Why You Need to Start Caring about Advertising on Instagram


Hi, I’m Syama Meagher, CEO of Scaling Retail. And these days, guys, you’ve got to start paying attention to Instagram advertising. Why is that? Well, there are so many different factors why Instagram is really becoming today’s predominant touch point for so many consumers in the market. And it’s important that you start to take a look at in-stream ads, in-story ads, and also start to find out the best ways of being able to maximize your organic Instagram as well. But, I’m going to unpack it for you. There are a lot of different things that you should be paying attention to on Instagram. And that is why I think you should be spending most of your dollars when it comes to advertising in there. So let’s dive in.

The first thing I think that’s so critical to understand is that similar to Facebook, and obviously Facebook owns Instagram, these days it’s more and more difficult for a consumer to see a company sponsored post or a company post, an organic company post. And why is that? Well, obviously they’re prioritizing not only the peer to peer space but they’re also wanting you to move into a pay-to-play market, very similar to Facebook’s advertising. Have you noticed that on Facebook, if you have a Facebook Page, it’s so difficult to get people to see those updates unless you start putting advertising dollars towards there? It’s almost like a shot in the dark if someone’s actually going to see that post that you had.

So, similar to that platform, Instagram is also moving more and more into pay-to-play platform. This means that you should start thinking beyond just organic. You have to start thinking about things like the in-stream ads, right? And in-stream ads have to do with in your feed, right? As you’re going through your feed, all of a sudden you see an advertisement that says, “Shop now, learn now.” And what I love so much about this feature is that on Instagram, it’s really a closed platform. Meaning, you kind of have no choice but to see all of the images that are in front of you. So even if you’re just getting the touch point, even if you’re just getting those visibility, those eyeballs on your advertisement, that can have residual effects, right? That can actually help to close the sale later down the road.

Now, of course, you guys have all been hearing about in-stories ads, right? So if you flip through Instagram stories, you’ll see little advertisements pop up from different retailers. And what I think is so important about that is, again, similar to in-feed, you’re starting to notice that in stories, it’s very difficult, right, to click over something without actually seeing what it is you’re actually looking at. It happens so organically that you’re actually more inclined to take a look at it because you’re trying to figure out where that content came from and if it was organic. So, in stories is something you’re going to start to see happen more and more and more for a lot of the other smaller retail companies out there. Obviously, the Instagram in-news feed, right, that’s where you can certainly engage with today. Just make sure you hook that up to your Facebook Power Editor so you can go ahead and not just do posting within the Instagram platform but you can also do the advertising through power editors. There are really two different ways to do that.

Now, lastly, when it comes to Instagram advertising, you’re starting to hear more and more and more about shoppable tags. Now, shoppable tags are really a way for you to tag your product in a post and have it be clicked through. And that way you can then convert the customer from digital to your website to be able to purchase. Now, what I think is so fascinating about this is it’s just as easy as tagging a friend or tagging another company in your post, so long as you have your product catalog library uploaded to the Facebook power editor, right? So you’re going to be able to then synergize between the tagging between Instagram and then also making sure that that catalog has been uploaded.

Now, these benefits and features are now starting to be seen with a lot of major companies out there. You’re seeing J-Crew use it, you’re seeing other big brands trying to take advantage of this, like Jack Threads, etc. However, again, similar to the in-stories advertisements, that’s going to slowly start to roll through and going to be something you’ll be able to take advantage of as well. Now, things to keep in mind, guys, as you’re implementing these new technologies, remember, right, that you need to be treating Instagram not just as an advertising platform but as something where you’re still going to be pushing lifestyle and other types of branded content.

So it can seem really easy to say to yourself, “Well, I’m going to go ahead and tag all these images and make them all shoppable and I’m going to treat every image like an opportunity to sell product.” But remember, if you treat it that way, you might actually find a decline in your engagement and your followers because again, your followers are on Instagram not just to see the product but to understand your brand and your lifestyle. Now, lastly, guys, when it comes to doing advertising on Instagram, keep in mind that this is part of a cohesive marketing strategy.

It takes about six different touch points these days in order to be able to get your customer to really become a loyalist, to be able to purchase something and to have them really feel like they understand your brand. So think about Instagram advertising certainly as one channel and one parcel of a total, cohesive marketing campaign. But guys, this is not something that you can ignore anymore. Remember when people were just getting started on Instagram and maybe you’re still getting on Instagram right now if you’re a business. And you’re wondering, “Hey, how do I do this thing, how does it work? How can I take advantage of this?” And you’re like, “I don’t even use it, I don’t get it, I don’t understand it.”

Well, do not play that same game when it comes to the world of paid advertising. As Instagram switches to a more and more pay-to-play platform, you’re going to want to be able to understand the impact, the power, and harness these advertisement capabilities before your competitors do within your current landscape.

Certainly none of us will be able to really compete with the Levis’ or get first dibs on using these types of advertising tools because Instagram chooses to test them out with larger retailers. But as a small brand, be the first, be there and play and test and find out which of these channels are going to be best for you to market on and what the right budget is for your business. All right guys, if you have any more questions about launching Instagram strategies, marketing, feel free to shoot me an email over at hello@scalingretail.com. We’d love to be able to assist you in a digital marketing campaign.

To find out more about Scaling Retail services and all that we do at Scaling Retail, head over to scalingretail.com. Please make sure to subscribe on Youtube, follow us over on LinkedIn, find us over on Instagram as well as Facebook, guys. We are where you are, so come and find us. Thanks for watching. Bye.


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