Whiteboard / 04 02, 2018

Instagram Advertising:
Should You Do It?

Instagram has become the social media king in 2018. It is projected to hit one billion users by the end of the year. Active social media users are preferring Instagram to its other competitors, such as Snapchat, because of its ease of use and photo-friendly format.

With access to this growing user base, it might make sense for you to take out a few ads on Instagram. What do you have to lose?

Here’s why you should do it:

Instagram has spent tons of money to refine the process of pulling their users in. They hook them in with push notifications, and then they keep these users engaged with deeply personalized curated content that differs from user to user. The curated content is generated by a wide variety of factors.

Some of these factors are noticeable:

 

  • Generally, content created by your closest friends will be prioritized the most over all other content.
  • More stimulating content favored by a lot of users will be shown to you if you have not used the app in the while. This is to get you hooked all over again.
  • Content shown to you will be similar to things that you have previously liked and searched for in the app. Instagram keeps track of this through hashtags and complex machine learning algorithms that literally recognize what is in the photos that you like and search for.
  • This leads to very addictive behavior. In fact, there are a lot of people talking about the ethics of social media and how it is affecting mental health. There are even talks this year about regulating social media like alcohol or tobacco.

Fundamentally, these factors have been created, tested, and improved upon over time to keep Instagram users engaged in the app as much as possible.

Here’s the take away:

Instagram has spent a lot of time and effort trying to keep users in a very engaged state. As a result of Instagram’s hard work, users are already in an environment where they are more likely to be receptive to advertising over more traditional mediums.

If you have a product or service that you are trying to promote, chances are your advertisement is well suited for Instagram.

Here’s how to do it:

 I’ve learned this the hard way. There is no way to sufficiently post a how-to for any kind of process in tech and the Internet. A year from now this post will probably be outdated. 

Instead, click here to read Facebook’s (Instagram’s parent company) step by step guide on how to create an Instagram ad. If that link is broken, do a Google Search: “How to do an Instagram Ad.” But don’t forget: While the to-dos about how to set up your app will change over time, the overall fundamentals do not.

Below, we provide recommendations about how to engage people with ads on Instagram.

General Guidelines:

 

1. Think about whom you are trying to target with your ad and how your advertisement can relate to them:

Try to incorporate something that relates to whom you are targeting, in some way, into your photo and description.

The ad needs to be relevant to them for it to actually work. If it doesn’t, then you just wasted your money! Would you want to look at an ad that’s irrelevant to you? It happens to me all the time! Think about an ad that you saw recently and thought, “Wow, that actually looks interesting.” Chances are you might not have even had this experience.

Go the extra mile and put details into your ads that others would otherwise overlook.

2. Go deep with your targeting:

Since you can customize your ad to whomever you want, you should probably go deep and get specific with your target audience. It is generally a bad idea to target a broader audience because you limit how creative and effective you can be with your advertisement.

For example, don’t create ONE ad that targets BOTH men and women. Design TWO ads with ONE that targets MEN and another that targets WOMEN. This allows you to be more creative with the photo, respective to each advertisement.

In the advertisement targeting men, show a man in the ad. In the advertisement targeting women, show a woman. This is a pretty basic example of how creative you can get with your targeting.

If you want to target middle-aged men with lots of money to kill, who are impulsive buyers, and enjoy cars and tech, guess what, you can target that person! And you can probably create an image somewhat associated with that person’s lifestyle. Chances are that will be an effective ad!

Using this method, you will also be able to measure which advertisements are doing better when compared to others. Measuring which ad is more effective will allow you to refine your future ads and maybe even allow you to refine your whole product.

What if you thought that your product was made for men, but women are 20 times more receptive to it through your Instagram ads? Guess what? You might have been wrong about your entire product.

The customer is always right.

3. Have clear and engaging photos:

As with many things in life, less is more. Make sure that your photo is clear, clean, and expressive, preferably with no words on the actual photo. A picture is worth a thousand words so let your images do the talking for you.

4. Have fun with it:

People tend to gravitate to Instagram for entertainment when they are bored and have nothing else to do. They are looking for photos and videos that will stimulate their boredom. Try to take advantage of this by providing fun, engaging, and interesting content. Try not to be too boring with the ad.

For any of your Instagram and social media consulting needs, feel free to reach out to Haneke Design. We are a firm that specializes in engaging users through the Internet of Things whether through an Instagram Ad or a mobile app!

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Written by Joe Edwards

Joe is an iOS Developer at Haneke Design in Tampa, FL