With more than 400 million users (surpassing 304 million monthly active users on Twitter) that are sharing over 80 million photos and 3.5 billion likes per day, Instagram is undeniably a big and very influential community.
Around 53% of users follow their favorite brands on Instagram and around 44% of them use Instagram to research products. With 70% of users under 35 years of age, Instagram is the perfect platform for marketers that are looking to reach a young and growing audience through the universal language of images.
As of last September, Instagram has started rolling out Sponsored Ads and giving marketers a chance to drive a highly engaged audience to relevant product pages outside the Instagram environment. Sponsored Ads look like normal Instagram posts (photo or video) and the only difference is that they have a blue “sponsored” tag at the top right-hand corner and can be shown from an account you don’t already follow.
First research has shown that although this is a new digital advertising platform it has the potential to be very powerful because brands are interacting with their followers not from a product promotion perspective but a lifestyle promotion perspective.
Not sure how to get started? Successful Instagram ads need to have two important elements: inspiration and information.
Inspiration is what causes viewers to stop and look at your image while scrolling through the feed, while the information is what drives them to take action. When combined properly, these two elements create a powerful duo that seamlessly fit with the character of Instagram.
To create your own look, there are free design applications such as Content Creator, that allow you to use beautiful templates and design professionally looking ads from your iPhone and iPad in minutes.
Keep in mind these 7 tips when creating your next Instagram ad;
1. Think about composition
Always showcase people, objects and real-life situations that people can relate to.
In the beginning rely on the rule-of-thirds, which is one of the most basic composition guidelines based on a natural tendency of the human eye to be more strongly drawn toward certain parts of an image. The idea is to break the image into thirds, so that you end up with 9 parts and place the point of interest (person or object) along the lines or in the intersection.
If you have never tried this before, enable gridlines in your phone’s camera and you will be reminded to pay attention to the overall composition. Of course, this so-called rule is just a guideline that doesn’t need to be followed to a tee, so be creative and continue experimenting on your own.
2. Decide on a focal point
The attention of your viewers lasts only a few seconds, so you need to decide what you want people to remember from your ad. That’s why it’s better to avoid busy or complex images and instead use simple ones that are focused on one or two places where you want to direct their attention.
In the example below your eye immediately notices the watch or a box with the ring, as it was the intention of the photographer. In case you have more products that you want to advertise don’t place them all on one ad, but rather dedicate each ad to just one product.
If you have text to include try to position it in a way that compliments the main focal point of the photo. Keep the number of fonts limited to one or two max and use them consistently on all your posts.
3. Create an intimate perspective
For better engagement, use perspective that places viewers in the setting (photo). That will create a more intimate atmosphere and enable viewers to visualize how it would be to use the product or be at a location that is relevant to the overall brand experience.
Emphasize the photo with your messaging and make sure that the text is easy to read by contrasting the color of the font with the color of the background or using one of many Content Creator sticker templates that will provide a great background in case the picture is “busy” (has too many details).
4. Don’t be aggressive with your logo
With Instagram it’s all about nuances that need to be taken into consideration. It’s important that your brand never overshadows the content so don’t place your logo aggressively on the image.
Instead, use benefits of free design applications and try to incorporate it subtly in the photo so that it looks and feels natural. If using a logo is not an option, try focusing on some iconic brand element or the brand color that will tie the whole thing together.
5. Use the power of color and contrast
Sometimes, the only thing you need to do to get a user’s attention is to use bold colors or strong contrasts.
Take a look at these two L’Oreal ads. In the first example, a pink accent color is used to create interest and make details of the image pop, while in the second example a strong pink background attracts attention and contrasts with white letters making them easier to read.
In case the background color is too powerful make sure you pair it with strong sans serif font such as Bebas or Generic that will help you maintain the strong voice of the message against the brightness of the background.
6. Pay attention to consistency
Brand consistency on social media is important as it improves brand recall and enables viewers to notice and recognize your brand among the sea of other content. In terms of advertising, it is important that your organic and paid content have the same aesthetic and are difficult to tell apart.
That means that your filters, colors or compositions in regular or sponsored posts should look and feel as if they are coming from the same brand and are part of the same Instagram strategy.
In case you are developing a series of ads that share the same theme or concept, try to maintain consistency between them through similar composition of objects or position of the copy as it is shown in example below.
The Serif font used in all three ads is there to bring a feeling of reliability and sophistication that perfectly matches the brand. For more inspiration and selection of free serif fonts check out Content Creator and try fonts such as Gentium Basic, Libertinage, Cinzel and many more.
7. Go easy with text
Since Instagram is an image-based social network it is no wonder that images are the main focus of the ad while the copy is left for the caption.
However, if you want to stand out, emphasize some particular idea or call to action you need to place text directly on the image. Just remember to keep the message short, to the point and on max 20% of your image.
If your ads have different image composition try to keep the same font style but feel free to experiment with the position of the copy on the image to find the ones that best compliment each individual ad.
In the end make sure that your audience doesn’t lose interest because you are showing the same ad over and over again! Instead, use the advantage of free Content Creator app to create several different Instagram ads and change them frequently in order to keep your content new and engaging.
Tell us what do you think about Instagram ads? Are you or will you be using them in the future? Do you have some interesting tips and tricks to share with us? Let us know in comments below!
Guest Author: Aida Gadzo is a Social Media Strategist at contentcreatorapp.com. She helps small and medium businesses master the “what”, “why” and “how” of producing and delivering engaging digital and social media content that will activate audiences and drive sales.