September 27, 2021

Instagram Ads Best Practices: The New Way to Advertise

Instagram Ads, IGTV

Instagram Take Over

If you’ve been on the internet in recent years, you know that Instagram has swept the world by storm. Already surpassing the popularity of TikTok, Twitter, and Snapchat, Instagram continues to grow. While time spent on Facebook is higher by a few minutes than Instagram, Instagram still commands control of popularity, especially among the youth.

In recent years, they’ve expanded their offerings and users can now also watch and post videos up to an hour long. After conquering the followers and users of the aforementioned three social networks, Instagram looked for the next big thing, and what was that? Taking on the giant that is YouTube.

What’s New with Instagram

The popular photo-sharing social media app falls under the umbrella of Facebook. As we have seen with Facebook, which is now 14 years old, social media has had to make a lot of sweeping changes over the years to keep up with the attention of the millennial generation. Facebook transformed from a site of mostly writing short status updates to photo and video sharing, to live streaming videos and, finally, to a strong business marketing tool with a substantial advertising market. It only made sense that Instagram would get on board and not only share photos, but videos, stories, live streaming and ads as well.

You may be thinking, if Instagram is gaining more and more momentum, isn’t that bad for Instagram’s parent company – Facebook?

In reality, not so much. Both platforms are still being used frequently and have a combined monthly active user base of over 3 billion. And while Instagram takes center stage for stories and scrolling through photos, Facebook itself can still help users share information, photos, media, advertisements and more.

Instagram Stories

Not only can you share pictures on Instagram, but you can also update stories much like on Snapchat. You can write out text for the story and add captions, which reflect features we see on Twitter and Facebook. You can also like and comment like any good social media site. Instagram Stories has become really interesting for business profiles, as users have been increasingly engaging with brands via this new feature.

While some say that other social media networks are already out-of-date and “old school”, Instagram has done its best to keep up with the young generation. The sheer volume of Instagram users has dramatically increased. The social media app also continues to serve a wide range of demographics, which contributes to its overall app strength.

IGTV – Instagram TV

This particular generation grew up in the age of technology and is accustomed to viewing rather than reading. Dubbed the “YouTube generation”, it’s no wonder that Instagram found a need to expand the platform to video sharing. In the past, video sharing was limited to mere minutes (stories to only seconds), but now, through IGTV, users can stream videos lasting up to sixty minutes. That’s a lot of viewing time, considering the fact that the average person in the U.S. spends 72 minutes consuming video content daily, with almost half of that on mobile alone!

average daily video consumption_statista

Instagram currently comes in second to YouTube in popularity among teens today. And as teens are the ones using social media the most, that’s the major population demographic that Instagram is catering itself toward – hence the new edition of longer videos to appease our video-watching audience. Instagram has unveiled IGTV to rival YouTube features, and to keep itself relevant.

IGTV videos are vertically formatted to fit smartphone screens. As most users access Instagram from their phones, this new adaptation is great for comfort viewing.

So, as a business, what does this mean for you? New opportunities to promote and advertise to an entirely different generation.

Why Are Video Ads Important Today?

So why bother advertising on Instagram anyway? As millions of users are constantly opening and spending much of their time on Instagram daily, the app has become a prime platform for advertising and reaching a wide variety of people.

Video ads in particular should take the focus of any social media marketing plan. It’s been proven that social users love video content and are therefore more likely to engage with video ads than image ads. At yellowHEAD, over 90% of our ad inventory on social is videos.

Previously, Instagram ads were restricted to a single picture displayed on the feed. Users could click on a link in the caption. As Instagram advanced, multiple photos could be added for one ad. Instagram video ads then started to gain traction, and later, as stories became available, ads could also display ten second stories. By rolling out the new IGTV, there is the opportunity that, in the future, ads could potentially preview before the longer videos. The ads might then be able to run for a longer amount of time than they currently do.

Why is that important to you? Because you and your business would also like to stay relevant to the community at large. By adopting IGTV as a new marketing channel, even before ads roll out, brands can grow their community and increase engagement with their users by telling a longer story in a creative way.

Different Types of Instagram Ads

Instagram offers a wide range of advertising options. Nowadays, it is almost impossible to function in society without a smartphone, and most everyone has at least one social media app installed. YouTube has been projecting ads before its videos for years, as has Vimeo. Facebook, Twitter and even Snapchat have jumped into the advertising game as well.

Picture Ads

Instagram’s ads were casually dropped into the newsfeed a couple years back. Sometimes it is even hard for users to clearly see whether a picture is an ad or just a site they already follow. Only the small “Sponsored” note at the top right corner alerts the user that this is actually a marketing technique.

This is good for your business because users will typically click out of advertisements the moment they show up. However, with this technique, the photo seems like just another pic in the newsfeed, and can seem interesting, leading the user to further investigate the site or the product being displayed.

Instagram displays specific ads to each person, uniquely gathering information based on who and what the person follows and likes. This means that your marketing efforts have already been filtered to advertise to the right segment. Of course, ads can still go out to people who have not necessarily been deemed interested in the subject, but generally, they will be geared toward the people most interested in reading about or purchasing from you. This applies to all types of Instagram ads.

Carousel Ads

When Instagram unveiled the option to upload multiple photos at one time and the ability to swipe through them, this sent excitement coursing through the community. Users did not have to debate which photo was better to upload or who to leave out of important life updates by selecting a photo that did not include everyone. But now they can upload as many as ten photos to a single post! This is good news, not just for when you cannot decide which pictures from Fourth of July are a must, but also for your business advertising.

You can now upload ten pictures of different products, places, tickets, or gadgets to one advertisement. If your business is multi-faceted, this is especially good for you, as you can show off as many sides and operations in one simple post. For example, a resort site can post a picture of the hotel, the hotel room, the spa, sauna, dining room, meeting rooms, the beach, ocean and other scenic pictures. Guests will get a feel of the entire resort just from swiping through the photos.

Video Ads

But that isn’t all – there are also Instagram videos, stories and IGTV. Instagram videos can also be uploaded to a single post. You can post a standalone video or several videos in one post, or you can even post some photos and videos together. Create the perfect caption to draw even more attention to your ad. This widens the variety of information displayed to your consumers.

Instagram Stories Ads

You can also post in stories. These ten-second videos are displayed at the very top of a user’s screen. They can click to open a story and view whatever is being shared. This can be in photo, text, or video form and stays on the storyline for up to 24 hours. You can place your advertisement here directly from your business account’s Instagram page.

IGTV Video Ads?

The newest installation to Instagram comes with the reveal of the IGTV, and many are already wondering if this upgrade will become yet another placement for advertisement. Users now have the option to upload videos of up to an hour in length, so that gives hope that IGTV can be adapted to adding a short ad before the video plays, like the rival, YouTube has adapted to doing. This generation is not only technology-friendly, but is also particularly fascinated with streaming videos, movies and TV shows. Rather than read instructions or a story, they are more apt to watch a how-to video or a short film. You’ll be grabbing their attention in one of the only places they give virtually all of their attention.

While most spend roughly between 24 to 32 minutes on Instagram right now, that time is expected to jump with the introduction of the IGTV. Before, users would quickly swipe through photos, double-tapping to “like” a photo once or twice while scrolling through their feed, or else tapping open Instagram stories to see a temporary photo or short video. Altogether, this process does not take much time, and even users who open the app dozens of times a day do not actually sit there staring at what is happening because only so much new information can be presented by accounts they’re following.

Now, with IGTV, we suspect that users will be glued to the screen for longer periods of times. Hoping to become as popular as Google’s YouTube, IGTV will stream videos specifically selected for each user. The user can still search to view any video that they find interesting, but will be presented with options immediately for whatever seems to peak their interests. For example, a person who follows the entire cast of Grey’s Anatomy or searches for information about the show will open their IGTV to find videos about Grey’s Anatomy or similar content. If and when IGTV expands to include ads, targeting users based on the video content that interests them (as is currently done in Instagram ads) could become a great opportunity to increase and engage with your audience.

Ready to Advertise on Instagram?

Instagram advertisement is smart for businesses as well as consumers. With the rise of online and especially social media prevalence in the world, the best way to connect the consumer directly with the market is by bringing products to the consumer on one of the most widely and commonly used platforms. Contact us for more information and assistance from our Social Acquisition team at yellowHEAD.

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