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Instagram Marketing: Aligning Audience & Placement

This post comes courtesy of Michael Bird, CEO of Social Garden.

More than 40% of shoppers say they prefer not only shopping online, but using their mobile for everything from browsing to buying. With so many businesses failing to keep up with mobile-first social media advertising (think slow load times, long-form copy and poor optimization) those who do make the effort are reaping the rewards.

The Instagram Opportunity

So a focus on mobile-first experience can clearly boost your brand and convert to sales. But which platform should you focus your efforts on?

Here’s another statistic that might seal the deal: more than half of mobile brand experiences are image or video based. As a visual-centric platform, Instagram marketing is a no brainer for marketers looking to invest in mobile social media advertising.

Your audience is there. They’re primed to buy. And, they’ll leave with a firm understanding of who you are as a brand. Instagram has all the ingredients for a marketer’s dream platform.

Mobile-First Marketing  

Before we go through Instagram marketing tips for businesses, let’s dig a little deeper into the why of mobile marketing. Why do users prefer it, and how can we use this insight to better their experience and place our brand ahead of the competition?

Mobile-first marketing needs to deliver a seamless end-user experience. Two key factors for success are time and personalization.


Because mobile users are quite literally on the go, time is money. In fact, a delay in load time of just one second can impact conversions by 7%.

But it’s not only load time. We can harness this insight to create shorter headlines and punchier CTAs to catch users’ attention and elevate your social media advertising.

People process visuals in a fraction of the time that it takes to read even a couple of words, hence why we’re seeing marketers lean towards image- and video-based strategies.


 The power of personalization—hitting the right people with the right message at the right time—can’t be underestimated in any platform, and mobile is no different.

You have the data, but are you using it to its full potential? Targeted advertising lets you do just that.

Ask yourself questions like: how will you speak to your first-time browsers, compared to your long-time loyal shoppers? Will you offer a percentage off a first order, a invitation to chat further, a refer-a-friend code? Etc.

Test, measure, tweak, and test again. And always be asking yourself how you can refine and personalize each piece of marketing. These understandings are the basis for your Instagram marketing.

Elements of a Successful Instagram Marketing Campaign

Now that we understand why, let’s look at what goes into a successful Instagram marketing campaign.

Instagram Ad Formats

Instagram offers five key ad formats: photo, video, carousel, story, and collection. Each has targeted advertising capabilities.

Photo ads are simple, but don’t let that fool you. If done well, they can seamlessly slot into users’ feeds, with nothing but a discrete ‘sponsored’ tag to distinguish paid and organic content.

Video ads are similar, but offer the scroll-stopping benefit of movement. Thanks to a fairly recent update, videos can be up to 60 seconds long.

Have a line of products or more than one to show off? A carousel ad may be for you, effectively giving you several photo (or video) ads in one, perfect for highlighting a series of products or features.

If video ads look a little staged for your liking, then you might want to consider sponsored stories. Not only do you get the more authentic feel, but you also get the full screen to play with. I’ve seen the rise of UGC content firsthand and the opportunity for impact has never been greater.

Finally, collections allow your users to browse a specific collection without leaving the app. It’s a clean click-through to purchase or view more, and an excellent way to direct traffic to products based on interest.

Instagram Targeting

Here’s where personalization comes into play. Once you’ve decided on your ad format, you can start delving into your audience through Instagram’s targeted advertising capabilities.

You can refine your audience based on location, behaviors, demographics and interests. Set up a series of ads each targeting a different customer persona. The more you understand about your customer, the more successful your campaign will be.

It might be that Stories ads work best for your younger target audience, or that a video ad is best targeted to people who aren’t familiar with your brand (the perfect way to build audiences). Test and find out what works for your audience.

Perhaps you want to market an ad only to those on a certain mailing list—you can do that too with custom audiences. Following a successful campaign, you might want to choose a lookalike audience, which is an automatically generated group of new audience members that are similar in certain aspects to those you’ve already marketed to.

You can also of course choose automated targeting, but you’ll be missing out on this valuable extra layer to your Instagram marketing. Combine the right audience and placement, and you’ll unlock the full power of the platform.

Bonus: Cross-Platform Placements

Instagram may be powerful, but it’s not the only player. After all, it’s the big-picture objectives you care about, not platform-specific performance.

Exceptional marketers capitalize on their success through cross-platform campaigns. Why? A combined approach will deliver not only a lower cost per reach, but also a cost per ‘lift’ in various measures, like intent to purchase.

Once you have refined your ad campaigns to a point where they’re continually performing on Instagram, consider how you can translate them to your Facebook audiences. A new platform always brings with it new context, so again—test, measure, tweak and test again.


Image Credits

Feature Image: Unsplashsarandy westfall

Mike Bird

Mike Bird

Michael Bird is CEO and a cofounder of digital marketing agency Social Garden. Social Garden specializes in data-driven lead generation and marketing automation to grow companies’ revenue in different verticals in Australia.

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