5 Ways to Rock Your Instagram Ad Campaign

5 min

You’ve seen the facts and you’re convinced – you must market your brand on Instagram. With more than millions of daily active users and high levels of engagement, this social media platform provides businesses with a viable solution for expanding their reach. At the same time, you have to consider the level of competition on Instagram. EMarketer predicts that by 2017, around 70.7% of companies in the U.S. will be using the platform for marketing.

This makes it crucial that you find a way to stand out and effectively reach your target audience through Instagram ads. But not every ad is a success. Brands may make several mistakes with their Instagram advertising, which will result in a much less significant impact than expected.  So you can use the following tips to create ads that convert for a successful Instagram advertising campaign:

1. Use videos to show what you can do.

Videos help you showcase what your product can do and what you can do as a brand. And video adverts on Instagram enable you to reach and engage new audiences who are relevant to your business. Come up with creative short videos that show users exactly what your product is capable of so as to draw them in and get them to convert.

Lightricks resorted to Instagram video ads when their Enlight App couldn’t reach the same success as its predecessor, Facetune. They wanted to gain visibility for the app while driving downloads. So they created a series of video adverts showcasing some of the app’s creative features.

Within just five days, the team witnessed 300,000 downloads for the app. The returns were 3.5 times higher than what they spent on this Instagram campaign. Additionally, they received twice as many conversions than they did with non-Instagram ad campaigns. By using videos to showcase what their app is capable of, the team were able to convince users to download the app.

2. Target the right prospects for higher conversions.

Instagram empowers businesses with accurate targeting features, which enable them to selectively display their ad campaigns to the most relevant audiences. When your goal is to reach a new audience with minimum spending, highly targeted ads can get you there by enticing people who are most likely to show an interest in your products or services.

For Gilt, targeting the right audience helped them pull off a successful, high-converting Instagram ad campaign. They made the most of Instagram’s Lookalike Audience feature to find prospects that share similar attributes with users whom they consider as their top customers. Since they focused on new customer acquisition, they excluded existing app users and current customers.

instagram ad campaign

During the three-week campaign, the team witnessed a 30% increase in click-through rate for their ads. The mobile app purchase conversion rate also increased by 35% during that period. The team further conducted a conversion lift study and discovered that there was an 88% increase in installs as a result of the Instagram ads.

3. Use creative imagery to draw in prospects.

If you intend to draw in a new audience, you need to refresh your branding and advertising. Make use of creative imagery like relevant illustrations or photos that tell a story. As Instagram is a visual platform, make the most of it to showcase your product or service in a new perspective.

This is exactly what Harley-Davidson did when they wanted to boost their visibility and engagement among a younger audience. They partnered with illustrators to create imaginative drawings with their motorcycles drawn in as a piece of art. The illustrations for each ad were divided into five separate images to form a carousel ad that tells a story.

As you can see in the image above, the illustrations mimicked a visual style popular in the biking culture with tattoo-like doodles and motifs. Within just three weeks of running the campaign, the team was able to reach 1.4 million men aged between 18 and 35, which was their target demographic for the campaign. The ads also resulted in 8,000+ website clicks.

4. Blend in with organic posts

No one likes pushy, in-the-face advertising anymore. So in order for your Instagram ads to make an impact, they shouldn’t look like a typical ad. Instead, create images that blend in with other photos that users would normally see on their newsfeed. Position your products as if a typical Instagram user were posting an image of it.

This worked well for Pura Vida Bracelets, which planned on driving sales at minimal cost using Instagram advertising. So they decided to implement carousel ads displaying different photos of people wearing their bracelets. Each photo featured a relaxed setting that’s in tune with the brand – from beaches and boardwalks to forests and laid-back urban settings.

It’s clear from the image above that their ad would easily blend in with organic posts on a user’s newsfeed. Yet it still stands out due to the quality of the image and the picturesque setting. The campaign helped them experience an 18% increase in their return on ad spend with their cost-per-action reducing by 25%.

5. Tell a story.

Instagram videos are an ideal channel for telling a story. So you can implement a storytelling technique in your next Instagram ad campaign. You could either tell your brand story or infuse your product in visual storytelling using this channel. Either way, the goal is to captivate both new and existing users in order to drive engagement and grow your following.

Bean Pole, a leading Korean clothing brand, decided to do just this in order to engage their target audience. So they created a mini-series consisting of five episodes, telling the story of a man who is in the process of getting over a broken heart. They released an episode every day during peak hours when their target demographic is most active on Instagram.

Throughout the four-week campaign, the brand’s post engagement increased 3.5 times. Upon retargeting their audiences and choosing to target people who visited their online store, there was a 54% increase in online store traffic. The ads also helped them achieve a 70% increase in product views.


These examples and ideas should be able to guide you in drawing up an Instagram ad campaign that works. You have a better idea of how targeting the right audience can provide you with a cost-effective and high-converting advertising solution. You also understand what you can do to design ad imagery that appeals to your audience. Got any questions to ask or ideas to discuss? Don’t forget to leave a comment below.