Last year, Instagram crossed a commendable milestone of over 1 billion monthly active users worldwide. This makes it the third most popular social networking platform, behind only Facebook and YouTube.

This massive user base is also quite active:

  • 50% (or 500 million) of these billion users scroll through Instagram every single day.

  • These users spend an average of 53 minutes a day on Instagram, interacting with accounts, watching Stories, chatting with friends, and more.

What’s more, eight out of ten (or 80%) of Instagram users actively follow a business or brand on the platform. (Source)

In fact, Instagram recognizes this healthy brand-user relationship and has a fairly robust advertising program in place for businesses. As an e-commerce business, you can do a lot when it comes to putting the right content in front of the right audience at the right time. That is, you can create advertising campaigns tailored around business-specific goals such as building brand equity, getting more website traffic, more newsletter signups, and so on.

So, if these mind-boggling numbers have urged you to think about launching an advertising campaign on Instagram to attract new shoppers and build a devoted fanbase, then you’re spot on in the right place. Below, we take a look at six quick and easy Instagram ad hacks you can implement for your e-commerce business today to boost engagement and ROI.



Hack #1: Leverage lifestyle photography

People don’t like advertisements. It’s as simple as that. But you need them to market your product to the right audience and increase your reach. You might say ads are a “necessary evil”.

So, it goes without saying that the best and most powerful ads are the ones which don’t feel like ads at all. They look organic from the user’s perspective. And thus, such ads will be appreciated by your audience. Besides, you don’t want your audience to think you’re shoving your products down their throats or forcefully promoting something they don’t want.

How do you achieve this? One solution is to create ads that leverage lifestyle photography. Essentially, this means showcasing your products as they’re being used in real-life situations by ordinary people.

Everlane Instagram

Such ads are relatable, easy on the eye, and seem natural.



Hack #2: Tell a story with “snackable” video ads

Using Instagram Stories is another effective way to reach your target audience without disrupting their social media experience. The Stories tool allows you to create captivating fullscreen ads in which you can combine photos, videos, and text.

According to Instagram, the Stories section of the app is actively used by over 500 million users every day. So, this is a big opportunity for businesses to engage with their audience in a unique and interesting way. For example, Mainline Menswear reached over 1.3 million people by running ads on Instagram Stories. This helped them boost brand awareness in an increasingly competitive product niche.



Hack #3: Stand out with creative typography

A majority of the ads you see on Instagram are photos and videos of people, places, or products. How do you stand out of the competition?

One way is to create text-only ads that align with the modern principles of minimalism. Such ads are simple yet elegant. They look professional and drive the message home effectively.

Birchbox Instagram

Try this hack for your business by running an ad that features a single phrase, statement or offer, contrasted against a subtle background.



Hack #4: Unbox an exciting product with carousel ads

As you’re probably aware, “unboxing” videos and even photos are extremely popular nowadays on YouTube and Instagram. Yet, not many businesses are leveraging their popularity to showcase their best products.

The savvy consumers of today want to know more than just what they’re ordering online. They want to be absolutely sure of the “experience” they’ll be getting when they order the product, right down to the experience of actually opening it for the first time.

Knowing this, you should consider documenting the experience of unboxing one of your finest products by launching a carousel ad. These ads enable you to place multiple photos and videos in a carousel format. The users who come across your ad can swipe through the content to taste what it’s like to unbox your product. You can create carousel ads into Stories, too.



Hack #5: Remarket to shoppers on the fence

There’ll be plenty of people who’ll visit your e-commerce store, browse through the catalog and get as far as adding products to their shopping cart. However, they’ll abandon the journey at this final stage.

Launching ads to remarket to these people is a great way to drive sales from Instagram. With retargeting, you put those same products back in front of the potential buyers in an attempt to guide them back to your website and complete their shopping journey with a successful purchase. To get started with retargeting, you’ll need to add a Facebook Pixel to your website. Follow the steps in this nifty little guide to creating retargeting ads on Instagram.



Hack #6: Create audience-segmented collection ads

Instagram also lets business profiles to create "collection" ads on the platform. A curated collection makes it effortless for users to discover, browse, and purchase products from the app itself.

If you wish to step up your game, try creating a collection that caters the needs of a specific niche group within your audience. Check out the complete specifications of a collection ad here.



Your Move

If you haven’t yet tried advertising on Instagram for your e-commerce business, it is about time. Start by defining your goals, audience, budget, and the type of ad that best suits your needs. Lay out your digital marketing strategy and get this show on the road.



Author Bio:

Tim Ferguson is a writer and editor of Right Mix Marketing blog. He enjoys writing about SEO, content marketing, online reputation management, social media, AI and Big Data. When he is not writing and editing for Right Mix Marketing, he spends time on learning more about content marketing and getting better at it. You can follow him on Twitter at @RightMixMktg

Related Reading: Content Marketing for e-Commerce - 5 Tips and Good Advice, from our friends over at Clearhaus.