Why You Need to Start Caring about Advertising on Instagram

It’s time to start paying attention to Instagram advertising, because there are so many different factors contributing to why Instagram is today’s predominant touchpoint for consumers. It’s important that you look at in-stream ads and in-story ads and find the best ways to maximize your organic Instagram marketing initiatives.

Pay-to-Play

The first thing that’s critical to understand is that Instagram is similar to Facebook, as Facebook owns Instagram. Currently, it’s more and more difficult for a consumer to see a company sponsored post, or an organic company post. Obviously they’re prioritizing not only the peer-to-peer space, but they also want 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 very difficult to get people to see updates, unless you start putting in advertising dollars? It’s almost like a shot in the dark, if someone’s going to see that post that you had.

Similar to Facebook, Instagram is also increasingly evolving into a pay-to-play platform. This means you should start thinking beyond just organic. Start thinking about things like in-stream ads. As you’re going through your feed, you see an advertisement that reads “shop now” or “learn now”. Since Instagram is a closed platform, you have no choice but to see all of the images that are in front of you. Even if you’re just getting the touchpoint, even if you’re just getting those eyeballs onto your advertisement, it can have residual effects and that can actually help to close the sale at a later time.

In-Story Advertising

If you skim through Instagram Stories, you’ll see little advertisements pop up from different retailers. Similar to in-feed ads, it’s very difficult to click over to some in-Story ads without actually seeing what it is you’re looking at. It happens so organically that you’re 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. In-Stories are something you’re going to see more often from a lot of the other smaller retail companies out there. Obviously, the Instagram feed is where you can certainly engage 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 also do the advertising through power editors.

Shoppable Tags

Lastly, when it comes to Instagram advertising, you’re starting to hear more about shoppable tags. They’re really a way for you to tag your product in a post and have shoppers click through to your site to make a purchase. It allows you to convert the customer from social media to your website. It’s as easy as tagging a friend or tagging another company in your post, as long as you have your product catalog library uploaded to the Facebook Power Editor. You’re going to be able to synergize the tagging between Instagram and make sure your catalog has been uploaded.
These benefits and features are now starting to be seen with major companies- J.Crew uses it, Jack Threads, and others. Similar to In-Story advertisements, it’s going to be something you’ll be able to take advantage of as well. As you’re implementing these new technologies, you need to be treating Instagram not just as an advertising platform, but as somewhere you’re still going to be pushing lifestyle and other types of branded content.

It can seem really easy to say, “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.” However, if you do that you might actually find a decline in your engagement and your followers. That’s because your followers are on Instagram not just to see the products, but to understand your brand and lifestyle. 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 touchpoints to be able to get your customer to become a loyalist, to be able to purchase something and to feel like they understand your brand. Think about Instagram advertising as one channel and one parcel of a total, cohesive marketing campaign. This is not something you can ignore anymore. You need to know how this works.

You will also need to understand the world of paid advertising as Instagram switches to become more and more of a pay-to-play platform. You need to be able to understand its impact and power and harness these advertisement capabilities before competitors in the landscape do so first.

None of us will be able to get first dibs on using these types of advertising tools, because Instagram chooses to test them out with larger retailers. However, as a small brand, be the first and play and test. Find out which of these channels are going to be best for you to market and what the right budget is for your business.
If you have any more questions about launching Instagram strategies or marketing, feel free to send us an email at hello@scalingretail.com. We’d love to assist you with a digital marketing campaign.

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