Instagram is one of the most effective channels for every digital marketing campaign. Using Instagram, you can raise awareness, promote, engage, and even sell products to over 928.5 million potential customers (Cooper, 2020). Yet, if you have never used Instagram ads before, you may find them somewhat similar and confusing. Therefore, in this article, we’d like to introduce some helpful Instagram ads for each stage of Ads Funnels. If you plan to target audiences between 18 to 44, these will be good tips to start your digital marketing campaign!
Top of the Funnel: Awareness Stage
At the top of the Funnel (TOFU), you have potential customers who have a problem but are not sure how to solve it. In this stage, the target audience does not have a specific product or brand in their mind but is willing to learn about them. Thus, the main goal in TOFU is to expose, get attention, and raise awareness about your brand to the cold audience.
Instagram Photo/Video ads
The most common yet effective type of Instagram ad in this stage would be photo/video ads. Once you set a target audience by their age, country, and more, your photo or video content will appear in the relevant users’ feed. This is not the most personalized or strongest type of ad but is a good point to start. As it appears on the target audience’s feed, you can reach and expose your brand to the target audience. Furthermore, you can try and analyze different methods to create better marketing content for a more sales-oriented funnel in the later stage.
One of the important factors in successful photo/video ads is their first impression. According to statistics, most people leave video ads within a few seconds (Teixeira, 2015) and photo ads even faster. Therefore, it is very crucial to create authentic, interesting, creative yet immediately impressive content to stop their scroll. For instance, you may begin your content with the most exciting and dramatic scene instead of a typical introduction. You may also make it unique to draw the audience’s curiosity.
Carousel ads are another helpful and more advanced type of ad suitable for this stage. Unlike the single photo/video ad, Carousel ads allow a maximum of 10 photos or videos in a single post. This enables marketers to create content with greater flexibility and creativity. For instance, marketers may create a panoramic series to show the detailed image of the product or a series of storylines to engage the audience.
Furthermore, carousel ads provide automatic optimization features. Using Facebook ads Manager, it can automatically optimize the content based on the highest click-through rate. This is very useful in the early stage when you are unsure of the most appealing product or message to the audience. Thus, if you want to create content with greater flexibility, carousel ads can be a great option.
Middle of the Funnel: Consideration Stage
Once the potential customers are aware of the brand or product, your business enters the middle of the funnel (MOFU). In this funnel, the potential customers realize their problem and more actively look for a solution to fulfill their needs. Therefore, the focus of this stage should be on retargeting and educating the engaged audience for bigger action.
Similar to video/photo ads, shopping ads also appear in the target audience’s feed as well as the company’s feed. The major difference between Instagram shopping ads and photo/video ads is the product tag. While video/photo ads appear like regular posts, shopping ads provide a tag function to display the product name or price on the image itself. For example, if 3 products are displayed in an ad, you may put separate product detail tags on each of them. This helps the audience easily learn about the product without visiting the actual website.
Collection ads are somewhat a mix of video/photo ads and carousel ads. It displays a cover photo or video on the top and 3 product images at the bottom. The video and photos are on a single page and appear on the target audience’s feed. Furthermore, it provides a Call-to-Action button at the bottom that navigates the audience to the full-screen webpage with a list of products and their details. Since it allows a combination of different types of media on a single page, it is effective in getting the audience’s attention. Moreover, as it shows different types of products both in the forms of video and image, it better educates the audience with greater detail. Hence, collection ads can be useful if you want to create more visual-oriented ads.
Bottom of the Funnel: Conversion Stage
Finally, you reach the Bottom of the Funnel (BOFU) when the potential customers are aware of your brand and ready to take action. In this funnel, they already know about the product detail, price, brand, and more. Thus, the focus at this stage is to retarget and navigate the highly potential customers to the purchase process.
Dynamic product ads
Dynamic product ads are very powerful ads to retarget specific audiences with personalized content. Unlike photo or video ads that target a pre-set segment, dynamic ads use users’ engagement data to automatically target the relevant products to each audience (Instagram, 2016). For instance, if a shopper shows interest in a blue sweater via viewing or adding the product, the dynamic ads retarget the specific product to the customer to encourage further purchase journey. Thus, if you have sufficiently optimized the audience’s user data from the previous funnels, dynamic product ads will be very effective and successful.
As the name implies, story ads appear between Instagram stories that users browse. It can be both static images and videos, with a maximum length of 15 seconds. Unlike photo/video ads that are restricted to a 1:1 or 4:5 ratio, story ads can be a full-screen size, 9:16, which allows greater flexibility.
The biggest advantage of story ads is their easy accessibility to the eCommerce webpage. Unlike feed ads that use the Call-to-Action button, story ads allow users to visit the eCommerce webpage by simply swiping up. This is much more convenient than tapping the small icon or link in the bio. Furthermore, as statistics show that 1/3 of the most viewed Instagram stories are from businesses (Moshin 2021), story ads are definitely effective in reaching out to the audience. Therefore, story ads are a great option if you aim to effectively reach and convert potential customers.