Welcome to Instagram Ads

Okay. So Facebook deemed our agency worthy of being the first through the door to use the new Instagram Ads platform. Obviously, we can’t let a great opportunity like this go to waste, so we persuaded a select few of our clients to be the proverbial guinea pig in what is shaping up to be the next gold rush in digital advertising. Whether you’re the CMO for a single brand, or your agency is considering Instagram ads for the first time, we’ve written this article for you, to help answer some of the big questions we had when we blazed the Instagram trail two weeks ago.

How do you set up Instagram ads?
Instagram ads are being rolled out to users in waves, at their sole discretion based on all kinds of algorithmic data that they, of course, will not reveal. You’ll know that you’re eligible to start running them if you begin to create an ad in Facebook Power Editor and, when hovering over the “Website Clicks” campaign goal you see a little note telling you that you can advertise on Instagram.

Before you can set up ads in Power Editor, however, you’ll need to go into your Facebook Business Manager, hover over the “Business Settings” menu on the left, and select “Instagram Accounts”. Once there, click “Claim New Instagram Account” and follow the intuitive prompts.

Once you’ve claimed an Instagram account, you will assign it to a page (which you will have already set up in Business Manager). Then you’re ready to go back to Power Editor…

NOTE: The ability to claim your Instagram Account in Business Manager is available to everyone. This ability does not guarantee that Instagram ads have been rolled out to your account yet.

Make sure you reset Power Editor after you’ve attached your Instagram account, otherwise you still won’t be able to create Instagram ads. Assuming you’ve done this, set up the ad campaign as you would prepare any Facebook ad… Choose the same demographic settings that you would use with Facebook., etc. Everything is the same. The only difference for Instagram ads is that you need to edit the campaign (at the campaign level), find the “Placement” section, and select Instagram as a placement option.

To save time, you may be tempted to mash up your Instagram ads with the other placement options available to you. If you do this you can segment Instagram in your ad report breakdown, but we strongly recommend going ahead and creating a dedicated Instagram campaign. Doing so will give you full control over how much of your budget is spent on Instagram – and having dedicated Instagram data at the top level will be valuable to you in the long-run.

What Should I Include in My Ads?
Remember that Instagram is a photo-driven social network. Do not post images with copy overlay; in the rare event that your ad is approved, you will still stand out as a brand that “doesn’t get it”. You want your ads to succeed by merit of being relevant, not being tacky. And that means the ads should feel familiar to users… not like a commercial.

Choose a gorgeous picture. Many of our clients are in the food space, so food porn is a given here. But if you’re not fortunate enough to be able to use food porn, at least aim for a gorgeous shot. Again, Instagram is a lifestyle app. Don’t post random product catalog pictures. Go for the lifestyle message.

In Instagram, the caption is really important as well. Don’t talk down or out to your market… talk straight to them. As if you had just snapped a picture of your delicious steak and wanted to brag about it to your friends on Instagram. Same principle applies for brands.

Can I Use Hash Tags? #HeckYes.
Instagram thrives on hash tags. Use them judiciously – don’t be a hash tag spammer. But certainly use hash tags where appropriate. This will help the ad expand beyond your demographic settings in the ad creation process, and enable you to reach people who show an interest in the hash tags you’re using. It adds another, very exciting dimension of segmentation to your ad campaign.

How Can I View My Instagram Reports?
The same way you view your Facebook ad reports. From the Business Manager timeline, choose the ad account that’s running the ads, and browse the report just as any other ad report in Facebook.

That’s all for now. We’ve been thrilled with the CPC and conversion rates that we’ve been seeing on Instagram so far, and are looking forward to rolling out the platform to a number of our other clients. We’ll keep you posted.