Instagram Advertising: 3 Mistakes to Avoid

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Partner Post - Consumer Acquisition Facebook & Instagram Mobile App Installs

Posted: April 8, 2016

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Tom Young is CMO of ConsumerAcquisition, a social advertising technology company. Tom contributed to the development of AdRules™, an ad management technology for mobile app advertising on Facebook and Instagram. Tom has managed over $100 million in ad spend over the last 10 years, and has acquired more than 40 million mobile app users on Facebook and Instagram.
Instagram is the fastest growing social network, so it’s no surprise that advertisers are riding Instagram’s wave of user growth to capture more reach on mobile devices. Instagram’s user experience is packed with visual content and creates a unique opportunity for direct response advertisers to capture more users with image and video ads, and advertisers with optimized creative gain a clear advantage in the marketplace. Like any new advertising channel, Instagram ads need to be optimized independently from other channels, and we can help you save time and money by speeding up the optimization process. We’ve learned how to succeed by spending millions of dollars on mobile app and mobile web ads on Instagram, and there are 3 big mistakes we can help you avoid.
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For any direct response advertiser that’s having success with Facebook advertising (or any social media platform), Instagram ads should almost immediately perform as well or better. The formula is simple; copy the creative and targeting that already works well on Facebook (or social media networks) and run those ads on Instagram. Your Facebook ads will serve as an excellent baseline as you a/b test new Instagram ads over time.
Creative: don’t overthink your Instagram creative. Start by re-sizing your top ads from Facebook, and then create additional variations by making slight tweaks for Instagram. For instance, adding hashtags to your ad copy can help drive up your CTR% as your ads look more like an organic Instagram post than an ad.
Audiences: don’t overthink your Instagram audiences. While the reach may be lower on Instagram than Facebook, the audiences that work well on Facebook will generally work well on Instagram too. Start with the audiences that work well on Facebook.
Staying Single
Single image ads have been commonplace in social media newsfeeds for many years. Carousel image ads and video ads are now growing quickly on social media as advertisers see improved success vs. single image ads. Carousel image ads and video ads are now outperforming single image ads on Instagram for a variety of our clients, and we’re racing to produce more assets to speed up testing and growth for these ad formats.
Video ads: video ads generally cost more to produce than image ads, which can limit the ability to test a high volume of video ads. To help reduce audience burn at the creative level and increase video ad variations, try swapping in a variety of new still images at the start and end of the video. Testing various calls to action on the still image on exit can be a great way to increase engagement.
Carousel image ads: by combining a series of images to form a sequence, direct response advertisers gain an efficient medium to tell their story visually. If your group of images can tell a story in any random sequence, check the box to let Facebook optimize the order of the images and Facebook will find the most efficient sequence to serve to users.
Many direct response advertisers initially struggled to reach profitability on Facebook. Facebook’s audience targeting has become incredibly efficient over time, and advertisers have learned how to run ads profitably, causing Facebook to become a very crowded marketplace. For the early advertisers that found success on Facebook, the profits were massive and often much higher in those “good old days” than they are now.
The “good old days” on Instagram are happening right now, with a high volume of advertisers flocking to Instagram daily. By waiting to test Instagram ads, advertisers are missing out on profits by putting themselves at a disadvantage against the advertisers that are optimizing ads and gaining efficiencies now. Get in early and reap the benefits before the “good old days” pass you by.
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