Your Ultimate Guide to Creating Instagram Ads That Generate Real ROI

Your Ultimate Guide to Creating Instagram Ads That Generate Real ROI

We all know how powerful a site Instagram can be, where you can reach an audience of over 1 billion users where nearly two-thirds of whom are active daily. It should come as no surprise that advertisers have flocked to the site, where global ad revenue is now pushing the $20 billion mark. You are reading this because you obviously want to get in on the action, but not all Instagram Ads are created equally. Today we’ll walk you through key strategies for how to create Instagram Ads that generate ROI. Let’s get started!

Think Discoverable Content

According to recent data, more than 80% of Instagram users have found new companies and products that interest them through Instagram.

83% of users discover new products on Instagram

Yet, with organic research rather curtailed, how are they even finding this new information?

Your content is classed as discoverable when it appears in the ‘Explore’ tab on Instagram. This is where they’re showcasing relevant posts to connect with interested users. It’s one of the widest audience segments you can reach on the platform. 

Strictly speaking, this isn’t a paid advert as you may think of them. Most content earns its way into this tab by using relevant hashtags. The tab itself is personalized for each user, based on their preferences. So the right hashtags are a must, but they’re only part of the picture. The more interaction with your post, the more traction it will have. It’s not just about followers, either, but about their active engagement. 

Creating viral Instagram Reels is another way to get discovered, as this content has a great chance to be seen outside of your network of followers. But, as competition for Reels increases, the need for engagement does equally.

So how do you get user engagement? Obviously, buying fake followers is a no-no. That number might look big, but they’re going to do nothing in terms of engagement. Increasing engagement on Instagram is an art, and not a science, and while there are tricks to increase Instagram engagement based ony our timing and captions, it obviously takes time. If you do need a little help building an engaged following, using a paid user acquisition service to drive genuine user engagement might be your best bet.

Basic Instagram Ad Types

Now, let’s dive into the world of Instagram Ads. A key part of driving better ROI on Instagram is matching the right ad type to the product and the interested audience. While the ad setup screen in the Facebook Ads Manager looks like it only has 3 ad types, there are actually 5 different types to consider when creating Instagram Ads. Let’s recap.

Instagram ads types

1. Stories Ads

Stories ads are sandwiched between other users’ stories. Think of them as full-screen, vertical ads. Stories are currently one of the most-viewed ad types, pulling about 500 million users a day. Stories roll into each other, too, so they’re a great way to leverage other people’s content to boost your ROI. They’re very difficult to distinguish from organic content, so they look natural and interesting, especially when properly targeted.

Compatible Ad Types: Story Ads are great for limited-time offers and promotions, and can be used to direct traffic to your website.

Further Reading: Five of the Best Instagram Stories Ads Examples and What We Can Learn from Them

2. Photo Ads

Here you showcase a specific product or service through stunning visual imagery. Many people react most positively to visual imagery, making this a great way to catch attention.

Compatible Ad Types: This type of ad is great for brand awareness.

3. Video Ads

Video content is becoming more and more important for marketers. They also tap into the power of visual imagery, but allow you to fit a lot more information into the format.

Compatible Ad Types: Honestly, almost anything, they are so versatile

Carousel Ads are a ‘swipe-through’ series of vivid images. They’re a great way to showcase e-Commerce items, use call-to-action buttons to drive people to the site, and can be seen as a more in-depth extension to the image ad format.

Compatible Ad Types: e-Commerce products and anything suitable for an Image ad, but needing more depth.

5. Collection Ads

An Instagram collection is a set of items that are monetized. It can include photos and video both, which is a nice touch. But the feature that most interests marketers is that users can buy directly from the ad. When the product is clicked, they can buy it immediately.

Compatible Ad Types: Anything that will benefit from being shown off through a curated collection, especially e-Commerce items and product collections

Instagram ROI Starts by Choosing the Best Instagram Ad Type for Your Needs

When it comes to creating a perfect Instagram ad, the key is knowing what you want to achieve from the campaign. That way, you can match up the best format possible. Stories, for example, are perfect for a one-time promotion, whereas Collections let you directly sell a product. Video can create the captivating content you need to bring in new customers. 

So the bottom line is that there is no one right answer here. Once you have clear goals for your marketing campaign, you can pick the right ad type to drive it.

Setting Up a Successful Instagram Ad Campaign

So once you’ve found the right format for your Instagram ad, what’s next?

Setting Up a Successful Instagram Ad Campaign

1. Know Your Objective

If you don’t know what you need the campaign to do, you will waste your money running it. The single best thing you can do before setting up your Instagram ad is to know what its purpose is and what you need to result from it. It’s the only way you will get the ROI you need. Possible goals are:

  • Traffic generation
  • Driving sales
  • Increasing followers and engagement
  • Brand awareness

Without these goals clear in your mind, you can’t pick the right ad type, optimize properly, or interpret data successfully. Luckily, there’s plenty of great Instagram tools you can use to help.

2. Target the Right Audience

You can waste an awful lot of money on people who will never buy your product if you’re not careful. In fact, it’s one of the biggest mistakes new advertisers make, trying to sell to anyone and everyone. Instagram ads can be very finely targeted, so it’s essential that you use this ability to deliver your message to the right people, and continue to tweak and fine-tune your audiences as you go. Remember, most successful Instagram marketers use many niche audiences to deliver targeted campaigns.

Further Reading: How to Identify Your Instagram Target Audience and Turn Them into Customers

3. Create Your Instagram Ads

Most successful campaigns are tweaked while live, rather than waiting until you have the perfect data set. While you need some data to get your first campaign up and running, don’t get so caught up in data analytics you never put anything live. Rather adjust your campaigns as you meticulously track live metrics, then hold them back forever. You will learn far more about optimizing ads from seeing them run than any amount of passive reading or research. Don’t forget, the process of tweaking and testing ad copy is ongoing. It’s never going to be one-and-done. So don’t let analysis paralysis hold you back.

Ad Optimization: the Key to Super High ROI

Ad Optimization: the Key to Super High ROI

Once you have the right Instagram ad type for your campaign, you need to make sure those campaigns are performing at their maximum potential. Here’s some optimization tips for high Instagram ad ROI that everyone should know.

1. Variety is the Spice of Life

People tire of seeing the same content. And, of course, if you’re trying to leverage the natural-appearing power of Story-type ads, this is even more important. Ad-fatigue is real, and should be avoided.

2. Test and Double-Test

The perfect Instagram ad will not happen in a ray of magic. It will come as you test, tweak, refine, and improve your campaign. Everything needs testing: format, call to action, audience, caption, hashtags, images, and so on.

Luckily, Facebook Ads Manager is open to you, as Facebook owns Instagram. This should help you source the data you need, in an intuitive format that’s pretty easy to use, even for data like click-through rate and cost-per-click. Now you know where your ad spend is paying off, and where it hasn’t.

3. Short and Sweet

You need a super-clear message that gets the user’s attention fast, especially with Stories ads. Remember, users see only 5 seconds (15 seconds for video) and can’t easily return later. So your message needs to hit loud, clear, and fast. Think clear messaging, strong visuals, and compelling calls to action.

4. Make it Special

People are surprisingly driven by Fear of Missing Out. We like the idea that something we’re consuming is special, in limited supply, or reserved only for certain people. You can leverage that for smart advertising.

5. Data is Your Friend

You’ve tested and tweaked your ad, but don’t stop there. Your data isn’t just about a specific campaign. It can also reveal things like what ad types are resonating with your audience, and where you’re spending less and getting more. For example, video is often a compelling type, but is also typically the most expensive. Maybe your data will show where your cheaper ads are delivering comparable results. Honestly, we can’t emphasize this enough: measure your metrics. The best way to improve your Instagram ad ROI is to use your data smartly, test, and tweak everything.

6. Leverage Activities for Data

Tactics like contests can act as a great way to boost ROI as you’re growing a brand or Instagram following. Not only do they create direct opportunities for user engagement, but they also allow you to test run audiences and gather a lot of valuable data easily. Especially if users are encouraged to share. 

Incentives, giveaways, and prizes can be a great way to get people interested in a brand. User-generated content is very underrated in marketing spheres, but can be a stand-out way to humanize your brand and gain customer trust. Typically, tag-to-win contests generate great ROI and drive high interaction.

Further Reading: How to Do A Giveaway On Instagram in 12 Easy Steps

Getting Better ROI from Existing Instagram Marketing

So, once you’ve picked the right ad type and tweaked your campaign, how can you make your advert work even better for you? Let’s see.

1. Smart Remarketing

smart remarketing

Many businesses hit an issue where people may engage with a post or ad that catches their eye, but they don’t become long-term brand followers. Remarketing is an efficient way to deal with this. Either manually or through automation, you seek to interest these people — people you already know have an interest in your product — and convert them into followers and customers. 

The remarketing features are fairly new to the platform, as is the ability to diversify and apply unique marketing. It’s a great way to extract more from every ad you run.

Further Reading: Tips for Effectively Retargeting Customers Using Instagram

2. Influence But Tracked

Influencers can be of value to a brand, but only the right influencer. One key thing to do is make sure you never just give a standard campaign link to an influencer campaign. Unique links allow you to track exactly how the influencer is working for you, and the ROI they are bringing to the table. You can track how much traffic resulted, how long users stayed on your site, if they converted, and much more. But only if you don’t allow them to overlap with other marketing efforts.

The quick and dirty way to do this is simply using the “/src?=” + their handle function at the end of the link. This allows you to track what’s coming from them, and make sure your influencer partnerships are paying off.

Further Reading: Instagram Influencer Marketing: The Complete Guide

3. Custom Audiences

Custom audiences allow you far greater control over who sees what ads. This, in turn, allows you to personalize content and keep what they see relevant. Again, this will run through Facebook Ads Manager, where you can create specific audiences to target with a campaign.

You can even combine this tip with point two above, and use it to create custom audiences specific to your Influencer’s audience. This also means you can segment retargeting campaigns. You can even make lookalike audiences to reach new people similar to existing high-performing audiences. By segmenting your funnel, you will be better able to deliver what interests them, and that makes for better ROI down the road.

Instagram is a critical ad campaign for most marketing efforts, but it doesn’t generate ROI by magic! You will need to take full advantage of Instagram and everything it has to offer to get the results you want the most. Now that you know more about how to improve the ROI of your Instagram ads and some key steps on setting them up for success, it’s time to get started with your own ad campaigns. These tips on creating Instagram ads won’t just make your Instagram interactions pay better rewards, but it will help cement a successful online marketing strategy and keep your ads delivering for you.

Hero photo by Georgia de Lotz on Unsplash

This is a post contributed from one of my marketing partners.

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Social media has become pay-to-play, and it is easy to spend a lot of money on ads. Here's how to create Instagram ads that generate real ROI.
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