Liv – Content Executive

Welcome to Pace basics, a new series where members of the team debunk the myths and explain the basics around the technical parts of their job.

Last time, you heard from Beth, our Digital Marketing Executive, who explained all things SEO – particularly the on-page variety. If you’re looking for a little help with your off-page SEO, there’s another blog from Beth coming soon.

For now, however, our Content Executive Liv’s here to teach you how to nail your Instagram ads. If you want to follow best practice and get results from your campaigns, here’s how she does it for our clients.

Instagram ads know everybody’s business. They know everything about everyone. That’s why their CSS is so big, it’s *whispers* full of secrets.

Advertising on Instagram is a bit of a minefield, but there’s a reason the app was responsible for 20% of Facebook’s total revenue in 2019. Brands must be seeing a return on their investment, otherwise, they wouldn’t be spending their pennies to put ads for plant-based bacon in your feed. Yes, I’m glad you asked, I bought the bacon.

But what is it that you need to do to make sure your ads succeed, resulting in those much-coveted clicks, views, sign-ups, and checkout completions? I’m here to tell you exactly that.

1. Build a strong organic presence

What’s the point in spending all that cash to send your audience to a profile that doesn’t back up your claims? Building a strong organic presence before you start putting budget behind your posts is an incredibly important step on the road to Instagram ad success city.

A fully completed profile filled with engaging, useful, relevant content legitimises your ads and sends trust signals to your customers. It’ll also increase your customer retention, meaning you’re more likely to continue those conversions well after your ad has spent up.

2. Know your audience

Before you begin to think about targeting, you need to know whom you’re targeting and what actions you’re expecting (hoping, praying, god-willing) them to take.

Cast your net too wide and you’ll end up with a low conversion rate, a lack of engagement, and a wasted budget. Remember, a higher reach doesn’t always mean better results!

If you have any previous audience research, use it. Instagram ads can be created through Facebook Ads Manager, which means you have a tonne of targeting options at your disposal, and they’re all based on the user data gathered by Facebook (ICYMI, that’s a lot of data). Ads can be targeted based on age, gender, and location, as well as a whole load of other demographics, interests, or behaviours. Know your product works well for single, female gardening enthusiasts in Manchester? Target them!

The more experience you have with Instagram ads, the more you’ll know what kind of targeting works, but we’ll revisit that a bit later on.

3. Create content that matters

Now you’ve outlined your audience, you need to think like them. What would they like to see from your ads? Again, try not to do too much at once. The purpose of your ad should be pretty clear.

Here’s a great example from a recent Heineken campaign that I can only imagine was to combat a dip in sales over Dry January.

The copy is snappy, and the ad has a clear focus. I’m also a big fan of the featured hashtag! Kudos to Heineken on this brand awareness campaign.

Example of an Instagram ad

4. Dynamic creative is important

People see ads every day. And the more we see them, the more we’re desensitised. In a world of diminishing attention spans and same-day delivery, your creative needs to be something that is guaranteed to captivate your ever-scrolling audience.

I’d also recommend resizing creative across different ad placements. A 1080 x 1080 graphic for your Instagram stories ad looks unprofessional and ruins all the hard work you’ve put into your design, targeting, and copy. Here’s an always up-to-date page from sproutsocial with all the size guides for each placement. Bookmark it!

5. Learn from your results

If you went to a restaurant and had the worst meal of your life, you wouldn’t ever go back. The same applies to your ads! If you receive terrible results from a campaign, it’s probably not a good idea to repeat it.

That being said, you can learn from those results. Look into how your ad performed across different ages, platforms, genders etc, and use what you learn to create a more cost-efficient, results-driven campaign next time. As with most things, the more experience you have, the better you’ll get (hopefully).

P.S. I won’t be buying the bacon again.

Need a bit more help with your ads? We’ve been generating results for clients for over four years. Let’s chat about how we can do it for you, too.