A Beginner’s Guide to Instagram Marketing

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Instagram is useful for purposes beyond posting pictures of oneself and beautiful settings. When used properly, Instagram is a valuable business marketing tool. If you own, manage or market a business, it is in your interest to learn how to use Instagram for marketing. Here’s a quick look at how to make the most of this influential social media platform.

Engage the Audience With Instagram Image Ads

Instagram image ads are (you guessed it), ads that appear as images. Such ads typically feature a call to action, albeit a brief one. Instagram users are highly responsive to images so it makes sense for the platform to incorporate image-based ads for businesses and other organizations. 

Seize the opportunity to tout your product or service with Instagram image ads that conveniently blend into the rest of the images presented on Instagram and you’ll enjoy the benefits of highly effective customer impressions without making your company’s presence on the platform feel obtrusive or overbearing.

Take Advantage of Instagram Video Ads

The platform’s video ads empower you to reveal how your product or service looks or functions. This immersive medium engages Instagram users to clearly demonstrate the value, utility and/or aesthetic appeal of your unique value offering.

Whether you want to show how your product will fit when worn, how it functions when in use or how it provides value in another way, you can do so with ease using an Instagram embedded video ad. Just be sure to add a short call to action at the end of the ad to encourage viewers to take the extra step of following through with a purchase. 

Make a Lasting Impression With Instagram Story Ads

Instagram also presents the opportunity to feature products and services in story ads. The platform’s story ads can be either videos or images. Instagram story ads are similar to normal ads but they appear in the stories section as opposed to the feeds section. As is the case with other Instagram ads, it also makes sense to include a call to action in your story ads to steer customers toward your intended goal: converting a prospect into a loyal, paying customer. 

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Because audiences prefer to watch videos over any other content type, Instagram story video ads will be much more engaging to an audience than story image ads. However, if you choose the right image and text overlay for your story image ad, it will still prove impactful.

Slideshow Ads on Instagram

If your aim is to deeply engage Instagram users, consider the merits of the platform’s slideshow ads. Business owners, managers and marketers who prefer the aesthetics of video ads over image ads, but do not want to go through the trouble of creating a full video, should lean toward slideshow ads.

Instagram slideshow ads make the platform experience that much more immersive. An Instagram user who scrolls through a slideshow ad views pictures looped one after another. The images in the slideshow automatically play to create a brief video. though with less visual fluidity than a conventional video. 

What About Carousel Ads?

Instagram carousel ads are not as popular as the platform’s other advertising options as detailed above. However, carousel ads are fairly effective. If you own or manage a business and would like to feature multiple products in one advertisement on Instagram, you should give serious consideration to the platform’s carousel ads. 

This type of Instagram ad has considerable appeal for businesses that would like to advertise several products into a consolidated advertisement. Alternatively, if your business would like to facilitate shopping for related products within a group in one fell swoop, carousel ads are also worth considering.

Carousel ads empower the platform’s users to click or press an arrow to gradually progress through each of the featured products. Each individual carousel card has its own respective space for a call to action that encourages prospective customers to take action in the form of contacting the business to place an order for the item or service displayed. 

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Be Mindful of Instagram Ad Specs

When it comes to advertising on Instagram, every last detail matters. If the images you feature in your ads on the popular social media platform are even slightly off, it has the potential to compromise the aesthetics to the point that users do not understand the perks of your product or service. Even placing an ad on the platform that has too much text will prove problematic. Enter Instagram ad specs, short for advertisement specifications.

Detailed Instagram ad specs were established to ensure the platform accepts your company’s ads on the first try and publishes them in a timely manner. As an example, Instagram recommends JPG and PNG images have a 1:1 ratio along with a resolution of at least 1080 pixels by 1080 pixels.

Keep in mind, Facebook is the corporate parent of Instagram. Facebook has developed a reputation for denying businesses’ ads, oftentimes for fairly minor reasons. Even slightly deviating from Instagram ad specs has the potential for your ad to be denied, meaning it will not be shown on the platform. Instead of investing even more time attempting to fix the ad, abide by the specs the first time around and you’ll be able to shift your attention to other matters. 

However, even if your ad is published on Instagram, it has the potential to look skewed or grainy if it is not presented in accordance with the platform’s specs. Though some of the platform’s users might be able to make out the look of the image and the text presented in the ad, they may not convert into customers simply because the failure to adhere to the platform’s specs compromised the image’s aesthetic appeal.  

When in doubt, give preference to pictures and videos that adhere to the platform’s recommendations for size, aspect ratio and resolution to ensure the images/video content used in your ads looks flawless.

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