What do Kylie Jenner and a picture of an egg have in common? Kapil Arya delves into how brands can engage with audiences on Instagram…
As of 14 January 2019, the most liked post on Instagram was a picture of an egg, topping the previous record of 18 million likes on a Kylie Jenner photo. The egg image currently has over 50 million likes! Launched in 2010, Instagram, the photo and video-sharing social networking service owned by Facebook Inc has one billion users worldwide, and it seems the app keeps steadily adding 200 million users a year.
Therefore, it is no surprise that Instagram advertising is increasingly becoming a part of integrated marketing programmes for brands. Instagram first began offering limited ad services in 2013 after being purchased by Facebook. But it wasn’t until 2015 that they allowed advertising for brands and businesses of all shapes and sizes. And because Instagram is integrated with Facebook Ad Manager, brands can leverage Facebook’s wealth of user information to advertise directly to their target audience.
Being an avid user of the social network myself and working on an integrated marketing campaign spurred my interest in the impact of Instagram advertising. It is essentially a paid-for channel through which brands can pay to post sponsored content to reach a targeted audience. There are various types of ads on Instagram, notably, click-to-website ads, whereby customers are prompted to click on the brand’s website; engagement ads in which the audience is encouraged to comment on, like or share a post; and conversion ads whereby customers are asked to buy a product. There are five ad formats: stories, photos, videos, carousel and collection.
I recently attended an Instagram advertising masterclass in which we discussed the best ingredients for a powerful campaign. The ads’ success hinges on a thorough understanding of target audience which comes from comprehensive research. Who are you targeting? For example, students or professionals. Where do they live? What are they likely to enjoy doing on a weekend? What are their life goals likely to be? Have they heard about the brand? These are just some of the initial questions which are helpful to identify the target audience with precision and clarity.
Another factor which is hugely influential in the performance of an Instagram campaign is the power of the creative. An eye-catching, simple, focused creative with bright colours, minimal text and images of people is considered to the gold standard. Marketeers should try different creatives, with three being the minimum, to see which one works better. Videos are particularly effective in engaging audiences as anything with moving imagery has a better chance of being seen. An excellent example and personal favourite is how Lego leveraged the buzz around the Royal Wedding in 2018 by creating a video of the event with characters built from Lego blocks. This campaign became hugely popular thanks to the trending #RoyalWedding hashtag and generated over 100,000 views and almost 400 comments. Another example is how the Belgian beer brand Stella Artois raised awareness and funds for its charity partner Water.org by publishing a combination of short product and talking head videos featuring Matt Damon, the organisation’s co-founder, across their social channels including Instagram which garnered thousands of impressions. It’s also a great way to engage with audiences and encourage them to support a cause.
For click-to-website ads, the landing page is very important; what the audience sees in the ad should be reflected on the website’s first page. It should also have a clear call-to-action, user-friendly layout which is mobile optimised and a seamless sign-up process.
Instagram offers various exciting opportunities for brands to engage with their target audience. With a solid grasp on who they are trying to reach and a compelling creative, brands can fully leverage this social network as part of an integrated campaign which makes a positive difference to their bottom line.
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