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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.

The Most Popular iPhone and iPad Apps of All Time

With Apple’s much-anticipated keynote happening today, a list of the most popular iPhone and iPad Apps has been released. We take a look at the iOS App Store’s history and your favourite apps in the past five years.

Today Apple announced three things coming this spring: an updated Apple TV, a gigantic iPad and new iPhones. With the iOS9, it’s extraordinary to see how far the iPhone has come in less than a decade.

When the original iPhone was released in 2007, there was no App Store at all. In 2008, the App Store was first launched with only 500 apps. That number has grown to over a million apps that are creating mobile experiences, enriching and empowering our lives.

So what are the iOS Apps that have stood out from the crowd to top the App Store rankings?

The latest report from analytics firm App Annie have crowned the most popular iOS apps of all time. We review the top downloaded and grossing apps to see how they have become so widely used today.

 

Top Apps by Downloads

Top All-Time Worldwide Downloads

Facebook, Google and Apple dominate the list of the top 10 most-downloaded apps with 8 of the spots. Facebook alone claims 4 of the spots. Along with their main app coming in first, others on the list include Facebook Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp. Skype and Twitter are the only apps from other companies, coming in at fifth and ninth place, respectively.

So what do these rankings tell us about the iOS app market?

Well, they do reveal that even as iPhones are updated and operating systems evolve, user habits have not changed much in the past few years when it comes to our favourite apps. Although most of the apps featured in the top 10 are over 4 years old, they all continue to attract millions of downloads per month.

Also of note is that over half of the apps are based around strong social networking and sharing features. This should be no surprise when most users install social apps first after getting a new iPhone or iPad.

 

Top Apps by Revenue

Top All-Time Worldwide Revenue

When it comes to the apps that make the most money, the top 10 is a lot different from the All-Time Downloads, with Skype being the only one featured on both lists. However, the winners on this list seem quite logical considering that most of the top-grossing apps are entertainment and dating apps.

When compared to the top-downloaded apps, the top-grossing apps are represented by a much wider selection of companies, with LINE being the only one to claim multiple top 10 spots. As noted by The Cheat Sheet, Pandora Radio’s top ranking was driven by the US, which contributed practically all of it’s revenue.

At $9.99, Apple’s word processer Pages is the only app featured that generated revenue entirely from paid downloads. All the other apps on the list apply a variation of the freemium model. To find out more about the monetisation models you can apply to generate app income here.

 

Top Apps by Usage

Using the top 10 most-downloaded and highest-grossing lists, all of the most popular iOS apps were compared based on monthly active users (MAU).

Tops App by Usage

When it comes to app usage, many of the most downloaded and top revenue apps are also ranked in the top 10 by MAU. The exception here is China where, quite remarkably, none of the 19 apps in the download and revenue rankings are among the top 50 apps by MAU. This can be attributed to users in China having a strong preference for local apps that provide similar functionality to their global App Store counterparts.

 

Key Takeaways

Everyone has their personal favourite apps.  Then there are those universal ones that seem nearly required for every iPhone and iPad, e.g. Facebook. You might have guessed the most popular apps correctly or been close, just by looking at your phone.

Also note that apps with strong social and sharing features take up over half of the top 10 most-downloaded list. Referred as ‘The App Effect’, mobile users are looking for the next app experience that will change their lives. The most popular iPhone and iPad apps provide this.

So what are some of your favourite iOS apps? Let us know in the comments below.