Although this isn’t ideal, Instagram has still been an impactful source of traffic and sales for many companies. In fact, Instagram was the most successful source of traffic in one of our case studies. All that traffic came from the same “link in bio.”
But here’s the really exciting part: You can include links to your website in your posts if you advertise on Instagram. In the example below, the “Shop Now” button takes readers directly to a product page.
Instagram is now partnering with Shopify to take things a step further and offering product tagging and a Shop tab directly inside the Instagram interface.
Shopping on Instagram provides a seamless customer checkout experience for anyone who discovers your products in their Instagram feed.
Add products to your Instagram posts and stories
Start tagging products in your posts and turning engagement into purchases with the shopping on Instagram sales channel.
With product tagging, ecommerce brands will have even more reason to start advertising on Instagram.
Introduction to how to advertise on Instagram
In the past, if you wanted to advertise on Instagram, you had use sponsored posts. This requires negotiating privately with Instagram influencers and asking them to promote your brand on their account. While this can be a very effective way to drive traffic and sales through Instagram advertising, it has limitations:
- Often expensive.
- Requires reaching out and negotiating.
- No accountability or recourse if they don’t deliver.
- Limited audience targeting.
Sponsored posts still have their place in Instagram advertising. Getting someone else to promote your product carries solid benefits. It provides social proof, adding a cool factor to your business, and people are more likely to buy something when someone they trust bought it first. Plus, while you don’t have a lot of control over the influencers audience, at least you don’t have to make any decisions about who to target.
Sponsored posts are still a great way to do influencer outreach, especially if you sell a product. And they’re not the only way to leverage influencers. In October 2017, Instagram launched paid partnerships in an effort to increase transparency for users and provide influencers and brands alike with more Instagram advertising opportunities. The feature, available to accounts with lots of followers and engagement, offers more insights and reporting than standard sponsored posts.
How Instagram advertising works
Since late 2015, anyone can now learn how to create Instagram ads through Facebook’s self-serve advertising platform. With it, you have total control over your ads, how they appear, and who sees them. And unlike sponsored posts and paid partnerships, your ads get posted directly from your own account. The advantages to this method of Instagram advertising include:
- Scalable pricing.
- Self-serve and instant.
- Robust reporting so you’re in control.
- Highly refined audience targeting.
What’s more, with Instagram’s move away from a chronological feed in favor of a curated feed, you never know how many of your followers will see your posts.
Types of Instagram ads
You can run five different types of Instagram ads:
- Photo Ads
- Video Ads
- Carousel Ads
- Slideshow Ads
- Stories Ads
1. Photo Ads
A Photo Ad is one simple photo in landscape or square format. These are the simplest in terms of visual asset needs, since you just need a single image. Here’s an example of a Photo Ad from outdoor ecommerce brand Fimbulvetr Snowshoes, which takes users to the product page of the snowshoe featured in the ad creative.
2. Video Ads
Instagram used to have a 15-second limit for videos, but it has since lifted that rule. Now, videos can be up to 60 seconds long and shot in landscape or square format. Dollar Shave Club uses the Video Ad format in its Instagram advertising to promote a new membership deal, highlighting the various products included in the deal.
3. Carousel Ads
An Instagram Carousel Ad can have anywhere from two to ten images and/or videos that users can view by swiping through. West Elm uses Carousel Ads to highlight their range of products for their Instagram advertising campaigns.
4. Slideshow Ads
Slideshow Ads are similar to video ads in that they appear as a video in users’ feeds. These ads, however, are made up of a series of still images which play as a video, much like a slideshow. You can add text and audio to your Slideshow Ads.
5. Stories Ads
Instagram Stories Ads is one of the newest kinds of ads available to businesses on the platform. Instagram Stories is similar to Snapchat in that it allows users, and brands, to share self-destructing photos and videos. Brands can also advertise on Instagram Stories with photo or video content.
The first Instagram ad is always the hardest. Once you’ve conquered your first one, it’ll be much easier the second time around.