How to Effectively Advertise on Instagram

You’re probably starting the notice the stream of sponsored ads popping up on your Instagram home feed.  The company recently opened up the floodgates allowing advertisers to run campaigns in the form of video, app install ads and link posts.  With over 400 million users, surpassing the 300 million users on Twitter, it’s no wonder companies want to vie for your attention.  Instagram ads were initially only available to large companies, until recently when the ability to run ads was opened up to companies of all shapes and sizes.

Instagram fills your newsfeed with ads that it claims are relevant to you, based on your interests.  According the Instagram I’m in the market for a new house, shop at Abercrombie and Fitch (I’m a little too old to be shopping there) and discounted headphones.  Sorry Instagram, try again!

As I scroll through my feed, there are ads I don’t blink twice at, and then there are others that stick out like a sore thumb.  What is the key to a successful Instagram ad campaign?  Ads must embody the high-def appeal of Instagram.  If it looks too much like an ad from a magazine, then it doesn’t belong on Instagram.

Here’s an example of a well-executed sponsored ad that showed up on my account.  It looks like an image that would naturally appear on my feed from one of my friends.  Organic imagery, as seen below, resonates well with an audience.


Instagram Ad

On the other hand, this image below is confusing, does not have any esthetic appeal and it clearly looks like an ad.

Instagram ad

As companies take to Instagram to solicit your attention, Instagram has a responsibility to ensure three things when it comes to ads:

  1. It must set a high bar in terms of the aesthetic and creativity of content
  2. Ads must be as relevant and organic as the content people are used to seeing
  3. It shouldn’t get too carried away to the point where ads overwhelm or annoy users
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