As part of their "Creative Series", Instagram's providing tips for brands to help them improve their performance on the platform. Their latest installment focuses on direct response ads and ways to get your Instagram audience take action, but the notes provided are actually pretty general and can be applied to most brand marketing on the platform.
Here are their three key tips to improve your Instagram posts.
1. "Stop Their Scroll"
Instagram's business team advises brands to consider how they can grab people's attention as they scroll through their feeds, noting that using a single focal point in their images can be an effective way to make people stop and take notice.
In this example from Everlane, there's only one core subject of the image, there's nothing cluttering the background or diverting viewer attention. This can be an effective way to stand out, for one, but also to bring clarity and focus to your product/s.
You can, of course, use background images for context, but the important point to note is that you want to ensure the key element - the product you're showcasing - remains the thing that people notice, that stands out and draws attention.
Also, remember that the vast majority of Instagram users are using the platform on a mobile device - your Instagram images need to be optimized for mobile.
"Think about the size of each element in your photo or video, and then view it on your phone before sharing."
2. "Connect When They Look"
Instagram also notes the importance of incorporating branding elements in your Instagram posts.
"Branding is an important part of having people remember your ad after they've viewed it. And it doesn't have to be blatant to be effective. Instead of posting your logo at the top of a photo, include elements of your brand such as your storefront, packaging or products in an authentic way."
This is a great note - people are generally on Instagram to see inspiring or interesting images, the focus is largely on art or aspirational desires. As such, the brands that can deliver great images with subtle, natural branding elements stand out.
Nike and Michael Kors, for example, do well at this with their Instagram content.
At 1, I introduced myself to the world. At 2, 3, 4 and 5 I had run them all. At 6, the warm-up was over. At 13, I went away. At 14, I was back. At 15, I was getting the hang of it. At 16, I was starting to like it. At 18, 19, 20, I began to realize, Things start to get interesting at 21. Just Do It. #NikeCourt
A photo posted by nike (@nike) on Jul 11, 2015 at 8:02am PDT
A photo posted by Michael Kors (@michaelkors) on Aug 8, 2016 at 12:07pm PDT
3. "Inspire Action"
Instagram notes that:
"The most successful ads tell consumers what they need to know - who is this advertiser, what's their value proposition and how can they learn more or even purchase this product?"
A photo posted by Ray-Ban (@rayban) on Jul 3, 2016 at 8:34am PDT
As you can see in this example from Ray Ban, there's a clear value proposition, it puts the product into the consumers' world - that type of definition and connection can help better contextualize what your product offers and why they might want to purchase it.
In terms of learning more and making a purchase, Instagram advises brands to also consider their call to action buttons and ensure they're using the relevant option for the desired response.
"While Learn More may work great for consideration, Shop Now may work better for conversions."
These are some great, general considerations for branded Instagram content, beyond just direct response campaigns alone. And with more than 300 million people now active on Instagram every day - and likely more switching across at the moment to check out their new 'Stories' feature - it's a good time to be getting involved and looking to build your brand's Instagram presence.