what is clear is that authenticity on Instagram is the real king to gaining a user’s attention.