On June 2nd Instagram announced plans to roll out ad campaigns to businesses of all types and sizes by the end of 2015. Until now, advertising on Instagram had been offered only to a few hand picked companies. Instagram ads are the result of the company working closely with these early advertisers and agencies to ensure this content felt “native to the platform”.
What lessons can you learn from the pioneers? And how can you incorporate these lessons into your Instagram Strategy?
The masterstroke of the successful ads depends on two factors, content quality and targeting accuracy. I’ll show you how to reach and measure for the content quality level to be successful. And tutorial included below on ad targeting capabilities on Facebook will help you achieve the accuracy.
What are the characteristics that make content native to the platform? The goal, Instagram said, is to make the ads
“enjoyable and creative in much the same way you see engaging, high-quality ads when you flip through your favourite magazine”.
Of course, you want to know the rules that Instagram set for promotional content to comply with their quality and creative standards. Instagram has not made a statement about it but Jim Squires, its director/market operations, shared with Business Insider a few of the rules that advertisers should follow.
The following ideas are based on that hinted rules and my clients experiences. To illustrate these points I asked the collaboration of Eduardo Boillos from Lucio y Romana, one of the most beautiful accounts for vintage furniture I know, check them @lucioyromana.
When planning your content there are two areas of focus: form and content
How do you ensure “the form” of your media fulfils Instagram standards?
• First and foremost: good photographic quality
“Your media has to be perfectly sharp, with a good resolution, appropriate focus, and good lighting. Discard dark or blurred images. Instagram editing controllers will help you improve them, but make sure the pictures were good enough. Utilize above all “lights” and “shadows” tools, and if necessary a dab of “sharpness” in case they are slightly unfocused.
The composition is also an important point you need to take care of. Try to balance the items inside the picture, unless you look for an imbalance on purpose, with artistic aims”.
• It is adapted to the platform: notice it is to be seen on a small screen.
“Do not flood the picture with many items, take into account that Instagram is usually seen through small screens, and very small details are not likely to be noticeable. Plain or barely confusing backgrounds will help you”.
• It does not use filters heavily.
• It does not contain logos or text.
Make your media recognizable of your brand by being consistent with your colors, filters, etc. Learn how to create consistency on Instagram.
• It has to be original content. It can’t be repurposed from other ads.
“You can afford (and actually you must) to be artistic. Create on Instagram whatever you are unable to create on your webpage, and do not turn your account into a boring catalogue”.
• Shoot for quality.
You should always take into consideration the perspective and the point of view: place yourself in front of the item at a correct height to avoid awkwardness, and run away from complex perspectives that are not pleasing to the eye. Clean lines are always a good choice.
Usually take a look at your gallery on Instagram, visit and observe your profile as it was not yours. What impression does it give you? Try to create some coherence in your feed, continuity, and do not overload it. Above all try to make it beautiful as a whole and also when one is scrolling down.
Once you are sure about the form, how do you ensure your content is worth promoting?
Being creative is the key here. I explained how can you develop your creativity while being true to your brand and your business goals. By now, think what do you want to inspire in your followers, what do you want them to feel? It is storytelling.
• Content that makes us dream. It captures moments, no products
“Do not only include pictures of your products, even if they are artistic. Instagram is meant to create a universe, your brand’s universe, and that implies to get out of your products in order to show things related to your brand, even to your backstage. All of this helps develop your own personality, and define what you want to transmit”.
• Images must be “true to your brand” — and not be cheesy or shocking.
• No gimmicks either.
Aiming for this quality will ensure that later, when paid ads are available to any brand, your content is worth allocating some money to get promoted. It will help in your brand consistency and to retain the new followers and clients you get from the ads.
Thank you Eduardo for helping me illustrate this post. Eduardo Boillos is the alma matter of Lucio y Romana, besides his activity as fashion & lifestyle journalist for GQ Spain and profesional photographer.