To Use Instagram Ads … or Not to Use Instagram Ads?

Instagram Ads

Instagram ads are the new big thing in the marketing world. They launched in September 2015 and raked in $595 million on mobile before the end of the year. With over 300 million active users and an engagement rate 47 times that of Twitter, it’s an enticing option for businesses looking to grow their customer base.

But just because it’s new doesn’t mean that Instagram ads are the best option for your small business’ marketing strategy. They can be effective, but only when used strategically.

Instagram ads are now conveniently developed throughout the Facebook platform, which is awesome. This means it’s very easy to set up your Instagram campaign using Power Editor. You can even use the same targeting as your Facebook ads to get in front of the right people.

The thing is, Facebook and Instagram serve different purposes. Think of them as newspapers and magazines — people go to Facebook to learn what’s going on with their friends, their family, and the brands they follow the same way they might pick up a newspaper to learn what’s going on in the world. Instagram is more like the magazine in your doctor’s office waiting room that gets picked up solely to kill time.

You don’t read magazines in the doctor’s office lobby to be informed; you do it to stay occupied while you wait.

This means that an ad that does well on Facebook probably isn’t going to have the same results on Instagram. Targeting on Instagram is going to be less effective than the same campaign on Facebook. That’s why Instagram really is better suited to a retargeting campaign that builds brand awareness.

Instagram ads blend in really well with the feed when they’re done right. What makes them different is the call to action and that they say “Sponsored.” Here’s an example of one:

Instagram Ads

Here’s how this can be done:

At Loud Rumor, we run an ad to our target audience on Facebook and they click. Then they’re taken to a landing page where we’ve already installed a retargeting pixel. That retargeting pixel is associated with a campaign that’s already built out in Facebook specifically for Instagram. When you do this, your target audience has already seen your company on Facebook, so now when they’re scrolling through Instagram and see the retargeting ad pop up, it’s a reinforcement.

Why should Instagram ads be done this way? Well, it’s pretty simple.

Instagram ads are still brand new, which means users are still getting used to seeing sponsored posts in their feeds. People don’t click these targeted ads very much yet, so your cost per lead is going to be higher than it normally would be for Facebook or email marketing.

But retargeting ads are good because you’re building brand recognition, and it’s a lot more cost-effective than generating customers from scratch on Instagram.

We’ve not only noticed an increase in leads through Instagram retargeting versus targeting, but it has improved the effectiveness of Facebook retargeting as well. We’ve also seen a decrease in cost per lead for both Instagram and Facebook retargeting by using this method, all because we’re adding an extra element to help reinforce the brand.

There are a couple of ways you can make sure your Instagram ads are going to as well as they possibly can.

1 – Keep Instagram Ads Consistent

Brand consistency is especially crucial when advertising on multiple visual platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Change the text of your retargeting ad to remind them that they’ve seen you before, but you should use the same image for both Facebook and Instagram. You want your brand to look familiar, so you should make the ads as identical as possible … like this:

Instagram ads

For example, let’s say your original ad on Facebook shows one girl in a yoga pose. Your Instagram ad should show the same girl in the same pose (rather than a group or couple doing yoga). If you used a colored banner on Facebook, include it on Instagram.

Basically, your Instagram retargeting ad needs to be familiar enough that people recognize it. If it’s not familiar, they don’t even realize that it’s something they’ve seen before.

2 – Show and Tell

Because it’s a completely visual platform, Instagram works best for businesses that are very visual. Fitness studios are great for this because people can see what the studio will look like and the kinds of exercise they’ll be doing.

That being said, sometimes it’s good to use words in the image to really drive your offer home. This works best if you have an offer that’s easy to explain in only a few words.

Instagram Ads

For instance, 2 free weeks of yoga is a simple offer (and one we’ve seen a lot of success with) that can be explained with a clean banner across the bottom of your image. It still gets attention, but it doesn’t distract from the enticing photo.

Best of all, people will get what it is without having to stop and read the fine print caption under your ad. That space should be used for anything that needs clarification, like if it’s for new customers only, or if the offer lasts only through April 30. Put it in the caption to avoid cluttering your graphic with too much text, which can make people scroll right past your retargeting ad.

3 – Have a Plan

The thing about Instagram ads, just like any other social platform, is that they’re most effective when you have a plan in place. If you’re just placing an ad out there without a set strategy that includes a strong call to action, landing page, automation with drip, etc., you’re going to end up paying more per lead and won’t be able to capture as many of those clicks into leads.

You never want to just create an Instagram ad, throw it out there, and let it fly. There’s a ton that should go into your campaign if you want killer results.  
And that’s why so many fitness studios love our Fit FLAVER program. It bundles Facebook ads, retargeting, email, video, and more into one neat package that gets insane results for fitness studios.

If you’ve found a successful strategy with Instagram advertising other than retargeting, we’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below so we can test them out too. And if you’re curious as to how Fit FLAVER works, you can learn more about it here:

Mike Arce
Mike Arce is the CEO and founder of Loud Rumor, a lead generation company for fitness studios and independent gyms that supports their customers with sales training and techniques to grow and scale.

Mike has spoken for companies like Infusionsoft, the Better Business Bureau, ASBA, and Local First – all on the topic of Local Business Internet Marketing. He has a passion for local businesses and helping them grow. You can get fresh, updated tips from Mike here.