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An App Entrepreneur’s Guide to Instagram Advertising

Instagram reached two important milestones in 2015. Neither of them had anything to do with Taylor Swift or Justin Bieber. Firstly, Instagram surpassed Twitter to become the second biggest social media platform in the world, after its parent company Facebook. Secondly, and most importantly for this blog topic, Instagram activated its advertising API for marketers to use in their advertising collateral. Read on to find out how Instagram ads can help get your app more downloads in 2016.

As we have stated in one of our previous blogs, businesses are moving away from traditional advertising channels and taking advantage of social media’s powerful influence on society. Instagram is following Facebook’s lead on advertising and now allowing small businesses, as well as large companies, to advertise within the app. We have seen the benefits of Facebook advertising for small businesses but can Instagram Advertising have the same effect?

According to eMarketer, Instagram’s global mobile ad revenues will reach $2.81 billion by 2017. This will account for over 10% of parent company Facebook’s global ad revenues, surpassing Twitter and Google’s ad revenues altogether. This indicates that Instagram will quickly become a leading platform for advertising. As a rsult, early adopting businesses will reap the rewards of using the Instagram app for mobile marketing.

Instagram Mobile Marketing

Instagram’s Ad revenue is set to surpass Google and Twitter by 2017. Source: eMarketer

But how will Instagram ads be different from what’s in our feed’s now?

Previously, Instagram ads were targeted based on country, gender and age. Now Instagram will use an algorithm, which incorporates data from users Facebook profiles and Facebook ad buys, to make their advertisements more relevant but without a huge increase of ads on the average feed. This means that advertisements are going to be more effective as the relevant people are going to be reached.

So you’re an app entrepreneur that wants to make use of Instagram advertising, but want to understand the science behind what makes an Instagram ad effective. Here’s our top 5 tips and tools to creating adverts that are #instagood.

1. Learn About The Different Forms of Advertisements On Instagram.

Instagram advertising has evolved quickly in the past year. There is now an array of options that you can apply for your Instagram advertising campaign. Lets look at them below:

Photo Ads

Photo ads are what users see the most in their Instagram feeds. They use high quality visual imagery to deliver your message and engage viewers. They are simple but extremely effective in reaching target markets and creating brand awareness. All these ads have a small ‘Sponsored’ icon in the top right corner to distinguish themselves from regular Instagram posts.

Video Ads

Video ads allow up to 30 seconds of creative video, including sound, to entice your viewer. The use of short video advertisements is rising and the benefits of video advertising are there for all marketers to see. However, it’s important to use engaging visual imagery to capture the viewer’s attention and not rely solely on sound to deliver your message, as the ad must be clicked on to for sound to be heard.

Carousel Ads

Carousel ads are Instagram’s newest advertisement feature. You can advertise your app using a number of different images in the same advertisement. Swipe right and the viewer see’s another image, with a different message or call to action. Swipe right again and they see another image. Carousel ads are strong performing and flexible, allowing you to use a number of different images and call to actions.

Instagrams Advertisements

The three Instagram advertising formats. Source: Instagram Business.

 

2. Get Your Advertisement Design Right.

The design element of your advertisement is crucial to the overall success of your advertisement. Unfortunately, just posting up an image of your product that hasn’t been given much thought will not get the desired response you are after. I’ve outlined some key steps to follow when designing your advertisements.

  1. Create a focal point in your image, which will engage the viewer and capture their attention.
  2. Make use of the rule of thirds and symmetry in your advertisements. Rarely place your focal point in the centre of the image.
  3. Use your logo subtly, not as the focal point, as it becomes a distraction and takes away from the content of your advertisement.
  4. When using text, utilise it to compliment the focal point and make the same fonts, one or two max, consistent across all of your posts. Only 20% of your image can be made up of text.
  5. The use of colour and contrast is key to creating a strong image. Use a plain background to help your focal point colour shine and make the image pop. When using a coloured background, contrast this with a white coloured focal point or text.
  6. Be consistent with your brand advertisement look. Your different advertisements should have a consistent look, whether it is similar compositions, use of fonts and colours or place of logo. This makes your brand recognisable and distinguishable to customers from other content.

3. Make Your Advertisements Look Native.

Making your advertisement look native doesn’t mean you need to have images of people from the depths of the African jungle in your ad. What I mean by native is making your advertisement blend in so it appears as though it isn’t even an advertisement.

You want your advertisement to look like any other Instagram post that might pop up on the average newsfeed. This means that you are not ruining the users overall Instagram feed by spamming them with obvious advertisements, much to the chagrin of many users (myself included!) and creating negativity around your app.

Instagram Ad Post

The Sprint ‘post’ to the left is clearly an ad, while the post to the right looks like a normal Instagram post. Source: The Verge

 

4. Use calls-to-action

Before Instagram allowed advertising, the only way to create traffic to your website was through putting a link to your website in your bio. Instagram was great for promoting brand awareness, but for directing users to a buy now page or prompting them to download your app? Not so much.

With the new advertising API release, Instagram has created Calls-to-Action buttons for use in advertisements. You can use these calls-to-action including, Install Now, Shop Now, Sign Up, Download and Learn More.

Instagram Ads Call To Action

These calls-to-actions can do a number of different things, such as opening a shop inside of Instagram or linking the user directly to their respective App Store for download of your app. Calls-to-action are making Instagram a far more effective marketing tool and all strong app marketing campaigns going forward will make use of them.

5. Make use of relevant hashtags.

Hashtags are critical to brand promotion, audience engagement and can be used across a number of platforms. Using hashtags comes easy for most of us on Instagram, but for advertising, you need to use them strategically. When used correctly, hashtags can reward brands with a larger audience and engagement outside of their local area. There are three different forms of hashtags that businesses can make use of.

Content Hashtags

Content hashtags, such as lifestyle, event or location hashtags, can get you views and click throughs from people who are searching for or using these hashtags. Hashtags such as #mondays, #coffeefix or #melbourne are all great examples of content hashtags that can be used to great effect in advertising.

Trending Hashtags

Making use of trending hashtags allows you to potentially promote your brand out to a large-scale audience, without the need to create the hashtag yourself. Businesses use trending hashtags such as #AFLGrandFinal or #fitness to effectively promote their brand and engage with a wider audience.

Custom Brand Hashtags

You can create a hashtag for your marketing campaign and promotions. Some of the top brands across the globe use their own hashtags in their posts, which become recognisable to their brand and can then be used by other users to create a community of followers and content around the brand’s hashtag.

They can be difficult to create and maintain, but if your custom hashtag becomes popular, the brand awareness can be immense.

A great example is KitKat’s marketing campaign featuring the hashtag #mybreak. KitKat utilises the hashtag across their social media pages and many other Instagram users upload photos of their own KitKat’s along with the hashtag, creating a community of KitKat fans and a growing audience.

Your Instagram Advertising Campaign Starts Now

Instagram advertising looks pretty straightforward. But without following these key steps, you won’t get the most out of the potential it can offer.

First, decide on what ad format you will use. Next, get your advertisement design looking on point. Your advertisement shouldn’t blatantly look like an advertisement – make it look native to the Instagram newsfeed. Use relevant hash tags to promote your brand and advertisements. And don’t forget to make use of calls-to-action!

Using those tools and tips above will help you design strong advertisements on Instagram and contribute more to the overall advertising of your app.

Do you have any other tools or tips to use for advertising on Instagram? Let us know in the comments below.

4 Key Elements to Write Blogs for Your App Startup

Photo Source: Essential App Marketing

Entrepreneurs need to market their App startups. When it comes to marketing an App offering online, content marketing through blog writing is one of the most effective methods to spread the word about your App and position yourself as an industry expert. But an effective blog post is not the same as churning out written content.

Effective content marketing is about telling really great stories that connect with your target audience. To write a great blog that attracts clicks, reads and shares from your target market, there are key elements that need to be incorporated.

As part of my blog writing practices for Launchpad App Development and our clients, I have researched the methodology applied by Online Marketing expert Neil Patel and formatted the key app marketing elements to accomplish the writing goals of successful App Entrepreneurs.

So, without further ado, here are the four key elements of a successful blog posts when marketing your app.

 

The Title

The headline is vitally important to a blog post’s success, as it is the first piece of content your audience will read. You may have put a substantial amount of time and effort into writing the blog, but if no one clicks it because the headline is boring, you might as well have not written anything to promote your app.

Research from Copyblogger found that, on average, 8 out of 10 people will read the headline, while approximately only 2 out of 10 will continue on to read the blog post.

So how do you create a title that has the power to draw eyes and clicks?

Use the following practices to create your blog headline:

Give yourself at least 30 minutes to generate a great headline

Do not rush the key element to grabbing the initial attention of your target market. Instead, apply a different kind of R&R once you have written the blog content: Research & Review.

Research articles that cover similar topics to your app product, as well as the titles of those that received a high-volume of shares and comments from readers. How were the headlines effective in getting the online audience to read the article?

Review the content you have prepared for your blog. More specifically, assess the keywords you have applied throughout your writing. This will help to understand the point you want to communicate in the headline and the keywords that will advance your audience to be engaged, read on and, in turn, download your app.

Include numbers to catch the eye of readers

Research has shown that including numbers in a title directly leads to more clicks and shares of the written content. Along with a subtitle of how long a blog will take to read (E.g. Read in 5 minutes), this technique helps the reader to know exactly what to expect, timewise. If a title includes that the blog is comprised of ‘5 tips’, no more and no less, than the audience can instantaneously make a decision on whether they have the time to read on.

Example: The title for Launchpad’s ‘Naming Your App’ Blog

✗   How to Name An App – Overused phrase in ‘How to’ with no keywords that express the blog’s benefits or prompt action from the reader.

✓   A 3 Step Guide to Naming Your App – Clearly states what to expect from reading on (‘3 Step Guide’) and engages the reader to do so (‘Your App’).

 

The Structure

So your title has persuaded people to click on your blog post. Now your content needs to sell your app.

Here’s some proof why content sells: In one study, 71% of B2B marketers  used content marketing to generate leads, and content marketing generated three times as many leads as traditional outbound marketing, but cost 62% less.

If you want potential customers to read on and engage with the content, you need to organise the layout of your blog. Organising the flow of the blog into easily digestible content will determine whether readers leave your page without care or stick around to get the most out of your app offering.

Here’s the model you should follow to engage readers with your blog content:

Introduction – Set the stage for your discussion

After the title, this is the next step to hooking the interest of your audience. Therefore, you’ve got to have a hook within your introduction. The hook of your introduction is where you truly grab the attention of the reader and is preferably achieved by presenting a problem that your reader desperately wants solved.

So what constitutes a hook?

A question is one of the most effective techniques to draw people in. Once a question is posed, our natural response is to look for an answer. Another technique is to tell a story. Depending on your particular audience, a story that readers can relate to is quickest way to grab the attention of your target audience.

Example: The hook in ‘How To Make Your App A Money Maker

  • How can you be sure that you are moving forward with the best monetisation strategy for your app concept? We examine the ideal business models available to help you generate the most revenue.

  ✓ Presents a premise that any App Entepreneur can relate to.

  ✓ Poses a question to prompt the action to read on and find out the answer.

Body – Make your points and explain them

Your planned blog is made up of any number of tips, steps, ideas or any other particular way to itemise your written content. Each of these points make up the body of your blog post. Therefore, each point must be something that your readers can latch onto by solving the problem you have presented to them in the premise.

Be sure to outline each point and explain them in a succinct manner with the use of subheadings, paragraph breaks and bullet points. Do this for each point you want to communicate to the reader. Solving your reader’s problem in this organised and clear manner will ultimately decides whether they respond to the call to action at the end of your blog or not.

 

The Visual Appeal

Reading text on a screen is a lot different than reading it on paper. Whereas a magazine article can feature long paragraphs and complex sentences, blogs need to be visually broken up in some way to help readers understand the content. Therefore, how you present your blog in terms of format, imagery and length is what will make the written content look professional and approachable to the reader.

Focus on the following details to improve the visual appeal of your blog:

Format – Use headings, subheadings and dot points

When reading online content, research has shown that Internet users gravitate towards shorter blocks of text that are broken up with space around and between lines. The reason for this is that many users often skim through online content in comparison to printed publications.

Therefore, you must format your blog in a way that allows the reader to easily speed-read through it, while still digesting the content and being prompted to your call to action. The best way to accomplish this is shorter sentences and paragraphs, subheadings for each point you are making, and dot points to communicate a concept in an efficient and effect manner.

Images – Use them to enhance the written content

First things first: The written content of your blog is the most important thing for search engine optimisation and to spread the word about your App. However, your blog will be more aesthetically appealing if it includes images that are complimentary to your written content. Therefore, you should have a goal to include 1 to 3 strategic images that help your readers and enhance your content.

Smartphones in the air

Content-relevant images enhance the aesthetic appeal of your Blog. Source: News Cred

Length – As long as it takes to say what you need to say

The ideal length for a blog post is a matter that remains under continuous debate. However, all the market research and data point to long-form content performing better in social sharing, search indexing, organic traffic and conversions.

Your aim should be to regularly create content that is in the 1,000 to 1,500-word range. As long as this written content is broken up into manageable blocks with strategically placed images, your blog will attract people based on visual appeal.

 

The Call to Action

The call to action is the way to achieve results from your blog post. The blog content has an eye-catching title, a clear structure and is visually appealing. Now that the reader is ready to respond, do, click and/or engage, you need a call to action.

What do you want the readers of your blog to do? Whether it’s capturing an email address, visiting another page or downloading an App, the call to action is the key to accomplishing this.

Truly effective calls to action begin and end with a strong, compelling conclusion to your blog post. The conclusion needs to feature an appeal – the reader should be invited to take the next step or do the next logical thing.

Example: The conclusion and call to action for this very blog!

Blog writing is one of the most effective content marketing methods for App Entrepreneurs to connect with their target audience.

In my experience, you need to carefully consider the Title, Structure, Visual Appeal and Call to Action of your blog to ensure that your potential app consumers engage with your content.

If you have an approach to app marketing that includes this blog writing methodology, you’ll start generate more traffic, build your startup and, most importantly, increase app downloads and user loyalty.

What other tips do you have for writing an app blog? Please share your thoughts and let other readers know!

✓ Strong and compelling in summarising the blog’s main points.

✓ Invites and guides the reader towards the next logical step.