Recently, we have been witnessing the growing popularity of Instagram. It has been steadily carving out a niche for itself. For a time-savvy generation who doesn’t want to go through loads of content, this light picture sharing platform has captured the mind of many a user. Not only as a social media platform, Instagram is now gaining credibility as an advertising platform too.
Having discussed what Facebook for Business has on offer for the modern marketer (click here to view) in our previous issue, in this article we will try to explore the world of Instagram adverts, and their growing relevance to the modern marketer.
What it offers for the marketer:
Instagram is the pinnacle of the power of visual story telling.
Qualitatively, it is exactly how today’s generation wants to spend their leisure time. Relaxing with their smartphones, scrolling down the screen, connected with the people they want and browsing through photos (pics in the modern “lingo”). It is everything they want and how they want it – in a form that is not content heavy and kind of secure.
Quantitatively, a rapidly expanding monthly user base of 400 million out of which around 75% are outside US and 40 billion pictures with around 3.5 billion daily likes are heavy numbers for this light platform. Combined with the targeting prowess of Facebook, it makes complete sense for marketers to advertise their content on Instagram, given the reach prospects it offers.
Instagram advises advertisers to have a clear goal in mind, as to what they desire to achieve through their advert. It can be brand awareness, website clicks, app installs and so on. This allows both of them to align their concepts to provide the best visibility possible for the brand or business.
This screenshot (above) from the Instagram for business website lays down some basic markers for Instagram advertisers.
Another point that advertisers should keep in mind is brand consistency across all the campaigns. Yes the campaigns need to be customized according to the target audience, but in the end they should appear to be revolving around a central concept, a theme unique to the brand. It may be anything as simple as the artistic style, color theme, etc.
Adverts on Instagram can be managed in two ways – either through Instagram Ad Solutions, or via its parent Facebook’s self-service interfaces, which include – Ads Manager, Power Editor and Marketing API. These allow advertisers to create campaigns customized to their requirements.
Instagram Ad Solutions:
This offers marketers dedicated end-to-end advertising solutions. These are based on metrics designed to generate real returns for businesses.
The advert formats can include:
- Photo Adverts
- Video Adverts: Audio-visual adverts have a greater and long lasting impact on the viewers. So Instagram allows for video adverts, up to 60 seconds long
- Carousel Adverts: These contain more than one image, and these additional images are accompanied with call to action buttons, depending upon the users’ interests.
The three formats of Instagram Adverts: Photo, Video and Carousel (left to right)
- Clicks on your website
- Call to actions, if used and placed wisely, can drive website conversions for you
- Engagement with new and existing users via app installations
- A predictable reach of your advert allows to better streamline your efforts, providing greater control over aspects like message frequency and even your content
Instagram Partner Program:
Launched in 2015, this innovative program allows Instagram advertisers to get the best out of expert knowledge and technology. As a part of this initiative, Instagram gives you opportunities to find and connect to certain third party experts in the following four domains:
- Ad Tech: Experts in this domain assist advertisers in managing and buying ads, and scaling their reach as per requirement.
- Content Marketing: Content has become highly relevant today, and needs to be both sourced from and delivered to the right audience. This is where content marketing comes into the picture.
- Community Management: Your online community is what you earn. They need to be kept engaged with your brand. Experts in this domain manage comments and get audience insights, allowing your content and creative to be as relevant as possible to your audience.
- Media Buying (newly launched, presently in US only)
Many a times it happens that in-house advertisers for small businesses know what they want but not how to achieve it. Collaborating with experts in these key areas is thus a valuable aid for them. It might even become a disruptive concept in the advertising world in the coming years.
Instameets, or meetings of groups of like-minded Instagram users in a particular city are also getting more frequent. This is also an opportunity for brands and businesses to connect with a highly relevant section of the online community, thus enhancing the conversion rates and providing more headroom for word of mouth publicity.
Instagram as a brand:
Instagram today is a brand in itself, with its popularity on the rise. As a brand it values its brand assets like logos and wants to maintain brand consistency. For instance, it has always been in favor of using original logos from its website, rather than just simply picking it up from anywhere online.
So, all said and done, having discussed both Facebook and Instagram marketing for businesses, one realizes the tremendous advertising potential these social media platforms offer. Combine them along with Facebook’s Audience Network and you get an optimized targeting and marketing platform. Happy advertising!!
All images courtesy: Instagram for business