Best Practices for Your Instagram Ads – Now Available in AdStage

Posted by on Oct 22, 2015 in Advertising
Best Practices for Your Instagram Ads – Now Available in AdStage

Facebook recently enabled access to Instagram ads as a placement to all advertisers via Power Editor and the Facebook Ads API. As an Ads API partner, we are excited to offer Instagram ads as part of the AdStage platform.

adstage supports instagram ads

Today, we’ll walk you through a few pointers and best practices for your Instagram ads.

Traffic is Cheap (For Now), Start Testing

Since Instagram ads were only made available to all advertisers a few weeks ago, CPCs are lower than placements on Facebook, where the competition for News Feed impressions is much higher. For that reason, it’s a good time to test with smaller budgets to understand how the Instagram audience performs for your business. Because it’s part of Facebook Ads, you have access to all the same targeting, but are the users’ behavior and mindset the same on Instagram? When building out your campaigns, we recommend the following tips.

Segment Your Ad Sets

This may seem like a no-brainer, but in Power Editor, your ads will automatically be opted into Instagram by default if your campaign type is eligible. This could skew your data for your Facebook Ads or muddy up the reporting for your Instagram ad tests because all of the metrics will roll up into the overall ad set. By breaking out your Instagram ads into a new ad set, you may spend a little more time setting up your campaign, but you’ll be able to do the following:

  • Measure and report on Instagram performance
  • Optimize your bids and budgets on Instagram separately from your Facebook Ads
  • Upload and use creative assets that are more suited for the 1:1 ratio that Instagram users are used to

You may already be segmenting your placements by ad set so you can differentiate your desktop, mobile, and right rail bids and budgets, so it makes sense to treat the Instagram placement with the same meticulous setup.

Follow the Instagram Ad Creative Guidelines

If you’re already following Facebook’s ad guidelines, your images and videos will automatically be resized to render on Instagram. However, if you’re resizing assets specifically for Instagram distribution, there are some ad creative guidelines that Facebook recommends. Here are our favorites:

  • Recommended image size is at least 1080p by 1080p with a 1:1 ratio or 1.9:1 ratio for landscape images
  • Don’t be afraid to add text in your image but keep in mind that the 20% text in image rule still exists in order to get your ad approved
  • In the caption text, do not include URLs or links as they will not be clickable
  • While you can create a caption text of up to 300 characters, you may want to limit it to ~140 characters as some smaller screens will truncate the caption text (see example below)

truncated instagram ad

Lastly, while this is not part of the ad creation process, it’s important to verify your landing page renders well on a mobile device because Instagram ads are currently only shown on the mobile app today.

Measure and Report on Instagram

Reporting rolls up into your Facebook Ads Manager reporting. Segmenting your Instagram ads into separate ad sets is key for reporting as click and conversion behavior on this network could differ greatly from Facebook placements.

  • Tag your URLs with the appropriate tracking parameters to measure conversions
  • Compare the performance with your Facebook mobile ads as a benchmark
  • Use the Google Analytics time of day report and day of week report to better understand when yours ads are converting the most

Automate Your Optimization

When you see spikes or dips in performance, you should always optimize your bids, budgets, and ad serving times accordingly. In AdStage, you can create Automated Rules so your Instagram ads are automatically optimized based on performance. Automated Rules use simple If/Then logic so you can create specific performance thresholds to optimize your campaigns. Here are our favorites:

  • Daypart or schedule campaigns based on the top converting times of the day or week (based on your Google Analytics time of day or day of week report)
  • Pause ads if CTR is less than X%
  • Increase budgets if conversion rate is greater than X% (example below)

automated rules for instagram ads

Our recent #ppcpodcast guest, JD Prater, talked about his experience testing Instagram ads, noticing that they brought in ~1500 clicks, 97% of which were brand new unique visitors. Are you already testing Instagram ads? Tell us what kinds of results you’ve seen and what you recommend for better performing campaigns in the comments below!

Jana Fung

Jana is a Product Marketer at AdStage. She studied at San Francisco State University and the University of Bradford. After receiving her B.S. in marketing at the age of 19, she spent several years at various startups in the ad tech industry. With over 8 years of experience, Jana recently joins us from Twitter where she led sales marketing to support the growth of publisher inventory and ad spend on the mobile ad exchange product.

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