Recently Meta announced that Instagram has reached over 2 billion monthly active users worldwide. Even though it belongs to Facebook, it is a full-scale independent platform.
Many brands and marketers forget about the differences between Instagram and Facebook when setting ads and targets. It’s important to take into consideration the audiences on both platforms, recognising the fact that the audience on Instagram tends to be younger than on Facebook and so might react to ads differently.
In addition to that, Instagram is more focused on visuals than Facebook, therefore creatives that work well on Facebook might not work on Instagram and vice versa. Therefore, the first recommendation is to set different ad sets for Facebook and Instagram ad placements.
Instagram ad placements
Instagram ads have proven to be an effective type of performance marketing, suited for businesses in different industries. However, in order to attract clients and maximise the effectiveness of your ads it’s not enough to publish them – it’s essential to analyse and optimise your campaigns.
There are four ad placements available on Instagram: feed, explore, stories and reels. We’re going to focus on the three most popular ones: feed, stories and reels.
Post ads are shown in the feed of the user. It’s essential to make this ad attract the attention of the user so they would stop scrolling, dive into the ad and find out about your product or service. This ad looks just like a normal post to maximise the nativity of the promotion. The only difference is a ‘sponsored’ label on top of the page and a CTA (call to action) button.
Reels are natively integrated into users’ Reel section, appearing in between normal reels while users scroll the section. They have a similar interface as reels to ensure a native promotion. They are labelled as ‘sponsored’, just like the feed posts ads, and they have a CTA button.
Story ads appear when the user is swiping between their friends’ stories. They are seamlessly embedded into a user’s Story-viewing experience and it’s often difficult to tell them apart. Just like other ads, they have the label ‘sponsored’, appearing below the username.
‘Boost now’ button vs Facebook Ads Manager
You can click the ‘Boost now’ button on your organic post on Instagram to promote it or you can set the ads in detail in Ads Manager. The best way to set your ads depends on your campaign goal. If your goal is to get more likes, comments and followers – your best choice is the ‘Boost now’ button because it allows you to engage with the audience within the interface of Instagram. When the user clicks on your boosted post they get redirected to your profile. If your goal is to attract traffic to your website and generate sales, it’s better to set your ads on Ads Manager, because it allows you to define more precise targets and set landing pages.
Image or video?
Without a doubt image content is easier and cheaper to produce than video. This is one of the reasons why some businesses still prefer videos when promoting their services or products.
Even if you’re confident that your ad image strongly expresses the benefits of your product or service, I would still recommend considering a video ad. Studies showed that consumers react better to video content rather than image. In fact, video ads tend to generate three times more engagement than other formats. In addition, videos generate 40% more comments and likes than images.
What content to use?
Before making and editing the video, ensure you’re following the correct aspect ratios for each ad placement:
Feed post: Landscape aspect ratio is 16:9, square aspect ratio is 1:1, vertical aspect ratio is 4:5 (recommended).
Reels: 9:16 (recommended).
Start testing ads with two video creatives: one longer one (12-15 seconds) that shows your product or service in action, explaining what problem your product or service helps to solve; another shorter one (5-7s) that demonstrates results that your product helps to achieve. If you already have unboxing, service demonstration, product demonstration videos you’ve made for social media, these can easily be edited and used for your ads.
When adding your ad descriptions (captions) don’t forget that they are shown in different places in Instagram ads reels, feed and stories. If in reels and feed your description would be located where your normal post caption is usually located, it will not appear anywhere in the stories ad. For this reason, if your description contains the main message of your ad – consider including it in the video text itself:
What ad description to choose?
Test various add description CTA: compare how your audience would react to your direct limited time offer and button ‘Book now’ or ‘Shop now’ versus how they would react to native unique selling proposition and button ‘Learn more’. The results might surprise you because more native ads might generate more clicks than direct promotions.
In addition, it might be crucial to consider adding a limited time offer or promo code into your ad description. This might encourage more people to click your ad, explore your product or service and potentially make a purchase. It would also be a great idea to connect your ad with any occasion or sale period. Not a surprise that words ‘Black Friday’ and ‘Cyber Monday’ tend to boost purchase intentions of people.
Experiment with landing pages
Sometimes your ads might not generate the expected amount of sales when you redirect traffic onto your product page, especially if the average price point of your product or service is above $100. In this case, you can try generating leads instead. Leads refer to potential clients from your target audience who either haven’t heard about your product or service (cold leads), heard about it but aren’t ready to purchase it right now (warm leads) or ready to make a purchase right now (hot leads). Lead generation refers to collection of your potential clients’ contact information, including their email addresses, phone numbers, social media accounts, etc.
Sometimes clients might not need your product or service or are not ready to purchase it right now but they can become less reluctant in the future. For this purpose, I recommend creating and designing a form on a separate service like Typeform and redirecting your potential clients there. This will help to obtain a client base and send them offers, client reviews, and promo codes which might convert them from cold and warm into hot clients.