Over the course of the past six months, the number of businesses advertising on Instagram has doubled. The majority of this increase is attributable to smaller companies; they are joining the world’s largest brands in trying to capture the attention of Millennial customers. Forbes reports that by 2019, 2/3rds of US Millennials will be using Instagram.
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While this growth surge is definitely good news for Instagram’s bottom line (and that of Facebook, which owns the popular image sharing app), what does it mean for companies that have limited marketing resources? Is it worth the time, energy and effort to advertise on Instagram if everyone else is doing it?
We’re going to answer this question with a qualified yes. While there are many, many companies advertising on Instagram, not every company is doing a good job. Instagram’s audience in particular has proven to be able to brutally disregard anything that doesn’t tickle its fancy; if you’re going to use the platform to promote yourself, you’d better be ready to bring your A game.
What does that mean? It all starts with superior imagery. Instagram’s aesthetic requirements are high: choose only images that have strong composition, eye-catching colors, and some unique qualities to share with your audience. If a picture looks like anyone could have taken it, don’t bother. The images you share on Instagram need to look like the natural, organic expression of your brand.
Second, targeting is not optional. For Instagram campaigns to be successful, you want to be sure they’re seen by people who are decidedly in your desired market. This can be defined geographically, demographically, and by interest – all of the robust options available on the Facebook platform are yours to use on Instagram. The more well-defined and tightly targeted your campaign is, the greater results you’re likely to realize.
Make sure you’re clear about what you want to achieve with your Instagram advertising. Campaigns can do everything from raise brand visibility, encourage engagement, or even facilitate direct sales. Clearly articulating the goal of the campaign prior to creating and running it is a good best practice, and will help you assess how well Instagram advertising is working for you.
There are 500 million advertisers on Instagram, but they’re not all after your customer. Advertising is a lot like competing in a marathon: you have to run your own race. Concentrate on who your customer is and what material will make them happy. Assess your own results. Then will you be able to tell, with a high degree of confidence, if Instagram advertising is right for you.