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How to wisely manage ad campaigns with Instagram content

Social media is an integral element of any marketing campaign, and Instagram has become one of the predominant channels to engage with prospective clients. There’s no question that marketers are devoting more time and energy towards creating content for Instagram.

The challenge in 2018 becomes - how do you responsibly spend marketing dollars on advertisements and pay-per-click campaigns using your Instagram content?

The goal of any good marketing campaign is to generate and maximize ROI from the effort. Doing so means making practical decisions with content, and promoting creative assets with the right amount of budget to yield returns.

Use the right types of content in your campaigns

This seems like an obvious goal, but one that’s difficult to execute. The right types of content is a very subjective concept, depending on the perspective.

  • Do you have an idea of what are the right types of content?

  • How does that differ from what your key stakeholders believe?

  • What do your audience personas tell you?

  • Are there any key insights you can pull from your data?

All of these perspectives must be weighted as you map out your PPC campaigns. You need to align what’s best for the business with what’s best for your audience, and select content that’s most likely to bridge the gap between those two sides.

Thankfully, there are a few universally accepted ideas to help you make those decisions.

Go all in on video content

Content consumption has been trending more and more towards videos for some time. We’ve produced a webinar about creating video content for advertising that describes how you can best meet your business goals with videos.

In short, video content is more engaging for the end consumer. Studies show that people will remember 70% of what they both see and hear from content, and videos are the only format that allows both senses to process your message. Videos also convey the personality behind your brand, sharing a unique brand visual identity to your intrigued audience.

But don’t just take our word for it.

Facebook, which owns Instagram, hosted an event in March called Open your Doors to Video. There, they presented examples of brands that used video ads to improve engagement and boost customer acquisition on both Facebook and Instagram.

Customer acquisition through video content.png

There were common trends among each of the examples, which mirrored insights presented in our webinar. The most effective videos were short, snackable pieces of content consumable in 3-10 seconds. Brands that injected their unique identities into the videos captured people’s attention with a distinct style, particularly when that identity was presented in a vertical format.

Use platforms like Facebook’s Ads Manager to continuously test and optimize your video ads for both Facebook and Instagram. Facebook’s technology provides insights into the ads that perform against those that don’t. You can analyze the differences between the positives and the negatives, and then use those insights to improve your content, or create something brand new.

Technology is a great boon for marketers. Campaigns that were once difficult to scale and challenging to analyze now roll out with ease. To borrow a line from Stephen Hawking about the capabilities achievable with technology - repurposed by rock legends Pink Floyd on their album, The Endless River:

Our greatest hopes could become reality in the future. With the technology at our disposal, the possibilities are unbounded.
— Stephen Hawking

Continuously test your content

Creative variables within content may resonate with people, or they may not. But if you can’t determine what gets people’s attention, you’ll balloon your budget and generate little return for your efforts.

When you start promoting your Instagram content, you should have room in your budget for a proper testing period. Every marketing campaign goes through an A/B testing period, be it for Instagram, on your website, or even in email campaigns.

The goal of these tests is to identify common triggers that generate responses from your target audience.

  • Analyze things like the colors used in your content

  • Is there a lifestyle setting or a product-focused scenario?

  • What’s the tone and the visual style of the content?

  • Is there music that catches people’s attention?

  • Are there different responses to vertical and horizontal visuals or videos?

Each of those variables, and much more, are data points that you can extract from your tests. Once you’ve run enough versions of your ads, and collected all of the data from those tests, you can develop logical answers to your questions.

Once you have answers in hand, you can optimize your content to drive greater engagement on each one of your campaigns. After a period of time, the cycle can repeat itself. Instagram, as a platform, goes through ongoing and continuous updates, which means there are always opportunities to improve the quality of the content on the channel.

Find ways to minimize Instagram costs

Improving the quality of your content is a process you can control. As you increase the conversion rates on your Instagram ads, you’ll get more bang for your buck.

You can also research some Instagram best practices to turn the channel into a machine for your business. When you use Instagram as an efficient revenue generating tool, you’ll make the strategy worth your while.

Instagram ad cost influences.png

Factors like time of day, or day of the week, should also influence how you manage your Instagram budget. The platform will increase CPC rates during on-peak periods. According to Shopify, Sunday evenings are the busiest times of the week for e-commerce purchases via Instagram. As a result, expect to pay higher premiums on Instagram during these times.


How much content is in your Instagram library? Do you have enough content to test your ads and run multiple campaigns? Shutterstock helps you create authentic content at scale so you can maintain an active and engaging presence on Instagram. Submit a request for a demo and speak to one of our specialists about how we can best help you create high-quality Instagram content.