What App Growth Marketers Need To Know About Instagram Ads – A Two Part Guide

Taru BhargavaApp Marketing, Mobile Apps5 Comments

What App Growth Marketers Need To Know About Instagram Ads - A Two Part Guide
Increased installs, greater engagement, and higher retention rate are the bitter truth of app marketing.

If you are the guy spearheading app growth for large businesses you clearly find yourselves at crossroads when it comes to the parameters mentioned above. I have often seen, numerous strategies being proposed, revamped and dissed. In the wake of all this mayhem, Facebook mobile app ads always triumph the ladder.

But here’s the twist. Most users are changing loyalties and jumping to various other platforms for engagement. Clearly, it is time for diversification and as an ex-banker, I value this tactic immensely.

In my opinion, mobile ad platforms should be approached like mutual funds. You need to diversifying your investments (with the trends) and remember that not all will work, and not all will reap the desired results.

Amongst the various options, Instagram cannot be ignored, especially if you are an app that falls into a category that depends on a visually driven strategy to increase installs and engagement.

Why Instagram Ads?

Instagram ads or Facebook’s better half, are an emerging platform for app marketers. Having opened itself fully to users very recently, there’s a lot that app marketers can look forward to with Instagram ads. By 2017, Instagram’s global mobile ad revenues will reach $2.81 billion, accounting for over 10% of parent company Facebook’s global ad revenues, according to an EMarketer report published in July this year.

Apart from this, there are several other benefits which includes:

  1. A creative canvas backed by Facebook’s powerful advertising technology.

  2. A native ad experience, and a higher visual element which increases the engagement manyfold.

  3. A Nielsen study also stated that ad recall from sponsored posts on Instagram was 2.8x higher than its norms for online advertising.

While a bevy of enterprise level apps have started its experiments with this platform, a number of them seem stuck with old strategies. There’s a missed opportunity if Instagram Ads aren’t a part of your app’s marketing strategy, more so if your competitor is already on its bandwagon.

In this two-part series, I will uncover every aspect of Instagram ads from the perspective of a Growth Marketer responsible for running the big show for a mobile app.

AppVirality

 

Part 1 Budgeting For Instagram Ads

We believe we have pepped you enough for trying out Instagram as an ad platform but proposing the idea to your Co-founder may be a tricky business. So let’s get started with the crucial bit and answer the perennial question

‘How much does it cost?’

The cost of Instagram ads varies with targeting. However, I’m sharing two case studies to give you a sense of what it may entail.

Early studies (2015) done by Nanigans on Instagram Advertising benchmarks showed that E-commerce and Gaming apps had a slightly higher expense as compared to other apps

E-commerce and Gaming apps had a slightly higher expense as compared to other apps

The study also observed a lower CPI from Instagram as compared to Facebook with a net 4% difference.

The study also observed a lower CPI from Instagram as compared to Facebook with a net 4% difference.

One of its ‘large e-commerce client’ achieved a positive 179% return on ad spends by the use of lookalike targeting and multivariate creative

Another study done by Kenshoo on Instagram’s early performance shows the following data

  • Average cost-per-install (CPI): $6.30

  • Average click-through rate (CTR): 2.48%

  • Average cost-per-click (CPC): $0.51

  • Average cost-per-thousand (CPM): $6.70

  • CTR 2.5Xs higher than social advertising industry averages

However, there has been a rapid adoption leading to a surge in prices- a lot of which may impact your budget.

Instagram_Advertising_Research_Report

Growth Marketers need to test them to as a part of their ad strategy and should not forget the platform’s uniqueness and the recall value that it creates in the mind of prospects – 97% in some cases!

Part 2 Instagram Mobile App Ads- Design Overview And Tips To Remember For Growth Marketers

Most enterprise apps leave their ad strategy in the hands of a digital marketing agency, an ad partner or an elusive marketing team. However as the growth guy, having a clear understanding will give you an edge and help you build a bridge between the creative and the technical verticals, thereby increasing the efficiency of your ad campaigns.

To make the most out of this platform let’s begin by exploring what these ads look like, what encompasses the design and what aspects to bear in mind before creating your first Instagram ad campaign.

Basic Guidelines And Facts Before Starting An Instagram Campaign- A Growth Marketer’s Cheat Sheet

Step 1- Understand The Ad Type

The purpose of Instagram ads for app marketers is to drive installs and engagement. The ad platform thus offers three unique formats to choose from.

  • Image Ads that resemble a visual post on Instagram and blend into its native platform.

  • Video Ads that mimic a video, however, are limited to 30 seconds.

  • Carousel Ads that showcase series of images and take the user directly to the intended app store ( installs) and lets them open the app (engagement)

types of instagram ads for app marketers

 Step-2 Set The Objective Right For The Agency Or in-House Team

  1. While your digital agency or in-house team may be adept at creating the perfect ad format for website and offline marketing, they are often clueless about demands and trends in the app space. This impacts the final ad quality in terms of design, copy, image quality and concepts. To avoid delays and chaos, it is significant that to educate them about your final objective and what it entails.

For instance Instagram ads that focus on increasing installs lead the user to the desired app store and the overlap message on tapping states “view in Play Store” (Android) or “view in App Store” (iOS). In this scenario, the CTA button leads the user directly to the desired playstore or appstore without an overlay message.

Instagram App Install Ads

  1. In case if the objective is to build engagement around your app, the overlay reads “Open App” (Call-to-action buttons click directly through to your app with no overlay). Given that the design and technical aspects of the ads do not differ much, it needs to be made clear to the agency or team in question.

Instagram App Engagement Ads

Step-3 Evaluate The Power Of Carousel Ads

Carousel ads on Instagram run a specific purpose and offer a great opportunity to showcase multiple images, generate curiosity and fasten the ability to take action in the mind of the users.

However, one needs to be extremely mindful while introducing carousel ads to their prospects. Has your agency approached you with this category of ads? Why does it matter? These are a few questions that you need to ask yourself as a growth marketer.

No one knows the value proposition of your app or the mind of the user better than you.  In my opinion, explore the various ways to tap this opportunity and then include it as a part of your strategy, rather than leaving it to the discretion of the digital agency. A few good ways are by showcasing a product tour of your app (a travel app), showcase a single product ( e-commerce app), share customer stories ( dating app), showcase product catalog ( Food delivery app).

Evaluate-The-Power-Of-Carousel-Ads

Step 4- Choose The Right Ad Type- Image/ Video?

  1. Make a smart choice between the ad type, since both will impact the success of your campaign and the final install or engagement rate quite differently.

  2. Another interesting aspect that growth marketers need to remember is the option to choose a video based Instagram ad to increase installs and engagement. Apps like Airbnb have leveraged it to bring them closer to the value proposition and stirring an immediate response like an app download or instant booking in this case.

Step 5- Be Open To Creative Concepts From Agency

As a growth guy, creativity in design (esp ads) may not be your strongest point. In such cases, it is best to leave the job to the graphic designers at your agency. However, since this is an ad whose effectiveness can be measured via analytics, it is important to ensure familiar color palettes, logos, and a mobile relevant design to maximize your campaign goals- a task which you are answerable to!

Step 6- Bring In The Hashtag Sense

Most official Instagram partners recommend not more than three hashtags with an ad since it tends to overpower the message and impacts installs and engagement. Marketers tend to go into a frenzy when it comes to hashtags and growth guys need to overview that at all times.

Part 3 Instagram Mobile App Ads- CTA Selection

While being creative is one part of ensuring smooth installs and engagement for your mobile app, it isn’t going to hit the desired numbers if your choice of CTA and targeting is compromised.

Instagram ads offer pre-set CTA options to app marketers, and they vary with the objective. For example, app marketers whose objective is to achieve app installs can opt from the following CTA list: 

  • Install Now

  • Use App

  • Book Now

  • Download

  • Learn More

  • Listen Now

  • Play Game

  • Shop Now

  • Sign Up

  • Watch More

  • Watch Video

For app marketers, where the primary objective is to define engagement Instagram offers the following CTA’s

  • Use App

  • Open Link

  • Shop Now

  • Book Now

  • Play Game

  • Listen Now

  • Watch Video

  • Watch More

  • Download

  • Learn More

  • Sign Up

The job of the ad copy is to evoke emotions and the CTA completes the cycle. The role of choosing the right CTA, therefore should be done with a lot of cautiousness.

We strongly advise testing the same image creative with different CTAs to get in the mind of your users. Given that the links on Instagram aren’t clickable, the CTA’s need to be assertive, clear and evoke immediate response.

Here’s an example of an ad that evokes a sense of urgency and has an excellent imagery

Spotify Instagram Ad

Part 4 Understanding Mobile Optimization

As mentioned earlier, mobile ads on Instagram need a far more meticulous screening before they go live. Instagram is inherently a mobile platform and these ads show only on the native mobile iOS and Android device minus the web. Therefore they should be created, keeping smaller screens in mind.

They should constantly pass through pre-set design recommendations, should compliment the design habitat and not look aloof or compromise the native platform in any way. Users are usually put off by ads since they compromise their user experience and Instagram’s native platform is the biggest plus for app marketers. By not checking the ad copy for lighting and detail, composition, visual message and text you are giving your users an opportunity to dismiss the ad and jump on.

Last but not the least, a good mobile ad needs a mobile optimized landing page, the absence of which can take away from your efforts!

Understanding-Mobile-Optimization

End To Part 1- Over To You

While the first part of this series, sets the pace for significance and conceptualization of Instagram ads to increase app installs and engagement, the second part would take you through the more essential bits such as targeting, bidding, and tips.

As a growth marketer, you have enough on your plate and we get your pain. We sincerely hope that this section was helpful to you in every way. Is there anything that we missed? Are there any tips that you wish to share for the greater good of the community?

Do let us know in the comments below.

Image Source : Instagram Benchmark Report| Facebook Ads Guide | Social Media Today

About the Author

Taru Bhargava

Twitter

Taru is the Content Ninja at AppVirality Inc. She has a keen interest in mobile and digital marketing stories and dissects them - word by word. She loves good food, tea and slapstick humor.

  • Steven

    Nice article! We have tampered a bit with Insta here at getQueried and honestly, we haven’t quite nailed it yet. We get a good price, but not nearly as good as on facebook mobile ($0.5). Any ideas to how to nail it with video? We have tried that too without much luck. If you have questions about our experience, check out http://www.getQueried.com or tweet me (@StevenHojlund).

    • Taru Bhargava

      Thanks Steven for your insights! What has been your experience with insta videos? A lot of research claim that the CTA’s are much lower in that case. Of course, Facebook remains the undisputed king for a lot of companies like you.

      • Steven

        Hi Taru. We have a small team with only little experience in producing video. So, we focus on two things: 1) The cue over story/content. Our video most grab a persons attention and actually the still can do the trick if, e.g. it’s a colourful headshot or something. 2) Videos should only have half a day or less of production time. We can’t afford putting more time into it.

      • Steven

        What we are left with on Instagram as well as on Facebook is a lot of views, but no clicks. It’s like you saturate the viewers attention-span with a video and therefore there is less juice left after the video ends to take the extra step and click. Video is also harder to A/B-test, because you have to make a new shot. So, experimentation becomes a timely and expensive process. I’d really love if you have stumbled upon a good insta ad-video tutorial. Until know I haven’t see any. Take care!

  • Steven

    Hi Taru. We have a small team with only little experience in producing video. So, we focus on two things: 1) The cue over story/content. Our video most grab a persons attention and actually the still can do the trick if, e.g. it’s a colourful headshot or something. 2) Videos should only have half a day or less of production time. We can’t afford putting more time into it. What we are left with on Instagram as well as on Facebook is a lot of views, but no clicks. It’s like you saturate the viewers attention-span with a video and therefore there is less juice left after the video ends to take the extra step and click. Video is also harder to A/B-test, because you have to make a new shot. So, experimentation becomes a timely and expensive process. I’d really love if you have stumbled upon a good insta ad-video tutorial. Until know I haven’t see any. Take care!