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When is Instagram Advertising Effective

In the dynamic landscape of digital marketing, Instagram has emerged as a powerhouse for advertisers, offering a visually compelling platform with a massive user base.  As one of the big 3 social platforms, it’s worth taking a look at how effective Instagram Advertising is.

As of May 2023, there are reportedly 7.15 million Instagram users in South Africa, which translates to roughly 12% of the estimated South African population of 60,414,495 people at mid-year. Clearly, Instagram advertising shouldn’t be ignored.

However, the effectiveness of Instagram Advertising is contingent on various factors that marketers must strategically consider.  In this blog post, we will explore the various factors that contribute to effective Instagram Advertising efforts.

What Do People Do On Instagram

Before considering Instagram Advertising, it’s important to understand what people use Instagram for.  2023 stats show that much like TikTok, content sharing and entertainment are the key reasons people use Instagram, but the third most popular use, Brand and Product Research, is where companies have the ideal opportunity to reach existing and potential customers.

what do people do on instagram

Who Uses Instagram

Most of Instagram users in South Africa are female, (55.7%), and Instagram is used predominantly by people between the ages of 18 and 34.

instagram users

If your brand caters to this younger, female demographic, your brand is likely to benefit from Instagram Advertising.  If your brand focuses more on mature audiences (45 years and older) or businesses, you may want to approach Instagram with caution.

Industries That Benefit The Most From Instagram Advertising

It’s important to note that the effectiveness of Instagram Advertising can vary based on the specific goals, target audience, and creative strategies employed by individual businesses within these industries.  While certain industries find Instagram to be a highly effective advertising platform, others may need to carefully evaluate whether the platform aligns with their marketing objectives and the nature of their products or services.

The common trend among industries that succeed on Instagram is that they can effectively leverage Influencers and Visual Marketing.  If your industry is one of the below, and you can collaborate effectively with Influencers, you should consider creating and managing a business profile on Instagram and running Instagram Ads to promote your brand.

Fashion And Apparel

Instagram’s visual nature makes it an ideal platform for fashion brands to showcase their products through aesthetically pleasing imagery.  Influencers and fashion enthusiasts often engage actively on the platform, providing ample opportunities for collaboration and exposure.

Beauty And Cosmetics

Like Fashion and Apparel, the beauty industry thrives on visuals and trends, making Instagram a perfect fit for showcasing makeup tutorials, product demonstrations, and before-and-after transformations.  Influencer partnerships and user-generated content play a significant role in promoting beauty products.

Travel And Hospitality

Instagram’s photo-centric approach is tailor-made for the travel industry.  Travel brands can use the platform to showcase breathtaking destinations, hotel accommodations, and travel experiences.  User-generated content featuring travel experiences can boost engagement and authenticity.

Fitness And Wellness

Fitness influencers and enthusiasts are at home on Instagram, making it an excellent platform for promoting fitness products, workout routines, and wellness services.  Instagram Stories and IGTV are effective tools for sharing quick workout sessions and informative content.

Food And Beverage

Restaurants, cafes, and food brands can leverage Instagram to showcase visually appealing dishes, share recipes, and engage with a community of food enthusiasts.  Instagram’s emphasis on visuals makes it a powerful tool for driving food-related trends.  User-generated reviews can boost engagement and authenticity.

E-commerce And Retail

Instagram Shopping features enable seamless integration of product catalogues, allowing users to explore and purchase products directly through the platform.  Carousel ads are effective for showcasing a range of products in a single post.

Industries That Should Approach Instagram Advertising With Caution

The below industries tend to struggle to gain traction on Instagram, therefore requiring a lot more patience, experimentation, effort, and ultimately, investment, before they will see the same benefits as the industries that we covered above.

instagram ads

B2B And Professional Services

Instagram’s user base is predominantly composed of consumers, making it less suitable for B2B marketing.  Businesses targeting other businesses might find more success on platforms like LinkedIn.

Financial Services

The complex and serious nature of financial services may not align with the light-hearted and visually driven content that performs well on Instagram.  In addition, strict advertising regulations in the financial industry may limit the creative freedom on the platform.

Heavy Machinery And Industrial Equipment

Industries dealing with heavy machinery and industrial equipment may find it challenging to convey the technical aspects and specifications effectively through Instagram’s visual format. LinkedIn or other industry-specific platforms might be more suitable for reaching the target audience.

Funeral Services And Sensitive Topics

Instagram’s generally upbeat and positive atmosphere may not be conducive to advertising sensitive services like funeral homes or other solemn topics.  Such industries may benefit more from traditional, respectful marketing channels.

Legal Services

Legal services often require a formal and professional tone, which may not align with the casual and visually driven content on Instagram.  Platforms that allow for more detailed and text-heavy content might be more appropriate, such as LinkedIn Newsletters and Email Marketing.

How To Run Effective Instagram Ads

Let’s dive into some tips on how to run effective Instagram ads.

advertising on instagram

Audience Targeting

One of the fundamental pillars of effective Instagram Advertising is a deep understanding of your target audience.  Utilise Instagram Insights to gather data on your followers and refine your strategy based on their preferences, behaviours, and demographics.

Running Ads through META’s Ads Manager allows you to tailor your ads based on demographics, interests, behaviours, and more.  The more precise the targeting, the higher the likelihood of reaching individuals genuinely interested in your product or service.  Effective audience segmentation ensures that your ads are shown to the right people at the right time, maximising their impact.  Using the META Pixel, you can create an audience specifically for targeting users who have interacted with your website, whether you want to retarget people who have completed a purchase, or only visited your page, you can create separate ads for different audiences.

For clients who are haven’t been running Instagram Ads for longs, we advise you start with the below targeting strategies:

  • Interest-based targeting: People who haven’t visited your website or Instagram page but have similar interests to current customers.
  • Remarketing targeting: Targeting people who have interacted with your website or Instagram page.
  • Lookalike targeting: People who have a 95% similarity in online behaviour with your remarketing audience.

Compelling Visuals And Copy

Instagram is inherently a visual platform, and success hinges on the ability to create visually striking content.  Invest time and resources in producing high-quality images and videos that align with your brand identity.  Utilise the platform’s various features, such as Stories, IGTV, and carousel posts, to diversify your content and engage users in different ways.

In the fast-scrolling world of social media, grabbing attention is crucial.  Effective Instagram Ads combine eye-catching visuals with concise, compelling copy to convey a message swiftly.  High-quality images or videos paired with engaging headlines and concise, persuasive text can significantly enhance the effectiveness of your ad campaign.  Creativity and relevance play pivotal roles in capturing the audience’s interest amidst the sea of content.

Be sure not to write essays for your ad copy.  Try keep the copy short and sweet, using the below character limits:

  • Captions: 72 characters
  • Headlines: 40 characters

Mobile Optimisation

80% of Instagram users access the platform from their smartphones.  To ensure the effectiveness of your ads, it’s essential to optimise them for mobile viewing.  Responsive design, concise content, and visually appealing elements contribute to a positive user experience, increasing the chances of users engaging with your ad.  Mobile-optimised ads not only improve user engagement but also positively impact your ad’s relevance score, a key factor in Instagram’s ad auction system.  The ideal aspect ratio of ads is 9:16 for most ad formats for mobile devices.

Clear Call-To-Action (CTA)

Every effective Instagram ad should guide the viewer on what action to take next.  Whether it’s to shop now, sign up, or learn more, a clear and compelling call-to-action encourages users to take the desired step.  A well-crafted Call-to-Action (CTA) not only improves user engagement but also helps in measuring the success of your campaign by tracking the conversions or actions taken by the audience.

Call-To-Action Options On Instagram Ads

call to action options on instagram

Instagram ads has the same CTA choices as with Facebook Advertising, but also include enhanced and dynamic CTAs.  For example, when users hover over an Instagram ad for four seconds or more, the CTA below the image will be highlighted in blue.  This is designed to promote further action, giving users an extra nudge to click.

Further to this, if a user clicks on the comments in an ad, they’ll see the CTA displayed at the bottom, which ensures that users interacting with your ad won’t decrease the opportunity for them to click on your CTA button and convert.

If Instagram detects any additional information about your CTA automatically, they’ll share it next to the CTA button.  Examples of information they could pull include destination URL, app store rating, or product price.  While the other two features of CTAs happen on every ad, this feature seems to be sporadic.

Strategic Use Of Instagram Features

Instagram offers a range of features that can enhance the effectiveness of your advertising efforts.  Instagram Stories provide a temporary yet impactful way to engage your audience with immersive, full-screen content, IGTV is perfect for longer-form videos, and carousel posts allow you to showcase multiple products or features in a single post.  Leveraging these features strategically can significantly amplify your advertising impact.

Incorporating User-Generated Content (UGC)

UGC not only adds authenticity to your brand but also fosters a sense of community.  Encourage your audience to become content creators by incorporating user-generated content into your advertising strategy.  Run contests, challenges, or campaigns that encourage users to share their experiences with your products or services, and feature the best content in your ads.

Effective Use Of Hashtags And Captions

Maximise the discoverability of your content by using relevant hashtags and compelling captions.  Hashtags increase the visibility of your posts to users interested in specific topics, while well-crafted captions can tell a story, evoke emotions, or prompt user engagement.  A thoughtful combination of both can significantly boost the reach and effectiveness of your Instagram ads.

Remember, best practice is to use between three and five hashtags per post.

advertising on instagram hashtags

Consistent Brand Aesthetics

Maintaining a consistent brand aesthetic is key to building a recognisable and trustworthy presence on Instagram.  Ensure that your ads align with your overall brand image, using consistent colours, fonts, and visual elements.  This cohesion fosters brand recall and reinforces the connection between your audience and your products or services.

Data-Driven Optimisation

Regularly analyse the performance of your Instagram ads using analytics tools.  Monitor metrics such as engagement rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates, to identify which advertising strategy is working for your brand.  Use this data to refine your strategy, identify what works best for your audience, and allocate your budget effectively.

A/B Testing

A/B testing allows advertisers to experiment with different ad elements, such as headlines, ad placement and formats, and audience segments, to identify what resonates best with their target audience.  Regular testing and optimisation based on the performance data help fine-tune campaigns for maximum effectiveness over time.

Budget Allocation And Bidding Strategy

An effective Instagram Advertising strategy involves careful budget allocation and selecting the right bidding strategy.  Understanding your campaign goals – whether it’s brand awareness, engagement, or conversions – helps in determining the appropriate budget and bidding strategy.  Advertisers can choose from various bidding options, such as cost per click (CPC) or cost per thousand impressions (CPM), depending on their objectives.

how to run effective instagram ads

Final Thoughts on Instagram Advertising

Instagram Advertising can be highly effective when approached strategically.  By understanding your audience, creating compelling visual content, utilising Instagram features, incorporating user-generated content, optimising hashtags and captions, maintaining brand aesthetics, and leveraging data for continuous improvement, you can maximise the impact of your Instagram Advertising campaigns.  As the platform continues to evolve, staying attuned to user trends and adapting your strategy accordingly will ensure sustained success in the world of Instagram Advertising.

Reach out to Digital Squeak to discuss your marketing objectives and see if Instagram Advertising is right for your brand –

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