Innovation has been the core of the way we live and function, and also all the things we create. And these creations have undoubtedly impacted our lifestyles and how we do things today.
Innovation is a good thing because it truly makes things easier for us. Look at the internet, for example. The advent of the internet pretty much transformed the way we live and will continue to impact us in a significant way in the decades to come.
In the same way, communication has also changed. And here we’re not just talking about phone calls and text messages; we’re talking about brand communication. A brand communicating with its audience, in a bid to sell a product or service to them, is essentially what marketing is all about.
Marketing is crucial to the existence and productivity of a brand because, without its customers, a brand would have no goals to achieve. This is where we shift over to the main focus of this article: Marketing through digital media, Instagram in particular.
Digital media has revolutionized the way brands market themselves and their products today, and there are quite a few pros to this wave of change. Digital marketing is quicker, more effective, and cheaper.
So why wouldn’t brands grab onto such a great opportunity?
Making Ads On and For Instagram
Instagram is arguably the most used digital and social media platform on the planet today. Any and every brand is present on it, and millions of active users are being exposed to fresh content on a daily basis. It’s the absolute perfect opportunity for new and existing brands to make use of the various tools available on the platform to create stunning and effective adverts.
Types of Instagram Ads
1. Photo Ads
These are obviously the most common type of ads on Instagram since photo sharing is the most prominent feature of the platform. The photo sharing option was once only a means for Instagram account holders to share pictures of their choice with people that they had followed or connected with through Instagram. Today, of course, the scenario has changed, and people are using photos to promote products, services, brands, events, and much more.
Photo ads require content that is relevant to whatever is being promoted, creative captions that give the audience more information about the product/service, tags of the brand(s) and people involved, and the relevant hashtags so that the intended audience can find their way to the post faster.
Both brands and Influencers use photo ads quite generously, so their accounts are primarily filled with photo content that is being used to promote something.
2. Sponsored Ads
Sponsored ads are an option available to business accounts on Instagram, and allow the brand to promote their posts through paid ads. These ads appear on the target audience’s home feed, with a direct link to either a website, e-store or back to the profile of the brand. This allows the brand to directly sell their product/service to the TG and consequently increase reach and following.
Sponsored ads are also a great way to promote contests and giveaways (if any) that the brand wants to see increased participation in. Increasing engagement is also quite necessary, and sponsored ads help with directing the audience towards the business’ profile.
3. Mapped – Guided ads
This type of ads hasn’t been employed by too many brands, but BMW recently used it to give their audience a “customize your own car” option. This basically uses the tagging option to direct the audience from one page to another, based on the customization choice they opt for. The end result is a picture of the car they should go for based on their preferences, and from thereon they can contact BMW directly and take things forward.
It’s a pretty innovative way to use tags to direct the audience through a series of posts, whilst also keeping them interested and engaged. A mapped Ad would essentially work well for a product-based brand and also increase the click-rate they receive. Setting up a mapped Ad can be slightly tricky and also time taking, but it’s sure to grab the attention of people.
4. Story ads
Instagram stories are a hit feature on Instagram and nearly 80% of the active users on Instagram posts stories at least 2-3 times a week. There is also a major chunk of users who post stories on a regular basis, which mean there’s a lot of traffic being generated through stories. Hence, story ads are all about clever targeting and placement.
Story ads appear typically while a user is switching between the stories of two different accounts. These ads are backlinked with a “swipe up” option, which leads back either to the brand’s profile or to their website. This is a great way to redirect users to a brand’s page and content. Story ads appear only for a few seconds before the next story appears, and once gone they cannot be revisited. This is probably the only drawback of the option. However, most users are aware of this, so they’re more likely to “swipe up” if they’re curious enough.
5. Video Ads
Many brands today create video ads especially for digital media because the viewer rate is much higher than other mediums. Instagram typically allows 30-60 second videos to be posted, so brands alter their video content accordingly and either post full-fledged ads or teasers to the actual ad (which then takes them to another video platform like YouTube).
Video ads that are creative and captivating work really well because the receiving audience is in a large number, and views can triple in a matter of minutes if the promotion is done right.
6. IGTV ads
IGTV is a relatively new feature on Instagram that is being used by brands and influencers to post video content that isn’t promotional but wouldn’t necessarily count as an ad. For example, when Rihanna launched her beauty brand “Fenty Beauty”, she used IGTV extensively to post video content like tutorials and real user reviews of her products, and those videos are still available for viewers to watch anytime they want, similar to YouTube.
It worked pretty well for the brand, with more and more users requesting more of such videos. On IGTV, viewers can post videos even as long as 20 minutes, so this overcomes the restriction that video posting on Instagram feeds has.
7. Carousel ads
If posting just one photo or video isn’t effective enough, then carousel ads are a pretty effective alternative. These types of Instagram ads allow a user to swipe through 3-4 images promoting the same ad but keeping them engaged on the same post for a longer time. Carousel ads can also be sponsored ads if a multiple photo post is promoted.
Again, backlinking is possible and it’s great for brands that are trying to sell a new product or service. Instead of cluttering all the information on a single photo/video, brands can split up content and get more information out so that viewers can have a better idea.
Marketing on Instagram is not just a smart idea, it’s also a convenient one. There are many options for a brand to promote their content, and with so many active users, the day-to-day audience is a considerably large number. The way things are going, there’s a high probability of more ad-friendly features being introduced on the popular social media platform, as the number of businesses on it is also very likely to increase. Whether or not Instagram might turn out to become full-blown e-commerce is yet to be seen, but different types of Instagram ads are surely going to get more innovative in the times to come!