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3 Disastrous Instagram Advertising Mistakes To Avoid

Note: The brands featured herein are meant to serve as examples, and are not Nanigans customers. Names have been blurred to protect the guilty. 

Instagram recently announced a new milestone: 200,000 advertisers have flocked to the platform since it rolled out the red carpet last September. Online marketers are clearly seeing value from the photo-sharing site; however, stiff competition makes it more important than ever to maintain high standards when it comes to creative.

If you’re looking to acquire customers and drive revenue through Instagram advertising, here’s what not to do:

1. Skip the Call-To-Action

Call-to-Action - Bad Ad Examples

You’re running direct response ads because you want to drive audiences to take a specific action (like an email registration, purchase, information request or app install). That means you need to design your campaign with these actions in mind, or else you’ll waste money on ads that don’t help you achieve any particular objective.

Try This: Motivate Instagram users to complete a task that actually benefits your business. Make it very clear what the next step should be.

2. Ignore Best Practices

Copy catastrophe - Bad Ad Examples

There are several mistakes in the example above:

  1. The space for ad copy has been completely consumed by an unclickable URL.
  2. The text overlay reveals little about the product, service or brand.
  3. The clip art doesn’t fit with the style of Instagram’s organic content, making it stand out for all the wrong reasons.

Try This: Creative guidelines are  vital for ensuring that your ads work on the platform. Take a “show, don’t tell” approach; on a visually-based platform like Instagram, high-quality pictures will always speak louder than words.

3. Copy/Paste

Uncreative Creative - Bad Ad Examples

In the example above, someone turned a flyer for an event into an Instagram ad and called it a day. This approach doesn’t work for several reasons:

  1. There’s no focal point to the ad.
  2. The text-heavy image violates Instagram’s rule that pictures can only contain a maximum of 20% text.
  3. Reading such small text would be difficult for Instagram’s mainly-mobile audience.

Try This: It’s easy to repurpose ads from other channels, but it’s worth stopping to ask yourself, “Does this campaign make sense on Instagram?” If it doesn’t, base your ad creative on stylistic elements that are present on the platform. A good starting point is to examine the content of popular Instagrammers, so you can craft your ads to speak to users’ interests and tastes.

Instagram Advertising: The Performance Marketer’s Guide to Finding and Scaling SuccessFree Guide: Find & Scale Instagram Advertising Success

Learn the creative best practices and advertising insights you need to drive revenue for your business on Instagram.

Get the Instagram Advertising Guide

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