Instagram is about more than just pretty pictures. An app that started as a way to showcase images, Instagram is now an advertising powerhouse. The social media site boasts over a billion monthly users, with 63% logging in at least once a day, making it a valuable rival to Twitter and Facebook. Further, over 200 million Instagram visitors encounter at least one business page daily.
However, there’s a right way and a wrong way to advertise ecommerce operations on Instagram. Without a solid strategy behind what to post, when to post, and how to effectively promote posts, it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle.
If you want to win at Instagram, these tips and tricks can help your ecommerce business increase conversions and help your business rise above the competition.
Why create Instagram Ads?
There are plenty of social media platforms out there, so why Instagram? This is certainly a valid question, especially for ecommerce companies that already have posts and promotions running on other platforms.
However, Instagram can offer extreme value to customers that other sites can’t, especially with the emphasis on visuals over text.
1. Reach a greater audience.
Instagram provides a way to reach a larger audience than Facebook alone. While the demographics of other platforms skew older, Instagram still has a very young following, with 71% of those being aged 18 to 24. The average age of Facebook users is 40, so Instagram is a great way to reach a broader demographic. With tons of users spending so much time on the app, ads targeted intelligently can virtually guarantee widespread visibility.
2. Performance tracking.
Instagram offers robust analytics for businesses utilizing the platform, making it easy to track the success of campaigns. This level of performance tracking can help companies to understand what’s working and what isn’t, enabling for easy fine-tuning of campaigns to generate more leads and sales. Since photos and posts are fairly simple to create, changing direction or tweaking an approach to images can be handled in minutes.
Instagram ad analytics and pixel will only help you calculate your ROAS. In order to get the whole picture i.e. the amount of profit, you should take several other factors into consideration. This includes the cost of manufacturing, cost of raw material, average credit card processing fees, shipping, customer support cost, etc.
3. Better customer satisfaction, higher conversions.
Using Instagram to advertise can be an excellent way to guarantee better customer satisfaction, higher conversion rates, and more revenue streams. Unlike text ads or solely static images, Instagram provides numerous ways to promote products and services.
This can increase exposure and, with it, a higher rate of conversions. With a better perspective on what’s being advertised, customers are more likely to be satisfied with their purchases.
Types of Instagram Ads
Instagram ads come in a few different shapes and sizes. They can all be useful in their own ways, depending on the results businesses are seeking.
Photos are exactly what they sound like — single images. Photos are among the most common options for Instagram advertising, offering a convenient way for companies to showcase a single product and promote it. Beautiful images and creative designs can help photos succeed on Instagram.
Videos are, as the name implies, video ads. Similar to advertising that runs on TV or other forms of social media, these kinds of ads provide all types of information in a pleasing and engaging format. Videos can run up to a minute on the main feed or longer when extended into the Instagram videos section of the app.
Carousel ads feature multiple images that users can scroll through. These ads are great for showcasing a product collection or items included in a special sale. These ads are less popular than images or videos but can be effective when used properly. Each image can be linked to a separate product or landing page.
Stories don’t show up in a news feed like traditional ads; instead, they’re short snippets that play in between live postings. When users watch their friends’ lives, short advertising stories periodically appear when transitioning from one user to another.
Unlike photos, videos, or carousel ads, stories only exist for 24 hours. It’s possible to save stories so that users can view later, but most branded stories are intended to be seen over a limited period of time on purpose.
How to Create Instagram Ads Fit for Ecommerce
Ads are more than just pretty pictures. Not all ads can sell on Instagram effectively, so without a strategy, you may not see the kinds of results you want, which is what you need to consider when marketing your products on social media.
1. Highlight what makes your brand unique.
What makes your company better than the rest? How are you superior to the competition? An ad should showcase both a brand as well as a product, telling Instagram users who you are as a company and what makes you special.
Why it works?
Users see a lot of promoted ads on Instagram daily, so adding a value proposition is a great way to stand out. When companies can highlight something unique, users are more likely to pay.
Larq uses Instagram to showcase different elements of their products. The use of the customer testimonial within the image adds focus on what makes Larq a unique brand.
2. Showcase your top benefits.
Your business has plenty of benefits to offer your customers, but without being told explicitly, random users on Instagram have no way to know this. With a limited amount of information to share in text and images, it’s important to outline what users can gain. Benefits can range widely, from product features to customer support.
Why it works?
When you want to make a sale, you have to inspire users. Outlining benefits can do this, showing why your company is a better choice over the competition. Breaking down benefits can also help customers better compare and contrast the different products your brand offers.
Online furniture retailer, Burrow, dominates in this arena on Instagram. The company’s posts are aesthetically pleasing while outlining exactly what their products have to offer.
3. Use an actionable CTA.
What does your ad want to accomplish? Are you trying to sell products or advertise a new promo? Your pictures may look good, but it’s up to you to connect the dots between what a customer sees and what they can gain from making a purchase.
Why it works?
With an actionable CTA, customers are never left wondering how to act. When you give them a concrete action, they can act accordingly. There’s no confusion with an actionable CTA.
Spearmint Love is super clear with what they are wanting customers to do, buy more baby gowns. The ad is very simple, yet very direct.
4. Make your ad looks like it’s from a friend.
Posts on Instagram should be fun and increase your customer engagement. In creating ads, it’s important to make them fit organically with the kinds of posts friends and families share. Blocks of plain text, for example, wouldn’t fit well into Instagram’s aesthetic, but cute dog photos do.
Influencer marketing can be effective, using real people your target audience may be following to showcase your goods. These influencer ads are images or videos that truly function like a post from an average user.
Why it works?
Obvious ads are far more likely to get ignored. When ads look like the kind of posts a friend would share, users are more likely to slow down and pay attention.
Gillette Venus, a company that produces women’s razors and shaving products, makes their Instagram ad feel like it is a part of your friends’ feed. Instead of placing an image of their product in the ad, Gillette displays a girl surfing and enjoying her life outdoors.
5. Use several ad formats.
Instagram offers several different ad formats. While one or two may be better for your business than the others, there’s no reason to limit yourself with a single method.
Why it works?
If you want an abundance of people to see your ad, the more variety included, the better. Advertising in multiple formats can help convey different promos or products, increasing the diversity of advertising and putting more products in front of more eyes.
Online retailer for wood burning stoves and firepits, Solo Stove, uses a wide variety of different ad formats to best market their products.
Some ads are photos, while others are stories and videos.
6. Appeal to your customer’s pain points.
Your products solve a problem, whether it’s an uncomfy mattress or a cheaper way to straighten teeth. Your ads should address this, providing a clear reason for customers to buy your items. Some users may not realize they have a particular problem your ad is solving until seeing it in print, take time to outline the cause and effect.
Why it works?
By outlining pain points and solutions, customers will be better able to relate to products. They can put themselves in your shoes and easily visualize how your solutions can improve daily life.
Revelry, an online bridesmaid dress boutique, does this effectively on Instagram. Searching for dresses that fit all of your bridesmaids can be difficult, and Revelry knows that. That is why they emphasize that the dresses come in sizes ranging from 0-32, and allow customers to try on before purchasing.
Go create Instagram ads for ecommerce today
Instagram ads can be a very effective tool when used properly, but it can easily fall flat without the right approach. A focus on branding, effective communication, and a great customer experience can help posts stand out, connecting them with the right users and driving the conversion rates your business wants to see.
Leigh-Anne Truitt is an SEO Specialist at BigCommerce where she researches and discovers strategies to increase organic traffic. Prior to joining the e-commerce industry, Leigh-Anne perfected her marketing skills at The University of Texas at Austin and CanIRank.