Instagram is a great platform for marketing your business. As there are over a billion users there. But marketing yourself through organic means only can be a challenge. As more than 25 million businesses are competing with you.
This rise in competition has been coupled with a decline in organic reach. This is why if you continue to rely on organic reach or influencer marketing (as their organic reach is going down too), you won’t continue to get the same results you did years ago.
To get the most out of Instagram you need to combine organic and influencer marketing methods with ads. Ads will help you stand out from the competition and get quick results. This is why businesses spent over $20 billion on Instagram ads last year.
But in order to generate a positive ROI from Instagram advertising, you need to have a proper ad strategy in place. This includes setting up the ad itself, the landing page, and the rest of the funnel. And I am going to show you how to do this below…
Visit websites of all the top competitors:
Most of the top companies in your industry are probably using ads to scale themselves. But they don’t rely on guesswork while launching these ads. They conduct a lot of research on their past ads and their competitors before launching the ad.
So, if a company is spending a lot on Instagram ads, you can be certain that they have done their research.
This is why before you launch your ad, you should conduct research on your top spending competitors to see what’s working for them.
Start by creating a spreadsheet with a list of your competitors. Then visit their websites one by one and check out a few pages on each website. For example, if you were running an electronics ecommerce store, Samsung would be one of the best sites to visit. As they spend over $2 billion on ads annually.
Insert image: conducting your ad research
Another good one is Amazon as they feature among the top spenders every year.
After that, visit Instagram to see the ads they retarget you with. Then take some screenshots and save the ads by clicking on the ‘save post’ option.
Insert image: save option on instagram
Also, make notes like if they used video or images, how long the videos were, what sort of copy they wrote, the landing pages they lead to, etc.
You can alternatively use a good Facebook ad spy tool to help with this.
Once you have seen a good number of ads you will have a better idea about what to create. If you want to get even more data, I recommend that you go ahead and buy some of the products or sign up to their email lists if it is a lead generation ad. This will help you learn more about the emails they send and the funnels they use.
Analyze your own ads and organic posts:
If you just copy the exact same tactics your competitors are using, your ads will fail. It’s because your audience could differ and they might prefer something else. This is why you should also research your own ads and organic posts to see what’s working.
So, get yourself a good analytics tool to first go through your organic posts to see which posts drove the most engagement, got the most reach, and the most clicks. You can also check your competitors’ organic posts.
Then go through your ads manager to see which ads performed the best. The metrics you look at should include clicks, impressions, CPA (cost per acquisition), and ROAS (return on ad spend).
You should also take a look at landing page metrics such as conversion rate while doing this.
You can either do this manually or you can use a good Facebook ad analytics tool that can find this data.
This will give you more details on what’s already working. After that, you can use the data from your own ads and landing pages along with the ones from your top performing competitors to come up with a strategy that works.
Create the landing page:
When your aim is to drive more sales from your ads, the landing page is just as important as the ad. As the ad will drive the traffic, but it is up to the landing page to convert traffic to sales.
So, create a good landing page like this one from AllBirds.
Insert image: well optimized ecommerce landing page
It is a well optimized landing page with elements like social proof (in the form of reviews), photos, a video/gif, and other details such as free shipping & 30-day returns, prominent call to action button, etc. that can convince people to take action.
They were able to set up a customized landing page like this one as their site is built with Shopify.
Insert image: use a good ecommerce builder
It comes with a builder that makes it easy for anyone to build high converting ecommerce landing pages. They also offer a good hosting service that ensures your site loads quickly.
The above landing page for example loads in 1.5 seconds according to Pingdom.
Insert image: loading time of landing page
If your site loads in under 3 seconds it is good. But getting it to load under a second would be even better.
Insert image: loading time and conversion rate
An increase in loading time (even by a second) can decrease the conversion rate and revenue.
Insert image: loading time and revenue
Another option for you would be to create a lead magnet landing page with where you get people to sign up for your email list, then nurture them with autoresponders and then get them to buy. This will work better if you want to sell products that cost more than $100.
You can quickly set up landing pages like this with a tool like ClickFunnels. It makes it easy to create both the landing page and the rest of the funnel.
Create the images and videos:
The next thing you need to do is to create the media for the ads. The best option is to create videos as they can generate 7X more clicks. But I recommend that you create a few images and a few short videos.
This is because if you want to create highly successful ads and generate maximum revenue from them you need to test several versions.
When you create videos make sure you create really short ones as they tend to perform best. Short videos include less information so people have to visit the landing page to learn more.
Also, try to get the media in your ads to look similar to the landing pages.
This will boost conversion scent and improve your ads conversion rate. To improve conversion scent you can either go all the way and get the entire ad to look just like the landing page by using the same font, writing style, design elements, color schemes, etc. you use on the landing page or by just adding your logo.
The logo will add a bit of conversion scent. You can later work on an ad that resembles the landing page when you have more time.
Write the copy:
The copy is as important as the visuals. So, spend a good amount of time writing and editing it. It can be long, as a study from Mention found that captions between 1,001 and 2,000 characters get the most engagement.
Insert image: ideal caption length
But don’t include any unnecessary information. It should be to the point.
Also, make sure it is very easy to read. Instagram is full of distractions. People mainly go there to look at posts from their friends. If you write complicated copy that gets people to think too much and look up hard to understand words, you will lose their interest quickly.
So, simplify the writing on your ad to that of a 4th grader. If it is simpler more people will finish reading it and take action. To help simplify your writing, you can use a tool like Hemingway.
Just like with the images and the videos, create several versions of the copy. As you can test it out too.
Launch several $5 ads:
The next thing you need to do is launch several $5/day ads. You need to create many versions using all the images and videos you created.
Combine each version of the media with a different copy version you wrote. And don’t forget to experiment with other elements like placement settings, targeting, etc.
Insert image: facebook ad targeting
It’s best to create low budget ads like this one than to spend a lot of money on one ad and hope for the best.
Another benefit of running low budget ads like this is that the ads will gather some likes and comments. This will generate social proof and will help your ads attract more attention.
Also, when you launch the first ads you should only try retargeting. These could be people who signed up to your email list or people who recently visited your website.
Pick the best and scale budget:
Once you know which ads work best, you can pause the bad performing ones and scale the ones that work best.
But don’t stop there. Instead, create newer versions of the best performing ads and test them out too with $5/day budgets.
This can help you create ads that generate a higher ROAS.
When you begin scaling you can target lookalike audiences.
Try branded content ads:
Another tactic you might want to try on Instagram is branded content ads. When a user publishes a post on Instagram, they have the option to tag a business partner.
Insert image: brand partnership ads
This will show that the user is in a paid partnership with your brand and it will also give you the option to make the organic post into an ad.
You can take advantage of this feature and take some of your best performing ads from above and replicate them on influencers’ accounts.
An example is this partnership between bellywellyjelly and CalvinKlein.
Embed post: https://www.instagram.com/p/BblwD0_DFqN/
63% of people trust messages from influencers over what brands have to say about themselves, so this can help you generate a higher ROI than regular ads displayed on your account. It will combine the power of influencer marketing with ads.
This the step by step process you should follow while creating Instagram ads. Start by conducting extensive research to see what your competitors are doing. After that check your own ad account and see what’s working for you.
Then you can create the landing pages, the media, and copy for your ads. After that, you can launch the test versions of your ads. And finally, when you know what works you can scale the budget for the best performing ads and replicate the tactics with branded content ads.
Editor at Creatiwitt
Luke Stevens is the editor at Creatiwitt. He likes to write about marketing and design.