The VPM Blog

How to Create an Effective Instagram Ad

Posted by Melissa Cook on Jun 6, 2018 8:01:00 AM

You’re scrolling through Instagram, looking at pictures of dogs or friends and family on vacation, and then all of a sudden, you see an image that makes you stop and take notice. It isn’t until you click on the profile or the image that you realize it was an ad.

Good or bad, effective or not, they exist, and their usage is on the rise. But why? For a few simple reasons:

  1. Instagram/Facebook Integration
    1. As a business, you can (and should!) integrate your Facebook and Instagram pages (read more on this below). This allows you to take previously curated audiences, interests, forms, etc., and carry them over into Instagram ads.
  2. Aesthetic and Organic Feel
    1. Instagram ads tend to perform better because they flow naturally in your audience’s feed. They don’t feel disruptive and if done right will appear as natural and organic content, and not an ad.
  3. Audience and Engagement Rates
    1. Did you know that 80% of Instagram users follow a business? That means your business is more likely to have high engagement rates with your ads. 

Think you’re ready to learn how to create an effective Instagram ad? Let’s get started!

Determine Your Audience

First and foremost, who is your target audience? If your answer is something like men over 55, Instagram isn’t for you. Rule #1 of inbound marketing is knowing your buyer personas and meeting them where they are. If they aren’t on Instagram, don’t waste money on ads. It’s as simple as that.

If your buyer personas are active on Instagram and tend to respond positively to ads on that platform, keep scrolling.

Create Your Ad

If you haven’t combined your Instagram and Facebook business pages, start there. Simply head to your settings on your Instagram page, click “Create a Business Page” and follow the instructions to connect a Facebook page to the account. Once you’re connected, you’ll create the ad within the Facebook Ads Manager.

Instagram Ad

Before creating the ad, you will create the ad campaign. After all, even the best imagery and video will land on deaf ears (or in this case, blind eyes) if you don’t put in the proper research and thought into the campaign behind it. You have a multitude of options, broken down into three categories:

  • Awareness
  • Consideration
  • Conversion

Sounds pretty similar to the Inbound Methodology, right? Once you’ve selected what your goal is, you have to create an ad account.

Instagram Ad How-To

In this step, create an account and enter your information. Select your country, currency, and time zone. Once you’ve created an ad account, select what Facebook page the Instagram account is linked to and select that as the default account for this campaign.

Instagram Ad How-To

Now, determine your audience. This is where inbound marketing practices come into play. Understand your audience: where they are, their interests, etc., so you can better target the ad to them. For example, this campaign’s goal is to help convert Marketing Managers and Deans in Higher Education. For that audience, we selected males and females, ages 30-55 (average ages of Managers, Directors, and Deans), and opted to show this to these individuals across the country. Once you’ve selected this information, you have the opportunity to refine the target audience even more. Select interests, education levels, professions, and more to refine your audience.

Instagram Ad How-To

Now that you’ve determined the audience, you can decide how the ad will be formatted, your budget for the campaign, and how long you’d like it to run. Your budget is determined on the size of your organization, and your schedule will vary based on the campaign. For example, if this ad is promoting a holiday sale, the ad will only run for the duration of the sale. We selected to have this ad run indefinitely for two reasons: 1) to track and adjust as we go for a case study and 2) this offer is “evergreen” and is relevant regardless of the season. 

And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for…. Let’s create the ad. First, select whether you would like the ad to be a carousel (a scrollable image option), a single image, a single video, or a slideshow. For this, we selected a single image, as we wanted the image and ad to speak for itself. Once you’ve selected the format, select your images or videos. You are able to upload from your personal files, from Facebook images, or directly from your Instagram account.
Instagram Ad

Now for the text. Draft up your caption, headline, description, thank you note, and add your link. Here, you can adjust the text on the Call-To-Action button, and preview the ad on a variety of devices. One important thing to note, with the recent GDPR changes, you are required to link your privacy policy and you have the option to add a custom disclaimer. Use language that speaks to your buyer personas and don’t be heavy-handed with the text.Instagram Ad How-To

Last, but not least, create a form. This form will have a paragraph about the service, offer, discount, etc., that you are offering and is customizable. You have the option to change what information you would like to capture (email, name, industry, location, etc.). When creating the form, consider what information is most valuable to you and your goals and center the form around that information.

Assess and Evaluate Your Ad

Through Facebook’s Ads Manager, you are able to monitor and track your campaign’s success. To do so, on the home page of Ads Manager, click your campaign. On this dashboard, you are able to see your delivery, results, reach, cost, schedule, and more.

In the column above the campaign title, there is a dropdown box where you can select performance, delivery, engagement, video engagement, app engagement, carousel engagement, performance and clicks, and cross-device. Each of these breaks down their analytics into more detail, allowing you to track impressions, reach, clicks, etc.

AnalyticsOnce you’ve gone through the data, analyze it. Which posts worked? Which didn’t? What days did the posts perform the best? What imagery performed the best? Analyzing this allows you to understand what you did well and what you can improve on in the future. Marketing is all about growing, learning, and building relationships, and that work never ends.

You’ve finally made it to the end! You’ve successfully (or maybe not so successfully…. It’s a learning process) created your first Instagram ad campaign. Take the time to look through all you’ve done and evaluate the process. After all, your buyer personas are there, you just need to find a way to connect with them. Need a little help creating and curating content that your audience will not only engage with, but purchase from? Click here to download our FREE eBook to learn how you can use social to build your business and convert, close, and delight your buyer personas:

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Topics: Social Media, Inbound Marketing, social media analytics

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