Yesterday, Instagram announced that its ad platform is now open to everyone, as well as accessible programmatically via a new API. And for retailers, the ads include a sexy new feature: a Shop Now button. This feature creates a direct link between high-quality product images and the point of purchase, which is something brand marketers have been begging Instagram for since the app launched its first ads in 2013.
So now that shoppable Instagram ads are a reality, how can you create great campaigns that sell tons of product? The two keys are authenticity and volume.
Authenticity: Make the user experience seamless and organic
The first key to a great Instagram campaign is authenticity. Because Instagram existed ad-free for several years, users grew accustomed to a very organic-feeling experience. Slick, highly produced ads feel out of place in the Instagram image feed. If you break the user’s experience by interrupting them with professionally produced content that sticks out like a sore thumb, your ads won’t work.
The Instagram aesthetic is all about crisp, clean images of everyday real-world situations. Many of the brands that are currently excelling on Instagram—Mercedes-Benz, Benefit Cosmetics, and TOMS Shoes, among others—are the ones that remain true to that and power their campaigns with UGC.
Volume: Keep your campaigns fresh, no photoshoots required
One of the biggest challenges any advertiser faces is how to keep digital campaigns fresh, so consumers don’t get fatigued by seeing the same ad over and over again. This is an even bigger challenge on Instagram thanks to Carousel Ads, which allow brands to feature multiple photos in a single ad “story.”
Most companies tackle the volume problem by producing lots of images of their products in-house—but professional photo shoots are expensive and slow. You need a way to create hundreds of ad-ready images quickly and cost-effectively.
Curating the cream of the crop
Virtually everyone has a smartphone in his or her pocket—on Instagram alone, there are more than 300 million photographers whose talent you can tap! You just need a way to find and leverage the best, most on-brand images for your campaign from among the billions of images posted to public social networks every day. It can feel like searching for a needle in a haystack.
Platforms like Stackla help with this process by giving you tools to define which content you want to aggregate based on keywords or hashtags, then filter it to surface the best images. Once you’ve found the images you want to use, rights management features make it easy to request permission from the post’s original author to use the images in your campaign. The entire campaign can even be automated by using the Stackla API—after new UGC images are curated and approved within Stackla, the API can programmatically automate the creation and introduction of the new ads.