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Instagram is finally joining the party. It’s been long loved for its non-commercial appeal, but after their acquisition by Facebook there’s been massive scrutiny as to how Instagram would make money. We always knew they’d need to justify the billion dollar price tag that they were bought for (now there’s a successful side business!). Ads on Instagram are the obvious answer, with thousands of brands and retailers moving away from low engagement on Facebook, over to highly engaged audiences on Instagram as their primary social media channel.

If you’re selling online, Instagram ads might be the perfect fit for your brand or product. With a largely female and millennial/gen X demographic, it’s a playground for lifestyle goods and current trends. Read on for tips on how do you get started.

How to use ads on Instagram to grow your business

Find out if Instagram ads are available to you.

Currently, Instagram is still rolling out this function so it might not be something you can jump on just yet. First, you need to understand that Instagram ads will be created and controlled via your Facebook account, and through the Facebook Power Editor. The Power Editor is designed for larger businesses that have many ad sets running at once, and you can see if it’s something you want to get into here. To check that Instagram ads are available to you:

Go to the Facebook Power Editor and click on “Manage Ads”. Then click on the little folder icon over on the left and then click on ‘Create Campaign’.
Hover over Clicks to Website next to ‘Objective’.If you see “New Create ads for Instagram”, then you’ll be able to start creating Instagram ads in the Power Editor. If you don’t see this option it just means that it’s not available to you yet, but Facebook says that they’ll be updating frequently throughout October 2015, so be sure to check back regularly.

Create Instagram ads.

Sweet! So you have access to creating Instagram ads. Creating the Instagram ads is actually simple – thanks to them being created in Facebook. They work pretty much the same way that Facebook ads do, and you can even create one campaign to run on both platforms which a great way to double your exposure and test which platform works best for you. All you need to do is continue on with the prompts from above – ‘Create campaign’ in the ‘Power Editor’ and makes sure you select to share the ads to Instagram. You’ll get all the usual bells and whistles that come with Facebook’s ads – particular the ability to target the precise people most suited to your ad set.

You’ll have a smaller choice of ad ‘Objectives’ than usual. For Instagram you can only choose from:

Clicks to website
App Install
Video views

If you’re selling online and the aim of your ad set is to generate sales, then you’ll want to choose ‘Clicks to website’ and direct people to your online store or even a specific product. If you’re creating brand awareness and have great video content then try out ‘Video views’.

Once your ads are up, they’ll look something like this.

How others have used Instagram ads.

Advertising on Instagram is still in its early stages so the best data we could find has come from larger companies that were involved in the beta release. It’s interesting to see that these larger brands such as Birchbox, Fido and McDonalds experienced a huge lift in ad recall (when a person is shown an ad and its asked to remember the detail of the ad at a later date) which is turn feeds brand awareness. McDonalds experienced a 47 percentage point increase – a huge rise – and due to their clever use of fun images with millennial appeal, brand colours and subtle logo positioning. Birchbox, who had already been using Instagram as a source of engagement, decided to use Instagram ads as a source of video engagement (they saw 26 percentage point rise) and Fido wanted to expand the awareness of their mobile streaming service to a younger crowd. They saw a 4 percentage point lift in brand recommendation across the target 18-45 demographic.

A few tips for advertising on Instagram Advertising.

Choose the most appropriate call to action button for your ad. For example, if you’re selling clothing or eBooks you can use the “Shop Now”button. For tickets to a workshop or event “Learn More” might be more appropriate and if you’re selling an app you can go for “Install Now”.
Keep mobile in mind. Instagram is a mobile platform (and ads are not currently shown to desktop users), so you need to make sure that whatever action you’re asking people to carry out is mobile friendly. For example, if you don’t have a mobile friendly online store (which you would have if your store is with Selz ;) but you’re sending people there through your Instagram ads, then you’re just wasting clicks. There’s no point in sending mobile users to a bad mobile shopping or reading experience.
Consider your audience on Instagram. Are they different to your Facebook or Twitter following? What visuals get lots of engagement on your Instagram account? Will video work better for your that static images Make sure you’re still giving people what they love and are staying true to your brand.
Use eye-catching visuals that are consistent with your brand message. Ads are exposure for your brand too, so it’s important to make sure that every touch point that potential customers come across is sending the same vibes across the screen.

We’d love to hear about your experience with the new Instagram Ads! Do they work for you? Any tips you can share? Let us know in the comments below. And of course don’t forget to get yourself a free copy of our eGuide “The 5 Golden Rules of Instagram High Scrollers” to get yourself supercharged and superpowered in your Insta game!

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About the author

Melissa Whidjaya

Melissa is the co-founder of Bloombox Co. Bloombox Co works to connect flower growers and flower buyers, creating a distribution system that reduces waste, improves profitability for growers, and removes barriers to consumption, providing flower lovers with a fresher, more sustainable product than ever before.