If there’s a social media platform that epitomizes the age-old saying—“A picture is worth a thousand words”—it’s none other than Instagram.  From business and marketing standpoints, Instagram allows brands to connect, interact, and engage with their audiences in more ways than one. This is important in today’s digital era when being visually engaging is no longer an option, but a necessity. In fact, unlike the yesteryears, a brand’s aesthetic no longer starts and ends with just a logo and some assorted advertising imagery. Instagram provides companies excellent opportunities to weave compelling visual narratives around their brands.

Instagram as an Ad Platform - In terms of direct advertising, Instagram had initially limited the access to a select number of brands and it wasn’t until late last year that it rolled out its advertising solutions for businesses worldwide.   With pushing ads on Instagram becoming easier than ever before, you can bet more brands and businesses are taking to the platform to put themselves before Instagram’s enormous 400 million-strong community. Make sure your brand isn't left out in the cold. But, before you join the bandwagon, make sure you understand why Instagram advertising is witnessing a steady surge.

Increasing Number of Active Users - As we know, Instagram currently boasts of more than 400 million users with nearly half of them using the site daily. Being able to tap into such an enormous audience alone is one reason to increase ad spending on this platform. Plus, Instagram (after its parent company, Facebook) is the second most-popular social networking site where a majority of U.S. smartphone users spend their time. This is another reason why brands are incorporating Instagram into their ad strategy to connect with their mobile audience.  

Millennials Love Instagram - A Pew Research Center study revealed that 56% of online adults aged 18-29 use Instagram. According to statistics shared by Statista, American Millennials spend an average of 7 hours per month on Instagram. Clearly, brands targeting this audience effectively stand to capture huge benefits from advertising on Instagram.

Greater Ad Recall - According to recent data, ad recall among audience from adverts on Instagram is 2.8 times higher than other forms of online advertising, meaning ads posted on Instagram stick to the audience’s mind for a longer period of time.

Some Tips to Benefit from Instagram Advertising - For those who have just dipped their toes into social media and are still struggling to grasp the value of social for their business, the relevance of photo sharing sites like Instagram or Pinterest may not be immediately apparent. But, Instagram is much more than just a photo-sharing platform. It allows brands to tell their story in a visually-stimulating way that people would find interesting. Here are some tips that will help you get started with Instagram ads.

Know the basics - While certain technical aspects of Instagram ads may be old hat for marketers familiar with Facebook ads, make sure you learn about the full range of ad formats Instagram is offering including image, carousel, video and marquee.

Post top-notch visual content - Many marketers make the mistake of not posting enough. Instagram users with 500,000+ followers are known to post up to ten times daily - and, most importantly, they are posting amazing content that is compelling and relevant.

Blend in – Modern consumers' aversion to ads is well known. If users find a post in the feed that looks even remotely like an ad, it’s likely they’ll scroll right past it. This is why you should make sure your ads don’t look like ads, and rather blend seamlessly with other organic posts.

Post video ads – Instagram’s video ads allows you to capture a user’s attention for up to 30 seconds (2x more than the previous limit of 15 seconds), making way for richer engagement.

Leveraging an ad platform as powerful as Instagram can definitely help you outmaneuver your competitors but the key lies in doing it right. While the tips we’ve shared above will help to get you started, watch out for new tactics and best practices that will emerge an evolve as adoption of Instagram ads increases.    

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