Instagram Marketing For Businesses

With Instagram recently announcing that they’ve reached a huge 1 billion monthly users and 500 million daily active users on their platform – bypassing Twitter’s 335 million monthly active users – all businesses should look at how they can benefit from some of the features of Instagram ads for businesses. Instagram is a complete powerhouse amongst rival social networks. Indeed, there are 8 million business profiles on Instagram – an estimated 71% of US businesses in the US use it and there are more than 1 million monthly advertisers (Source Omnicore).

Things like visual aesthetics and ease of use make Instagram marketing strategies essential for businesses. It’s important to know what makes Instagram tick so you effectively target, engage and sell to your customers.

The increase in the number of businesses that use Instagram has a lot to do with the release of Instagram business profiles and new ad platforms. Many businesses now use key features like prominent contact information, powerful analytics data and the ability to create new Instagram ads.

According to Instagram, 80% of users follow at least one business on the app, with 60% hearing about a product and service through the platform. As of March 2017, over 120 million Instagram users visited a website, got directions, called a business, emailed or direct messaged a business.

Each of these activities signifies some level of interest, and in many ways, these Instagram fans can be considered as customer leads.

What Are Instagram Ads?

With Instagram analytics (via Business profiles) all businesses using Instagram now have data about impressions and reach per post, as well as follower demographics, which shows how posts performed and what their audience is like. Prior to 2015, Instagram ads were only available to big brands with big budgets, but now they are available to all. If you use Instagram ads, you also have access to data about how your ad performed. These Instagram stats are important to know so that you can create posts that your followers will like and respond to.

Instagram ads typically come in the form of a photo or video. An Instagram ad has the “Sponsored” tag, which sits at the top right-hand corner of the photo/video and can be shown from an account that you don’t necessarily follow. The user being advertised to can follow the brand’s account and can like and comment on the ad.

Instagram Ad Formats

Instagram Ad Formats come in three different formats – Images, Videos and Carousel Ads.

Image Ads – Image ads normally consist of one clear image with a call to action button at the bottom of the ad, such as “Shop now”, “Learn more” “Install Now” or “Sign Up”. When posting an image ad, use a filter. There are over 40 unique filters to choose from on Instagram but the most popular is Clarendon probably because of its use as an all-purpose filter. It brightens, highlights and intensifies shadows. Another reason may be ease of use it’s the default filter after the Normal option.

Video Ads – Video ads enable you to share videos up to 30 seconds long with the power of sight, sound and motion. Videos can be uploaded in portrait, as well as landscape format. While photo ads are the most common on Instagram, video has gained a lot of traction. Recent figures show 25% of Instagram ads are now single videos. Video ads can be up to 60 seconds long, but drop off in engagement occurs quickly as length increases. If you can hook the audience within the first 30 seconds, they are likely to stick around and watch.

Carousel Ads – This is a multiple image ad in which is the user can swipe the ad to see additional images. A call to action button can also be installed, which takes the user to a landing page of your choosing.

Remember hashtags!

7 out of 10 hashtags on Instagram are branded – hashtags are everywhere, from casual conversations on and offline, to TV commercials and billboards. Hashtags for Instagram help in content discovery and optimisation. Can you imagine the state of social media marketing in 2018 without hashtags?

Not only do hashtags help social media users organize and categorize content, but they’re also one of the driving forces behind some of today’s best marketing campaigns. As brands increase their dependence on user-generated campaigns, hashtags continue to be important for the acquisition and promotion of Instagram content. Instagram posts with at least one hashtag have 12.6% more engagement than those without.

Potential revenue

Instagram ad revenue is now expected to reach almost $7 billion in 2018 (Statista) – that’s nearly a $5 billion jump in 2 years. In 2017 new features were released such as Instagram Stories which attach to feeds and new advertising methods like Instagram Shopping. Both updates have boosted the value of advertising on Instagram. According to data (Klear) , there were 171,000 Instagram ads in December 2017 compared to 134,000 in July the same year – a huge 28% growth in just six months. Instagram is continuing to prove itself as an extremely valuable advertising avenue for marketers.

Content overload?

In the social networking world,  Instagram boasts the highest engagement rates, however, Instagram it does also deal with content overload and saturation.

Look at the stats – over 95 million photos are shared on Instagram daily and 70% of these posts aren’t actually seen. Instagram’s new algorithm focuses more on past-page engagement when choosing what content people will see which means it can be hard for current and potential customers to find your posts.

Although disheartening,  you can fight back. Be different than other businesses on Instagram and use Instagram Stories ads or Live videos to tell unique brand experiences. Also try using the geo-tagging feature – posts with location have 79% more engagement than those without. And remember the 80/20 rule. It states approximately 80% of your content should be focused on educating, enlightening and engaging your audience, and only 20% should be self-promotional.

Knowing and understanding Instagram and its stats is useful, but it’s what you actually do with the information that makes a difference. So instead of just gathering these up to refer back to at random, take the time to determine how each Instagram stat might help to improve your business.