Social media marketing is just social media marketing, right? It’s not that cut and dry. Advertising on Instagram is unique from other platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Before taking the plunge into Instagram ads, consider the following and learn from the mistakes advertisers make on the platform to ensure you’re following the best practices to get the most out of your ad dollars.
1. Not being appropriate for the Instagram
Instagram exists for its own unique purpose. Although similar to Facebook and Pinterest, Instagram is its own community with a distinct identity and user behaviors. Since users are curating their own feed, if your product or service stands out, this isn’t a good thing. Your advertising should flow naturally and resonate with the user, as they predominately look to Instagram to discover things of interest to them. Your ads should be unique yet run parallel to their native feed.
2. Not linking to an Instagram
If you don’t have an Instagram presence, ask yourself if your product or service is right for the platform in the first place. If you do have an Instagram and don’t link your ads to it, you’re missing out on a crucial part of the equation. On Facebook, users click off to articles and toggle between Facebook and outside sources of content. On Instagram, the natural flow is to click around but stay within the platform itself. Yes, users may click your ad, but they are just as likely to click off to your Instagram page and use that as a proxy for visiting your site and getting acquainted with your brand. Furthermore, you gain followers who you can organically re-engage with posts down the line and every brand knows that their number of followers counts, more so than Facebook page likes.
3. Not managing comments
Similar to Facebook, commenting and tagging is native to Instagram. This is your chance to get personal with your potential customers, who expect the ability to interact with brands on social media platforms. It is important to have community managers that are actively engaging with people that have questions or comments regarding your product or service that reflects a tone that is genuine to your brand.
4. Using non-native copy and creative
In order to keep things looking native, it is important to select creative options that suit the platform. As far as static ads go, it is best to select square images. Horizontal rectangular images don’t make the most of real estate on Instagram ads and look non-native, meaning they basically scream “I’m an ad!” When it comes to video, don’t go over 15 seconds. Unlike other more scroll-and-pause social media platforms, Instagram user behavior is speedy, constantly scrolling and clicking off to other Instagram pages. Keeping a potential customer’s attention is easiest when you take into account their shortened attention span on the platform. Lastly, get playful with copy. Use hashtags and emojis to speak the unique language of Instagram.
5. Using Facebook as a standard for performance
Facebook can be a good point of comparison as far as ad performance but keep in mind that even the same user on different platforms will behave differently. Click through rate (CTR) is always variable as the user has multiple options for interacting with the ad in a meaningful way that the CTR may not reflect the true efficacy, which in turn can inflate cost-per-click (CPC). Through experience, cost-per-impressions (CPMs) are typically lower on Instagram. If you are running a Facebook feed and Instagram placements together, be mindful of viewing breakdowns by placement as Instagram results may skew the results overall.