Instagram Ads are an increasingly popular way to reach your audience on an emotional level and increase your audience overall. However, when you’re repeatedly launching unsuccessful campaign after unsuccessful campaign, they can do more harm than good. It’s time to take a look at your strategy and figure out what you’re doing wrong.

Here are horrible mistakes that you’re likely making with Instagram Ads :

Using Too Much Text In Your Images

People like Instagram because it’s image heavy, so if you’re putting too many words in the images, you’re automatically not giving them what they came there for. They will ignore your ad and keep scrolling as a result.

Many digital marketing strategists believe that images used for Instagram advertising shouldn’t have any text in them at all. That’s up for debate, but if the image doesn’t speak for itself, the image itself may be the issue or even the messaging behind it. The text in the ad should be supportive of the image, not the other way around.

You should also avoid taking perfectly wonderful images and making a mess out of them by putting too much branding over the top of them. A simple logo is fine, but the sincerity of the image diminishes significantly if users feel as if they cannot connect with the image on a personal level. Putting too much branding flare on the image makes it more difficult for your audience to connect with it.

Being Too Broad With Targeting

If your ads are reaching a lot of users but the ads they are seeing is not relevant to them it’s a waste of everyone’s time and money. Hopefully you already know who your audience is overall. The audience you’re targeting on Instagram should not be drastically different than the audience you’re targeting on other social channels.

Custom Audiences is a great place to start. It allows you to target users who have already engaged with your business in some way shape or form. Re-targeting will give you a larger conversion rate overall, ensuring the maximum return on your investment of the ad campaign you’re running.

Here are step-by-step instructions on how to use the Custom Audience feature within the Instagram Ad platform.

In addition, you should do a competitive analysis and see who they are targeting. Know your competition and speak to their audience! With that said, forming strategic partnerships with like businesses and promoting each other can also be fruitful.

Not Doing A/B Testing

Testing your ad campaigns before launching them full scale is crucial if you want to maximize the success of the campaign before using up all of your budget.

First, establish a benchmark ad and then run test ads against that benchmark ad. That way, you can isolate which components of your strategy are working better than others. There are four key metrics with this type of A/B testing — the content itself, the time of the day the ad is the most successful, the audience you’re targeting, and the creative images associated with the ad.

Straying From Your Overall Marketing Strategy

Many companies miss a valuable opportunity to tell their brand’s story by separating their Instagram strategy from their marketing strategy. If your marketing strategy is campaign focused, you can utilize Instagram ads as a pillar to execute those campaigns or even make Instagram a central component to its success.

Instagram Ads can be a solid vehicle to drive your overall marketing strategy to success. If you’re viewing it as a separate vehicle, your audience may not be able to follow. As a result, respond negatively or give you the silent treatment.

Not Listening To Your Audience

If you already have a web presence, use analytics and statistics to find out which types of content resonate the most with your audience. Just because it’s a different social media channel doesn’t mean that the same content won’t be successful.

Dig into your Facebook, Google, and Twitter analytics and find what’s working.  If one post on Facebook is far more successful than others, re-purpose that content and incorporate it into your Instagram Ads.

Alternately, if content isn’t receiving any engagement on other channels, don’t try to push it on Instagram Ads. Your audience has told you that they don’t relate with the content with their silence. Listen to them. 

Using The Wrong Hashtags

If you use hashtags that no one else is using, your ads will not be seen by as many users. It could be a matter of adjusting the hashtags you’re using based on your intuition by one or two letters in many cases.

With so many great free and inexpensive tools to research trending hashtags, there’s no reason to guess which hashtags to use when you’re advertising on Instagram. RiteTag, for example, allows you to upload a photo and get hashtag suggestions based on real time hashtag engagement on Instagram. They may suggest a hashtag to you that you never would have thought of on your own.

Using Too Many Hashtags

Many Instagram advertisers are still under the impression that more hashtags means more engagement even if their campaigns are falling short. Don’t be one of them.

Instagram allows you to use up to 30 hashtags, but in most cases, that is far too many to use if you want your ad to be impactful and aesthetically pleasing. Recent research in the advertising industry suggests that fewer than 10 hashtags per post is optimal.

Using too many hashtags on Instagram ads runs the risk of confusing your audience and looking Spammy overall. However, the quality of the hashtag is much more important than the quantity. Put more thought into fewer hashtags instead of using as many as possible.

In order to improve your strategy, you have to admit that it needs to be changed. What is the biggest Instagram Ad mistake you’ve made? How did you fix it? Leave a comment!

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Get Familiar with Building Instagram Ads for your Retail Business

If you’re looking to Build a successful Instagram Ad strategy for your retail business we have a few tips to help you get started. To see how you can use Instagram ads for your retail business, check out our pillar page on how to Build a successful Instagram ad strategy for your retail business.