Creative Series Part 2: Improving Direct Response Ads

In Creative Series Part 1, we talked about what defines good creative on Instagram. Hint: good creative is just good creative. Since that post, we’ve studied ways advertisers can make direct response ads even more effective on Instagram. Unlike ads that raise brand awareness, direct response ads are ones that make the viewer take an action when seeing your ad. This could be anything from visiting or shopping on your website, to viewing a video or downloading a mobile app. On Instagram, there are a few creative tactics you can use to make your direct response ads stand out. Keep in mind, these tactics aren’t meant to be prescriptive, but help guide you as you experiment, test, learn and optimize your campaigns.

Stop Their Scroll

Stop people as they scroll through their feed by creating a single focal point in your ad. Like the creative from Everlane (@everlane) below, when there’s only one subject for people to look at, customers view your business as approachable and accessible. If you want to include more than one subject in a photo, consider using carousel or video ads to tell a deeper story. Whether you create a single photo, carousel or video, make sure there’s visual consistency among your ads — making them more easily recognizable.

When creating for Instagram, remember you’re creating for mobile. Think about the size of each element in your photo or video, and then view it on your phone before sharing.

Connect When They Look

Connect with people when they look at your ad by incorporating branding elements. 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. Like the example below, Harry’s (@harrys) uses branding in a natural, everyday way people can relate to.

When writing copy for your ad, keep it short and sweet. The copy should communicate what you want your audience to take away. Take a first stab at writing copy, and then try rewriting with fewer words to get the point across even faster.

Inspire Action

Inspire people to act on your ad by explaining what’s in it for them. The most successful ads, like this one from Hawkers Co. (@hawkersco) tell consumers what they needed to know — who’s this advertiser, what’s their value proposition and how can they learn more or even purchase this product?

Adding a relevant call to action button that aligns to your goal is key. While Learn More may work great for consideration, Shop Now may work better for conversions.

You can also promote relevant products to shoppers who browse items on your website or mobile app with new dynamic ads on Instagram and dynamic ads for travel. You just upload your entire product catalog once, and dynamic ads on Instagram will automatically show the right products to the right people at the right time.

In addition to these three tactics, remember: good creative on Instagram is simply good creative. The key to creative success across Instagram — or any other marketing channel — is relevant creative that’s well branded, concept-driven and well crafted. Follow these tried and true principles when creating your next direct response campaign, and see how the ads perform. Experimenting, testing and learning are key to long-term success.

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