Instagram is where it’s happening lately. But, not everyone is leveraging this for their marketing strategy – and even fewer people are doing this well. (Take a scroll through IG, and you’ll see what I mean.) In this episode, I’m talking about the basics of marketing on Instagram. I cover:
– The difference between ads for Facebook + ads for Instagram
– The key to IG Stories – and why these are MORE powerful than Facebook Lives
– Whether or not to have a “business” page on Instagram (i.e. Can you retarget your viewers?)
– The truth about IGTV..
If you’re NOT using IG ads already, or if you have questions about making yours more successful, check out this episode before you get started!
Key Points:
[1:52] The MISTAKE you’re making with IG ads
[3:15] “What if I don’t have 10K followers for the ‘swipe up’ feature?”
[4:31] The key to success with ads for STORIES
[7:21] “Am I advertising to the right audience?”
[8:15] To create a business page.. or not?

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Episode Transcript:

Today’s episode is going to talk all about Instagram Ads, because to be honest, Instagram is where it’s happening lately. I am super excited to share this with you guys, and it’s kind of inspired because this last week was a crazy week for Team Hirsh, we had a lot of new clients onboarding. But we also had a client do an over $2 million launch, and the cart’s not even closed yet. So that’s been super exciting. But one of the things is, Instagram is totally crushing it for her, and so I was like, “I have to do an Instagram 101 ad,” because I’m sure I’ll do a few of these. But, honestly, if you’re not leveraging Instagram right now, you need to do it for your marketing.

So I’m going to talk about like how to have success with Instagram Ads, and a few of our main processes that we follow as an agency to really leverage Instagram Ads. I’d say the number one key thing to having success with your Instagram Ads, is to remember that it’s a different platform than Facebook, and that the content that you create on Instagram needs to be Instagram specific.

So the mistake I see people making, is they create an ad and then they just like add the Instagram placement in their Facebook Ads Manager, and they just run it everywhere, and they think that’s going to work. And so for us, whenever we run Instagram Ads, it’s a separate ad set that we run because we’re making an Instagram specific ad. And what do I mean by that? Well, when you look at Instagram, Instagram has square images instead of rectangle, like Facebook. And so, first of all, that’s the main difference, is you need Instagram specific images.

And then, typically, shorter copy does better on Instagram than longer copy. So if you have super long story copy that you’re using on Facebook, I would shorten it for your Instagram Ad, and make sure you have a square Instagram picture. And then whenever you run the ad, separate out the ad set so that you can compare Facebook performance to Instagram performance, as well as have a specific Instagram specific ad. Because if you don’t, it just really like, even if … Go scroll Instagram, and you’ll be able to see the difference between somebody who did that and somebody who didn’t.

And the same thing goes for Instagram Stories. So a misconception out there because I know this because several of my clients have been surprised when I told them we could do this. You can run Insta Story Ads through Facebook Ads Manager placement without having 10,000 followers to get them to swipe up.

So to regularly add to your stories and have the swipe up feature, you need 10,000 followers, right. If you run an Insta Story placement ad, the call to action will be to swipe up. And Insta Stories, I would argue, is one of the number one things people are watching. So even more than Facebook Lives, these days. I know I enjoy Insta Stories because it’s a very real life update for people, and it’s fun to watch them throughout their day.

So Insta Story Ads are absolutely crushing it, and one of the things that we will almost always at least test, but get from our clients is an Insta Story Video to test with everything. So if they have a webinar, call to action is swipe up to sign-up for the webinar, sales swipe up to register before the doors close, or to purchase before the doors closed, abandoning cart, swipe up, I know you were interested, you didn’t quite finish, swipe up and head on back. Any of those call to actions, it’s worth it to test with an Insta Story. And we will test both the video, which has to be shot…

Like again, make it specific to Instagram so it needs to be shot with your phone, literally as if you’re doing an Insta Story. We even have clients who like put the filters on. You can just shoot it on Instagram like you’re really doing it, or really do it if you want. But you can say swipe up, so if you don’t have that feature, you can say swipe up in these things, versus you can’t. Like I don’t have 10,000 followers on my Instagram, so I don’t say swipe up on my regular stories. But for my ads, I do. So shoot it with your phone.

We even have clients, I was saying, put in filters, like real Instagram filters, or write on it as if it’s a real story. Because that’s the key, is making it seem like a real story, because if you go through your … If you go watch Insta Stories, you’ll see like ads will pop up in-between. And I want you to go and do that, and I want you to compare somebody who created an ad, specifically for Insta Story, making it like an Insta Story, the right dimensions, and seem like it blends in to somebody who didn’t, and they just selected it as a placement, and it ends up as a rectangle with the ad text on it, and probably cut off.

So I want you to go and compare that because you will notice a difference, and I know for me, I never respond to the ads that look like that. But I will respond to the ones that don’t because I think it’s just someone’s story that started playing on my feed. So create the Insta Story videos and it has to be less than 15 seconds, so 14 seconds. It’s not easy to do that, but 14 second quick video you can use as an Insta Story Ad. And then also, try an image for Insta Story. Sometimes images done well, like good images, right sizing, again, Insta Story sizing.

You can look it up what it is, I don’t know what it is off my head, but if you just Google Insta Story, Insta Story image sizing, you’ll find it. That’s what we give our designer. And put swipe up text on there. And then you can run that and test that against video. For some clients, for us, video does better. But for some, images crush it. And you can actually put together multiple Insta Stories. Now you used to not be able to do that on ads, it used to have to be 14 seconds, but you chain together up to three.

I believe Insta Story Ads so that people, they can tap to see the next one, and that’s your full ad. So do that, and then also, that’s Insta Story, and then Instagram placement, like in the feed, make sure those are square images, shorter copy, with a lot of white space. One of the most annoying things on Instagram is how they chunk all that text together, and it’s really important that when you do the ad, it has the white space because people won’t read it. And it will just look like an ad.

That’s our goal, is making sure that it doesn’t look like an ad, and so that people pay attention, and click on it, and read it, and engage with you. So those are ways that we’re seriously leveraging Instagram with pretty much every one of our clients. Now there are exceptions where a client comes to me, and this just happened this week, and she said, “Our clients are pretty much 45, ages 45 and plus.” And she said, “I’ve kind of tried Instagram, I haven’t tried it a lot. If you think we should, we can try it.” And I was like, “We can definitely test it, but the Instagram demographic is younger people.”

I know I have like younger brothers, who are like 16, and they don’t even use Facebook. They just use Instagram. So the way the generations are going, Instagram is probably going to dominate over Facebook someday. But right now, people, I would argue, ages 30, 35-plus, use Facebook more than Instagram because that’s what they’re used to. It doesn’t mean don’t test it, but also know your demographic because you don’t know. Like this person, specifically, I was like they’re probably not as much on Instagram. We can for sure test it, but I think we’re going to have more success with Facebook.

The last thing I wanted to add in here, is when you connect your Instagram to your business page, and I’ve had people ask me, “Should I do this because my engagement’s going to go down?” My opinion is yes, if you have a following that you can retarget. Because yes, your engagement, like unfortunately, might go down a little bit if you make it a business profile because of their algorithms. But you’re able to create retargeted audiences, which is so powerful.

You can have an audience of people, who are watching your Instagram Stories, and then put ads in front of them. Or, retarget all of your Instagram followers in engagement, and that is super amazing. Because people who are watching your stories, are a very engaged audience. I know, for me, I always have a couple hundred people who watch all my stories, and I have like, I don’t know, 1,800 followers, or something, on Instagram, I need to get that up, but those are super engaged people. I mean, they basically interact with me everyday on my Insta Stories, and so those are people I want to show intentional ads to, and I do show intentional ads.

So if you have a big Instagram following, I would recommend that you do regular stories, and then you retarget those people intentionally with your ads because it’s super powerful. It’s the same concept of retargeting people who are watching your Facebook Live videos. But my argument is, Insta Story watchers are almost more connected and engaged with you than your Facebook Live viewers because they’re watching your life and that’s powerful.

They’re connecting with you about what’s going on during your day and building that relationship with you consistently. And usually, people who watch your stories, watch it almost every day, or very frequently so they constantly feel that connection to you. And I know people that I watch their Insta Stories, I feel like I know them like really well if I see their day.

The other cool thing with Instagram and pairing it with retargeting is, you can still organically grow your following on Instagram. You really can’t do that on Facebook, like it doesn’t exist. You need to run ads to reach new people. But with Instagram and using hashtags, and engaging with other profiles, you’re actually able to organically still grow your profile. I know I get new followers just from consistently posting, and using hashtags.

And so the fact that I can grow that following organically, build that relationship with them through my content and my Insta Stories, and then retarget them with ads, is pretty powerful and shouldn’t be taken advantage of. And I really think, like I said, too, the direction of where people are hanging out online is moving towards Instagram.
So to recap, when you run Instagram Ads, separate out the ad sets, don’t just mix it in and run a Facebook Ad on Instagram. It’s not the same thing, it needs to be Instagram specific graphics, and copy, and look like an Instagram post. Use Insta Stories, shoot actual videos of yourself for Insta Stories to use for your ads. And then, connect your Instagram to your business page, especially if you have a following, so you can build those audiences for retargeting.

I’m not going to mention Instagram TV on here because, to be honest, I don’t think it’s doing that well yet. I know, I never watch it. I don’t like that it’s a whole separate app. I want to see where it goes before I really advise on that strategy. But I do think you should be doing, like I said, regular Insta Stories, even Instagram Lives if your audience hangs out there, especially. That’s really powerful.

We’ve had clients who have had launches, they have a massive Instagram following, and they just like totally crush it on Instagram. So if you’re not using it, look at it. And like I said, like before, just test it. But separate it out and test it intentionally, not just adding in the placement for fun in your Facebook Ads.

And, as always, if you guys want done for you marketing and strategies from Team Hirsh, who is the best out there, and I will claim that, especially after this last week. We just totally crushed it for our clients. I am like blown away by my team. Go to, and book in a call with Team Hirsh. We are capping our number of clients at 75 this year through 2018, so that is going to come to a head soon. We have only a couple spots, we signed five new clients this last week. Crazy week.

And if you want to get on our roster, you have a January launch coming up, get on our roster before it’s too late because I will cap that because of my team’s capacity and our ability to deliver for clients. Thanks so much for tuning in. Please leave a review if you loved this episode. And I also would love to know how Instagram Ads have been going for you guys.