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Avoidable Instagram Ad Mistakes Made by E-commerce Stores

By December 4, 2017 No Comments

Instagram has become the go-to place for e-commerce stores to promote their brand and products. A recent ABC News report found that many of its members use the platform as a personal shopping mall to seek new products. This year Instagram launched several new ad features such as the new Shopping Ad placement, which is specifically designed to help e-commerce stores sell more products, and its own Instagram Business Manager that helps brands understand how their content is performing. While Instagram and e-commerce go together like strawberries and cream, many businesses are making easily avoidable Instagram e-commerce mistakes, which I’ve talked about below.

Don’t run Instagram ads like you run Facebook ads

It’s very easy to tick the Instagram placement when running e-commerce ads on Facebook, thinking that the same images and targeting on Facebook will also work on Instagram. They won’t. The psychology behind the Instagram newsfeed is very different from Facebook. Let me give you an example. Here’s a typical Facebook advert:

The advert leads with a text headline followed by an image, whereas an Instagram advert leads with an image or video followed by text:

On Facebook, you can afford to have a weaker image creative as long as your text headline is compelling. Instagram is the exact opposite: your image creative MUST blow everything on the newsfeed out the water, while the text under the image doesn’t matter nearly as much. I purposely selected an Intel Instagram ad to convey this point. Intel is a very much professional and authoritative brand in the IT world, yet they go with a wacky and rather odd-looking image. Why? Because they know that’s what it takes to grab engagement on Instagram. Don’t fall into the trap that many Instagram e-commerce brands make by simply showing your products alone – it’s not inspiring and it won’t grab your audience’s attention. So, what should you show them? That’s revealed in my next tip.

Make sponsored content appear organic

People log in to Facebook to see what their friends and family are up to. People log in to Instagram to see inspiring images of food, travel, fitness, fashion, or [insert interest here]. Instagram is a story-telling platform and your Instagram e-commerce marketing must adhere to that golden rule. Your ads can’t look like ads; they need to appear organic. Let me give you another example. Look at the two photos below and ask yourself who posted these photos and what is happening:

The photo on the left is a happy couple on vacation. The woman on the right is showing off her new handbag. Right? Wrong. They are both sponsored ads from major brands:

Instagram e-commerce marketing is all about grabbing user attention. You’re much more likely to do that using organic-looking images than direct product ads like this:

When running Instagram e-commerce ads to cold audiences, never run direct product ads like above. They will fail to get prospects’ attention. They should only be served to warm audiences and customers. If you do want to run product ads, use Shopping ads.

Instagram Shopping ads

Instagram Shopping ads are essentially a mini catalog that you can create and serve on the newsfeed. This new placement allows you to upload a single picture and tag several of your products. The user can then view your tags. If they click on a specific product within your image, they are directed to a slide showing the product, price, and description, all within Instagram. Here’s an example of it in action:

What Marketers Should Know About Instagram’s Shoppable Photo Tags

Since the slides are hosted on Instagram, they load ten times faster than any page on your website, and since the user hasn’t left Instagram to visit your website, the cost per engagement is much cheaper than using a conversion objective or website clicks. Consumers are much more likely to engage with Shopping ads as they know they aren’t going to be directed off Instagram and load times are faster. This is a big deal considering Instagram is mobile and many will be browsing on a 3G/4G connection.

Think about your demographics when running ads

59% of Instagram users are aged between 18 and 29, with 38% of total users earning under $30,000 per year.

If you’re taking your Instagram e-commerce marketing seriously and are spending five figures per month or more, then to scale winning campaigns you’ll need to target people within the 18-29 age bracket. It’s within this age bracket that most of the 38% of people earning under $30,000 will be located. What to do? Each industry is different, but I would advise running low-ticket products to audiences below the age of 27 on Instagram to maximize your conversions. Chances are a lot of users under the age of 27 are studying or just starting out their career, so buying a $950 watch or $400 dress may not be an option, whereas a $70 watch or $50 dress can be bought on impulse. When running your Instagram e-commerce ads, are you thinking about income levels for various audiences?

What does your Instagram e-commerce marketing strategy look like?

Instagram for e-commerce is a growing space that is only going to get bigger in the next few years. As Instagram keeps on increasing their number of monthly active users, it will only attract more potential customers for your brand.

What does your Instagram e-commerce marketing strategy look like? Are you making any of the mistakes listed above? Or worse yet, are you not even using Instagram? If so, you can contact us today for a free consultation on how you can market on Instagram to scale your business.