Episode 20: Scaling Instagram Ads
Scaling Instagram ads is a little different from growing Facebook ad campaigns. Understanding the nuances of Instagram will help improve your campaigns.
00:01 Stewart Anderson: Welcome back to the Spend $10k a Day podcast. I am Stewart Anderson. With me as always is my buddy, Steve Weiss. Today we are talking about scaling Instagram ads. What you can do, or what you should be doing, really, if you're trying to spend a lot of money on Instagram.
00:17 Steve Weiss: Yeah, so about a year and a... Say, a year and a half ago, Facebook released Instagram as a placement that you can actually use to generate, lead sales conversions. I feel like a lot of direct response marketers have tested Instagram, but they actually haven't made it work. They haven't put the time and the effort to making Instagram work by itself. Instagram is great because it actually captures a demographic of users that aren't on Facebook. So the demographic of the under-30 demographic is literally all over Instagram. They're so much more engaged, they're so much more sticky, and they're just so much more intellectually into Instagram, more so than all the local population of how people engage with Facebook.
01:07 SW: So with that said, I like to use Instagram, number one top-of-funnel. There's no better place to capture users on Instagram who show engagement inside of Instagram. We did a podcast, I think last podcast, actually, was about video completion. And one of our tactics is we actually run video ads on top of Instagram then re-market to all the users who watch a large swap of our videos on Facebook. So you could actually take users who've engaged with you on Instagram and then actually re-market them down-funnel on Facebook, which is really interesting. Because remember, people are so much more engaged on Instagram than they are on Facebook.
01:46 SA: Yeah, absolutely. I think... We started talking about it a little bit there, but the key thing when you're talking about spending at scale on Instagram is as you said, paying attention to the platform and really creating content specifically for Instagram, not just using it as another placement and using the same stuff that you're using on Facebook. You really wanna have something that is custom and tailor-made to Instagram and the audience on Instagram.
02:11 SW: Yup. So obviously, number one, cross-channel. We call it top-of-funnel cross-channel. How to leverage Instagram. Number two, let's talk about Instagram creative. I always say that when you do have ad creative specifically for Instagram, it has to kind of mirror the images that you're already uploading to Instagram, 'cause it has to look native to Instagram. The advertisers that do Instagram really well are advertisers who have CTA buttons that are built into images that look native inside of Instagram. That's why it's important to really hone in on your user base on Instagram, figure out which images organically they're liking and commenting, and then start building creative very similarly to what's already getting high engagement already, if that makes sense.
02:56 SA: Yeah, absolutely. I think for me, what I like about advertising on Instagram a lot is, one, there's the additional scale. But it's also... It's just it allows you to get really creative with stuff. It's different from Facebook. It's extremely visual and there's so many good things that you can do. Images, video, whatever. Let's talk a little bit more about... I'd love to learn a little bit more about some of the other things we can do with video on Instagram.
03:25 SW: So video on Instagram gets a whole ton more engagement than on Facebook. It's probably the number one thing that... The number one ad spec right now on Instagram, because people love clicking on stuff and reading more. They're just so engaged in the platform now, with Instagram stories coming out, with so many different ways people can create video without ever leaving Instagram, it's like an advertiser's wet dream. Is being able to literally integrate their ad message into an engaging video that flows right directly onto the Instagram news feed. So it's really important. I see a lot of advertisers who try and look at Instagram as, "Oh, just another placement on Facebook." Well it's a lot different. You're not going to get any success if you don't go creative specifically for Instagram. I keep reiterating that to everyone we work with, is that we really need to start focusing more on building creative directly for Instagram.
04:21 SA: Yeah, and you know the thing that I've noticed with some advertisers that I talk to is, even if they're just like, "Yeah, we need to think about Instagram... " Some people even forget that Instagram... Yeah, there's a web interface for Instagram, but when you run any Instagram ad. It's almost 100% mobile audience for that ad. You need to be thinking about not just like, "Hey, what is the type of person that uses Instagram and how am I targeting them", but "What content am I creating for them when they're on their phones". That's a really important thing, that's why top-of-funnel is really super applicable to Instagram.
04:55 SW: Not only that, when you're a direct response to advertisers, it's also important to understand that people make quick, seamless actions. You can't expect someone to go through a funnel or that's six, seven, eight, nine steps. You can't expect someone to buy a $300, $400, $500 product or high-priced item from a one impression Instagram ad. You could arbitrage little pieces of intent from an Instagram ad, then capitalize on that user down the funnel. And I think that's kind of the strategy that we've been playing close to our vest is really building creative for Instagram, running video ads on Instagram, then re-marketing to users down funnel. And having really unique creative just for Instagram. We also use another tool... We also do a lot of dynamic product ads on Instagram, which number three, I think is really important. And there's a really cool tool that we periodically use for e-commerce sites. It's an amazing tool that allows you to actually pull Instagram images from your Instagram feed and turn them into dynamic product ads. It's called Snapppt it's actually a plugin for Shopify. And, usually I don't call out other products... This isn't a very advertising focused podcast. But, this tool is amazing. It allows advertisers to make their dynamic product ads look very native.
06:17 SA: And, it also just solves one of the big problems a lot of advertisers have with product catalogues, DPA. I mean, DPA's great. One of the things that you hear a lot, is like, "Awe man, it's just a headache trying to coordinate having all the right images associated with the feed". This gives you some more granular control so you can fix... Some of the images might be crappy, you can fix those. Or at the very least, and this is the big thing here, is you can take really, really... Images that are already built for Instagram and built for people to consume in a social media environment, and you have those plugged directly into your pod feed. It's huge.
06:55 SW: Yeah, and I think it's... A lot of people are looking at Instagram as both a top-of-funnel and then some people, like with DPA, you could run that as a bottom-of-funnel metric as well.
07:03 SA: Definitely.
07:04 SW: And to really understand the impact... Everyone always asks me, "Steve, what impact does Instagram have on the buying cycle?" And you can just tell that when you're showing your DPA ads to people on Instagram, you see a lot of view through conversions coming from Instagram, which is really interesting. If you ever split off your campaigns from Instag... A lot of people have what they call optimize for conversions across all their placements. Well, if you ever wanna just try out just optimize for conversions just on Instagram and build an ad set around that, you'll see that Instagram has a huge impact from a view through perspective on newer audiences, not just your re-marketing buckets. Which I always find fascinating. I always love to figure out how to how to measure the impact of an Instagram ad lower funnel.
07:55 SA: Yeah. Absolutely. Well, I think there's such a tremendous opportunity with Instagram and I mean, something to remember as well, is Instagram doesn't even have feature parity with Facebook yet. There's still a lot of tools that are yet to come to Instagram so it's only going to get better and better. And I think there's things like lead ads that are coming to Instagram and other features that are on Facebook right now that aren't on Instagram. I'm really excited to see all the features from Facebook they're going to bring to Instagram. In 2017.
08:23 SW: Yeah, just like usability too. I'm sure there's going to be some ads coming very soon to stories. I'm always fascinated with how Facebook is planning to monetize all these areas of user generated content, and how they roll that out there because I think that there is a huge area for the advertiser to build very native looking content which won't interfere with the user experience.
08:46 SA: Absolutely.
08:48 SW: So just to reiterate, number one, how we leverage Instagram ads for direct response advertisers, number one. You know, cross-channel, top-of-funnel... Building audiences on Instagram on a different ad set, targeting them and re-marketing them down funnel on Facebook. Number two, ad creative, making your Instagram ad look as native as possible toward your current images on Instagram. And then to reiterate that, number three, creating your dynamic product ads and using a tool like Snapppt to pull images from your current Instagram feed and turn them into DPA ads.
09:30 SA: Awesome. Well, I think we hit a lot of great opportunities that people can use to start scaling out their spend on Instagram, really getting some great results.
09:39 SW: Yeah, I think there's a huge opportunity right now because a lot of advertisers aren't taking advantage of it the way they should. And, I encourage everyone who listens to this podcast, take some of our advice, do some testing, start looking at Instagram as different than Facebook and, let's make some money.
09:58 SA: Sounds good. Thanks for joining us on this episode of the Spend $10k a Day podcast. Joining me today was Steve Weiss. As always, I am Stewart Anderson, and we will see you next time.