Thoughts, Insights and Inspiration

Instagram Advertising: What’s the value for Retailers

Instagram is a Facebook owned app that allows users to upload, share, and interact with each other’s photos and videos via a photo stream. It has over 400 million active users worldwide and is constantly growing. In 2013, Instagram launched advertising options on the platform and it’s that monetisation potential that made the platform viable enough for Facebook to buy it. Since then Instagram ads have been revolutionised due to the data options available through Facebook and most retailers are now jumping on board. Recent studies even said that Instagram provides brands with 25% more engagement over other social platforms. Want to increase your brand awareness and engage customers to boost sales through Instagram? Keep on reading…

Top tips for Instagram ads

If you want to turn your eCommerce business followers into shoppers with one click you’ll need a plan. Before you start putting together an Instagram advertising strategy or estimating the advertising costs, go back to the basics. Over time, Instagram has evolved from a simple square image format to a full complement of portrait, square and landscape formats, as well as video, marquee and web-driving ads. So adapt to the latest features and work out what your target audience wants to see on the platform and what represents engaging content for them.

When it comes to Instagram advertising costs pricing has been relatively high, averaging a cost-per-thousand views (or CPM) of $6.70, but that’s likely to change as more advertisers come onto the system. And considering the quality of targeting and the amount of engagement eCommerce businesses can get from the platform, the price is relatively insignificant when compared to results the ad can achieve.

When you’ve worked out what you can spend, develop a highly visual curation plan that takes full advantage of Instagram’s core functions. Determine what will engage your target market by asking: What do they want to see? How can I get them to engage with my photos? What will get them talking about my company? Develop a photo curation plan around the answers. Decide what your tone of voice is and how you want to set up the image of your brand overall. Do you want to share exclusive, behind the scenes content or do you want to focus only on displaying your products?

Keep in mind too that 66% of the users stated they use Instagram for photos and videos to inspire their daily lives and 48% visit Instagram to share things with their friends and family. These are interesting metrics, because people use Instagram to get inspired and that makes it a completely different platform than Facebook, so we highly recommend to tailor your campaigns for Instagram. If you’re an eCommerce business in the health, fitness, fashion, or self-development industries, Instagram is a perfect platform to get involved in. Focus on familiarity, solid short copy, great calls to action, harmonious colours and inspiring shareable stories. When it comes to copy use relevant, desirable, exclusive and urgent triggers that will attract the attention of the user.

Apart from quality images, you also need to consider ways to leverage them. Consider posting and tagging events using geolocation or add gamification elements that ask user to submit photos with a twist. Also, don’t rely just on Instagram. When forming your social media strategy Instagram is a great mobile marketing tool, but it’s not the only tool. By design, Instagram works best in conjunction with other sites, especially visually friendly content sites like Pinterest, Tumblr, and Facebook, as these sites also offer the best viral impact for sharing and discussing photos as well as allowing cross-platform followers.

And don’t forget the hashtags. Another crucial difference from Facebook Ads, is that Instagram relies heavily on the hashtag. These could be trending hashtags or your own personal branded hashtags. If you’re wondering how to create a hashtag there are a few points to take into account:

  • Make it brief but unique – just as you do with ad copy, create a hashtag that is easy to consume, is memorable and searchable.
  • Use emotion – pull at the heartstrings and evoke emotion that will encourage people to share.
  • Make it relevant – Is there something going on in the world that you can create a hashtag to represent your brand around it?
  • Create hashtags for events – it will give you instant free promotion among members of your target audience and drive exposure among those participating in the event, encouraging them to share.
  • Keep it consistent with your brand tone of voice. While some businesses are slightly more informal on social media than they are in other messaging, you still want to make sure that your catchy, clever hashtag still fits the rest of your brand.Social media is all about engagements with the line between a website click and a comment blurring every day. Instagram advertising is uniquely positioned to help push Facebook even further ahead of Twitter and Google in the social advertising front. Instagram brought a notion of craft and visual content and we’ll see the growth of value for retailers over the next year.

Over to you, what’s your take on Instagram advertising for eCommerce? Let us know in the comments below or via social media and don’t forget to subscribe to the blog to get new articles straight to your inbox.

From our Blog