If you're already running ads on Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and more, and you're wondering if it's worth adding Instagram to the mix, the answer is a big YES.
Instagram users spend an average of 30.6 minutes per day on the platform, and 60% of users discover and engage with different products on the platform, contributing to a substantial impact on business success.
Instagram is all about visual storytelling and a fantastic way to showcase your brand. Various types of ads are available, and with the right tools and know-how, you can create ads that look good and generate ROI.
So, whether you're already advertising on multiple platforms or just starting, Instagram is a platform worth considering for reaching your audience and getting trackable results.
What are Instagram ads?
Instagram ads are paid video or image posts published on Instagram by online businesses. These ads can appear in users' feeds and stories, Explore pages, and as sponsored posts. Instagram ads allow advertisers to showcase products, services, or brand messages to a specific demographic, increasing visibility and engagement. Advertisers can create different ad formats to suit their marketing goals, including photo, video, carousel, and story ads.
Why use Instagram ads?
Instagram ads are a game-changer for e-commerce! Due to its visual appeal and seamless integration of shopping features, Instagram provides a lucrative space for businesses to showcase products, engage potential customers, and drive direct sales. It's a vital tool for enhancing brand visibility and boosting online retail success.
Here’s why you should use Instagram ads for your e-commerce business:
Large User Base: Instagram boasts over 1 billion monthly active users, providing a vast and diverse audience for businesses to target.
Global Reach: Instagram is predominantly used by younger demographics, with 71% of users under 35.
Ad Reach: Approximately 90% of Instagram users follow at least one business account. The CTR for feed ads on Instagram typically ranges from 0.22 to 0.88%, and the CTR for stories ads ranges from 0.33 to 0.54%.
Engagement Rates: Instagram boasts higher engagement rates than other social media platforms. Users often interact with content through likes, comments, and shares, allowing businesses to connect with their audience.
Visual Appeal: Instagram is a visual-centric platform where businesses can creatively showcase their services or products through photos and videos.
Targeted Advertising: Instagram's advertising platform is integrated with Facebook, allowing for detailed targeting based on demographics, interests, behaviors, and more.
Stories and IGTV: These features provide additional avenues for advertising, allowing businesses to create short, engaging content that appears prominently in users' feeds.
Influencer Marketing: Instagram is a hub for influencer marketing, where businesses can collaborate with popular influencers for increased brand visibility.
E-commerce Integration: Instagram offers features like Shopping, which allow businesses to tag products in stories and posts and users to purchase directly through the platform.
Cross-Platform Integration: Businesses can efficiently run ads on both Instagram and Facebook simultaneously, leveraging the broader audience reach of both platforms.
Insights and Analytics: Instagram provides detailed analytics and insights into ad performance, helping businesses track their reach, engagement, and ROI.
Types of Instagram ads for eCommerce
Instagram offers a variety of advertising options to help businesses and individuals reach their target audience and showcase their products or services. These ad formats use Instagram's visual and interactive features to create engaging user experiences.
1. Image Ads
Image ads are single-image ads that appear in users' feeds. Advertisers can use compelling visuals to convey their message and promote their products or services. These ads can include a brief caption, a CTA button, and a link to an external website or landing page.
2. Video Ads
These ads are the same as photo ads but utilize videos instead of images to convey the message. Advertisers can use videos to tell a story, showcase products, or dynamically engage users.
3. Carousel Ads
These ads let businesses showcase multiple videos or images within a single ad unit. Users can swipe through several images or videos, each card containing its link. This format helps showcase numerous products or tell a sequential story.
4. Stories Ads
These are full-screen vertical image or video ads between user stories. These ads can include photos or videos and are a great way to capture users' attention in a more immersive format.
5. Collection Ads
These ads allow users to discover, browse, and purchase products or services directly within the Instagram app. Collection ads typically feature a cover image or video and a product catalog below. When users click on the ad, it leads them to another section of the app that lets them explore various products without leaving Instagram.
6. Dynamic Ads
Tailored for e-commerce businesses, dynamic ads automatically show customized content to users based on their previous interactions with the advertiser's website or app.
7. Explore Ads
These ads appear in the Instagram app's Explore tab, where users discover new content based on their interests. They are a great way to reach a new audience and increase brand awareness.
8. Shopping Ads
Shopping ads are designed for e-commerce businesses with a shop on Instagram. They allow you to tag products directly in your posts. Users can tap on these tags to view more details and make a purchase through the app.
9. Reels Ads
These ads feature short, engaging videos up to 30 seconds long, seamlessly inserted between user-generated reel content. Advertisers leverage creative elements like music and effects to promote products or services to captivate audiences within the dynamic and entertaining Reels platform.
3 Real-life examples of Instagram Strategies that work
Let’s take a look at some examples from brands running Instagram ads to promote their eCommerce businesses:
Athleta's Instagram ad strategy is centered around inclusivity and diversity, reflecting a commitment to making its athleisure brand accessible and relatable to a broad audience.
Here's an analysis of their strategy and the lessons you can learn:
Stories: Athleta's Instagram Stories share behind-the-scenes content and stories highlighting the individuals behind the brand, adding a personal touch.
UGC: Athleta encourages UGC by reposting images of customers wearing its athleisure wear. Showing that a diverse group of women embraces its products fosters a sense of community.
Captions: The captions and messaging in Athleta's posts often focus on empowerment and self-confidence, showing that this platform is not just about clothing.
- In showcasing real people with natural bodies, authenticity fosters a deeper connection with your audience.
- Their messaging goes beyond promoting products and reinforcing positive values associated with your brand.
- Sharing behind-the-scenes content to humanize the brand by telling stories that resonate with the audience.
- Reposting UGC builds a community around your brand and reinforces the idea that your products are for everyone.
Away, a brand specializing in travel essentials has developed a distinct Instagram ad strategy that aligns with its identity as a modern and stylish travel company. Here's an analysis of Away's Instagram ad strategy and the lessons you can learn:
Visual Storytelling: Away uses high-quality visuals that tell a story about the travel experience. Their Instagram feed is a curated collection of aesthetically pleasing images that evoke a sense of adventure and exploration.
UGC: Away encourages customers to share photos of their travels with Away products. The company often features user-generated content on its Instagram account, showcasing real people using their luggage in various locations.
Collaborations: They sometimes collaborate with other brands or artists on limited-edition products. They use Instagram to generate anticipation and buzz around these collaborations, often sharing sneak peeks and behind-the-scenes content.
Engaging Captions: Away's captions are often exciting and conversational. They use a friendly tone and pose questions to prompt interaction with their audience.
Inspirational Content: Away inspires travel on Instagram by featuring destinations, travel tips, and beautiful landscapes. They position their products as essential companions for exciting adventures.
- They use Instagram to tell a story about the lifestyle and experiences associated with their products by investing in visually compelling content that aligns with your brand narrative.
- The brand leverages UGC to build authenticity by encouraging customers to share their experiences and incorporate that content into your Instagram strategy.
- Collaborating strategically creates excitement, generates interest, and drives engagement on their Instagram platform.
- Writing captions that resonate with your audience encourages conversation, asks questions, and uses a tone that aligns with your brand personality to foster engagement.
- By crafting aspirational content, they help inspire and engage the audience by showcasing how their products fit into their brand's aspirational lifestyle or experiences.
MoonPie, a classic American snack brand, has gained attention for its humorous and engaging social media presence, including Instagram. Here's an analysis of MoonPie's Instagram ad strategy and the lessons you can learn:
Humorous Content: MoonPie's Instagram content revolves around humor. The company posts witty tweets and memes and incorporates humor related to pop culture, current events, or internet trends.
Engagement with Followers: MoonPie actively engages with its followers through comments and DMs, responding to comments with witty replies to create a conversational and interactive experience.
Interactive Contests: MoonPie runs interactive campaigns, including contests and challenges, to engage followers and encourage user participation and creativity.
Responsive Content: MoonPie quickly responds to current events and internet trends, leveraging relevant pop culture moments to ensure its content remains timely and shareable.
Seasonal Promotions: MoonPie introduces limited edition and seasonal products, promoting them through Instagram. They create anticipation by showcasing these special releases with creative visuals.
- MoonPie's approach shows that a light-hearted and humorous tone can make your brand memorable and shareable.
- Actively engaging with your audience humanizes the brand and helps build a loyal and engaged follower base.
- Running contests or challenges can generate excitement, increase engagement, and create a community around your brand.
- Monitoring and incorporating current trends into your content can help your brand stay relevant and capture audience attention.
- Limited edition or seasonal promotions can drive interest and sales.
6 Instagram Ad Strategies to Follow
Instagram is a powerful platform for advertising, and creating effective ads involves a combination of creativity and strategic thinking. Here are five tips to enhance your Instagram ad performance:
1. Create AI Campaign Stores
Ever visit an eCommerce store after clicking on a product ad, only to click away because of broken links and 404 error pages? To reduce the high bounce rate, SimplicityDX can help you set up AI-powered campaign stores to help buyers find the product they need in minutes.
Our AI Campaign Stores are designed to help you blend social content like images and videos from paid ad campaigns into fully shoppable stores. These stores enable interested shoppers to not only find the products of their interest from the ad campaign, but also explore items related to them, helping your brand increase the chances of conversions and making more sales.
For instance, ModCloth was able to reduce their social traffic bounce rate by 17% and reduce customer acquisition costs by 50% using SimplicityDX AI Social Campaign Stores.
2. Mobile Optimization
It is no surprise that most people access social media through their mobile devices, as 78% of users do so exclusively.
Here are a few tips for creating mobile-first ads:
- Optimize for mobile with vertical images and videos.
- Ensure legible text for smaller screens.
- Use polls and features for mobile interaction.
- Optimize elements for quick loading times.
- Ensure landing pages are mobile-optimized.
- Design buttons for easy one-handed navigation.
- Use 4:5 or 9:16 for portrait-oriented content.
3. Experiment with various ad formats
Different ad formats cater to diverse user preferences, ensuring broader audience engagement.
Carousel ads allow storytelling, video ads capture attention, and photo ads deliver striking visuals. Instagram Stories provide an immersive experience while Shopping ads streamline the purchasing process.
Diversifying ad types prevents content fatigue and maintains user interest. Each format offers unique opportunities, from influencer collaborations to dynamic targeting, contributing to a more adaptable and active campaign. Ultimately, this variety maximizes the potential for brand visibility, engagement, and conversion across the diverse Instagram user base.
4. Focus on branding
Instagram users scroll rapidly, so a clear and compelling brand presence within the first moments increases the likelihood of capturing attention. Consistent branding builds brand trust and familiarity, which is crucial for consumer decision-making.
Frontloaded messaging ensures that even casual scrollers quickly grasp the value proposition, promoting better conversion rates. Establishing a solid brand identity upfront also reinforces brand association with specific qualities or products, creating a lasting impression in the minds of potential customers as they navigate their Instagram feeds.
5. Measure performance
What gets measured gets managed, so ensure that you leverage Instagram analytics to track your best-performing ads and refine your existing campaigns accordingly. Some ad metrics to measure include:
- Reach rate
- Engagement rate
- Followers growth:
- Conversion rate
Recommend read: Complete guide to social media ad metrics
When running ads, never use a “spray and pray” approach. Ensure you have the right Instagram ad strategy to turn ad clicks into purchases.
We help you create AI-powered Social Campaign Stores for all your ad campaigns and content to create a holistic customer experience for your shoppers and reduce the chances of drop-offs across the funnel.
Want to unlock the power of Instagram ads for your eCommerce store?