It’s time to reconsider how you use Instagram’s advertising tools for your business. With the platform’s continuing development, new ad placements and algorithm changes, the creatives, captions and CTA that worked in the past might not deliver the same CPC, reach and engagement in the near future.
Brands are growing concerned about where to spend their main social media marketing budgets. Over 50% of social media marketing budgets are spent inefficiently because of poor creatives, mixed messaging, limited ad types and unfortunate ad captions.
With this article, I want to explore how we optimized ad strategies on Instagram for GLAM LAB London, which allows freelance beauty professionals in the U.K. to register and list their services, which clients can book. The purpose of the marketing campaign on Instagram was to raise awareness about the service and generate leads.
Image or video ad creatives?
At first, I was hesitant about testing image ads just to see how they performed and comparing them with the performance of our video ads.
Quick research showed that video ads generate three times more engagement than other formats. I still ran a quick campaign for a couple of days with an image ad, among other formats, and found that Instagram’s algorithms were reluctant to push image ads:
I therefore decided to instead use video ads. I started with two video creatives that went viral on Instagram Reels (generating 21,000 and 5,000 views) to test the algorithms and targets. We ran one six-second video of a girl that first showed her without any makeup and then transitioned to her post-makeup to music, and a 13-second video showing a client struggling with makeup and ordering our service in the end.
I used a general ad description with a CTA to book the service on our website, targeting a generic audience — women from London, aged 18-55. I chose all three Instagram ad placements (Reels, Stories and Feed Posts) and the average results were:
I had already heard that Instagram Reels could be more expensive than other placements but didn’t expect such a big difference. The same creatives can perform at almost half the cost if used on different ad placements.