Take Instagram for an Advertising Test Drive

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Take Instagram for an Advertising Test Drive

Instagram is a powerful visual messenger. It offers a golden opportunity to showcase your products. It also allows your audience to engage and relate personally to your brand.

Background: We run a small agency in Los Angeles specializing in consumer goods. Many of our clients are in the natural products industry. Unlike past social media initiatives, it did not take long to convince clients to try Instagram. Social media has definitely changed the hearts, minds and budgets of clients today!

The Creative Instagram Strategy:

In social media, anytime is a perfect time to promote a product. So we built a concept around a season when shoppers are looking for new ideas. We debated if it was best to show a less personalized product package image or just a picture that would convey the brand’s qualities with no superimposed package.

Not showing a product package is a difficult decision for any brand. We have to rethink the “selling message” and adopt an “engagement message.” We opted to test the two concept ads, let them run and then check results. It was interesting to see that visitors do react to branded pictures. Our creative offered suggested uses for the goods. Since the reaction was positive, I recommend showing your products to build consumer awareness. Do it in a useful way so you are educating your prospective customers.

Here is a sample branded post with the product package:

Instagram Ad with product package

Sample Post with No Package Displayed:

Instagram post with no package

Targeting the Right Audience:

You can use the same parameters on Instagram as the Ad Manager. That is one of the benefits of advertising on Facebook. For our first campaigns we define a general target market. We check our campaigns for engagement and response, then we tweak accordingly. It is amazing what we discover from the social media field. Hidden markets appear giving us other opportunities to sell.


We were happy with our initial findings. Although far more expensive than regular Facebook ads, Instagram ads are worth the money — even more so if you are in the consumer goods business. Prices range from about $1.50 an impression to $3.50 on the higher side as opposed to Facebook that ranges at $.10 to $.60.

What about B2B?

We did a personal test for our business to see what kind of engagement we would get.  B2B is not as appealing as a good piece of pumpkin pie or an oven-ready turkey. Surprisingly, we got lots of positive feedback.

Here Is a Sample Ad We Ran:

Hot Ice Media Instagram Ad

Five Takeaways:

  1. 1. Instagram is a visual vehicle, so this is a great opportunity for “show and tell”
  2. 2. You can use videos to tell the story
  3. 3. Videos are not as widely used yet, so now is the time before the noise level gets too high
  4. 4. Today about 80% of traffic comes from mobile
  5. 5. You can use your budget for both Facebook and Instagram at the same time for more exposure. (Facebook will show that same ad on both platforms)

The Final Analysis:

Paid reach is a necessity for most businesses. We have a unique opportunity with these low-cost platforms. Take advantage of this now before prices go up — and they will. I was around in the days of traditional advertising and the price was prohibitive.

So give it a try. Let me know if you have any questions. @websuccess

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