The 5 Reasons Why Your Instagram Ads Are Not Working


Instagram is arguably the king of online mobile photo and video sharing. Recent numbers show an active monthly user base of over 400 million. The platform’s ad formats, Facebook- based targeting and dynamic buying options enable marketers to engage creative audiences across the globe.

In spite of data showing that engagement with Instagram is declining, there is still plenty of evidence that the platform offers one of a kind opportunities to reach out to a community that loves Instagram and continues to stick around. Is it any wonder that organic posts generate up to 3.5 billion likes on average each day?

In mid-2015, Facebook unveiled the Instagram ad API allowing advertisers to self-serve ads to engage users on the platform. Facebook also unveiled direct response ad units that allow advertisers to leverage Facebook targeting capabilities by carrying over the same call to action, copy, segment and ad creative from Facebook to Instagram.

While Facebook and Instagram ads do not look similar, capabilities such as Facebook-based targeting has helped marketers to jump over to Instagram without many of the worries that come with adopting a new platform.

If you have already tried your hand at Instagram and you are not receiving the best results on your ads, here are common reasons why it is not working out and what you can do to turn around your Instagram ad conversion rates:

You are too focused on conversions

advertisingThe problem with your Instagram ads is conversion, right? Well, perhaps your obsession with conversion could be the problem. Here’s the thing: Instagram is a different ball game altogether—the users are often young, discriminative and intolerant of anything that looks like it’s being forced down their throat. It could be that your obsession with conversions is distracting you from the lucid creativity that Instagram users demand. Look again to ensure that your ads do not look anything like banner ads with their flashy call to action and salesy copy. These are fine in the right places, but Instagram is not one of them.

Your ads are devoid of a story

A look at the best performing ads on Instagram will reveal a common trend: dynamic story telling. Do your ads feature generic, static pictures that do not tell an engaging, moving, unforgettable, outstanding story that users connect with? If not, it’s time to shift your creative gear, think about the kind of stories you want your brand to tell and infuse your ads with these narratives. The point here is to entertain and captivate your audience in a way that makes you unforgettable.

You’re overlooking user-generated content

Successful advertising on Instagram requires a 360-degree mindset shift. Unlike traditional “old-school” ads where it is all about you speaking about your product and brand, for Instagram (and most social platforms) it’s about allowing users to take center stage. The power of user-generated content comes from its ability to generate trust among other potential users of your product. When people see how others are experiencing your product in real life, they can easily imagine themselves using this product. Contrast this with branded promotion where you are the one convincing already irritated users to trust your product.

You are not leveraging influencer marketing

One of the perks of social advertising and Instagram in particular is that you do not always have to go at it alone—you can get influencers to boost your advertising efforts, increase brand visibility and boost awareness in more ways than you could on your own.

The Instagram influencer marketplace is affordable even for small brands. Marketers can easily find influential users who are relevant to their brand and work with them to reach and engage their community.

So, you need to have a broader view of your Instagram and strategy. Advertising your brand can take different formats including mentions by influencers, user generated contests led by influencers and good old content marketing in partnership with influencers.

You are not honoring the basics

reasons instagram ads not workingAre you going about Instagram all wrong from the get-go by flaunting these basic rules?

Creative– The winners on Instagram are those who create high quality pictures that bring out extraordinary aesthetics. Natural lighting helps to bring out color contrast and high quality, authentic ad creative.

Less is more– On Instagram, images are king. This means that too much text is distracting and will inevitably lead to users ignoring your content.

Subtle branding– Instagram ads should never be a platform for blatant branding and logo touting. Tell a story, capture organically captivating images and if you must flaunt a logo or a byline, do it ever so subtly and infrequently.

Video– Dynamism is key on Instagram and nothing could be more dynamic than a video. Instagram lets you post up to 5 60-second videos in one go, a great way to capture users’ shifting attention through looped storytelling. If you are not using video, you are certainly missing out.

 Instagram Marketing

So, what drives conversion on Instagram? The mostly millenial, fashion-focused, creative-obsessed user base is looking to be emotionally engaged, intellectually captivated and thoroughly entertained by the content that comes up in their news feed.

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