Why Brands Should Start Adjusting Their Instagram Strategy

Instagram AdsIt appears that the days of organic growth and engagement for brands on Instagram could be coming to an end. At the end of September, Instagram opened their advertising platform to all marketers. Since then, users have seen an influx of ads in their feeds, and many of those ads have been met with negative sentiment. However, if brands want to continue to see the results they once were getting, organically, they may need to start considering incorporating paid into their Instagram strategy.

State of Instagram

Let’s start with the good news, Instagram has become an important channel for marketers to reach over 400M active users with visual content. GlobalWebIndex found that 53% of users follow their favorite brand on the platform and 44% of users use Instagram to research products (the highest of any channel). However, a recent study by Locowise revealed that since April, it is getting harder to both reach and engage those users. Locowise tracked 2.5K Instagram profiles over the past 6 months and reported on the decreases in organic follower growth and engagement in the chart below. Growth went from 1.95% in April all the way down to 0.25% in September and engagement has dropped over 1% during the same time period.

Instagram Stats Chart


Initial Instagram Advertising Results

As advertising on Instagram is becoming more mainstream, initial results from brands are showing that the ad buys are efficient.  The industries using Instagram ads the most include: retail, travel, entertainment and e-commerce. Locowise reported the following results on Instagram ads:

  • CTR is around 1.5% (higher than Facebook’s 0.84%)
  • CPM average is between $3-$6.29
  • Video views as low as $0.02

These results are exciting for marketers, but I would still recommend proceeding with caution. The set-up is very similar to Facebook ads, but targeting is not as advanced which is why many users are questioning why they are seeing certain brands in their feeds.


Tips for Brands on Instagram

While ads are a definite way to help increase growth and engagement for your brand’s channel, there are other tactics that you should consider weaving into your Instagram strategy:

  • Leverage trending topics. Instagram has made identifying trending topics much easier by putting them front and center on the ‘Search’ tab. Work these topics into your copy when it makes sense to get your content in front of more people.
  • Work with influencers. Incorporating Instagram influencers who reach the same target audience as your brand is a good way to increase your reach. Influencers can naturally work your brand into the creative and copy that fits the content that users want to see on the platform.
  • Use strong CTAs. Using calls-to-action in your content is the simplest way to boost engagement. When it fits naturally with the visual, pose a question, ask fans to tag a friend, or run an Instagram comment-to-win promotion.
  • Experiment with different types of content. Now that Instagram isn’t limited to square images, test portrait vs. landscape photos, vary media types with video and static images and A/B test with different posting times.

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