How to Write Instagram Adverts that Convert

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With 31 million in the UK now using Instagram, you can be certain your customers are already on the platform.

However, reaching new customers on Instagram is not necessarily straightforward; organic Instagram posts tend to reach fewer non-followers in comparison to Facebook posts which can be shared and will appear in your newsfeed when your friend comments on them.

This means that paid advertising is a valuable tool for reaching new audiences who are relevant to your business and retargeting existing customers who are on the platform. 

Whilst great image/video and careful audience targeting is key to the success of your Instagram campaign, getting the ad copy right is just as important.

Here are our top tips for Instagram ad copy that converts.

Keep it short and sweet

Your copy should be concise and to the point. On Newsfeed ads, the first two lines of text will appear beneath your image/video, however the rest of the text will be truncated and will only appear if the user clicks ‘see more’. If you think that you do need to use more than two lines, ensure you keep your key message in the first 6-10 words, so that it is immediately apparent – most people will not bother to click ‘see more’ or read beyond the first few words.

Additionally, unlike Facebook remember you don’t have a Headline or Link Descriptions to highlight key words and phrases, so you are relying on your caption or creative to convey the message.

Tailor tone to your audience

Tailor your tone for your audience depending on which stage of the customer journey they have arrived at.

Your Instagram audience set up should separate your prospects into different categories and adjust the tone accordingly:

  • ‘Cold’ audiences: This audience represents those who have probably never heard of your business, your ad may be their very first encounter with your brand. You need to capture attention, describe what your product is and its benefits, as well as infusing some of your brand personality into the tone.
  • ‘Warm’ audiences: Those who have engaged with your brand, i.e. have visited the website, engaged with your posts in the last 6 months to 1 year, or past customers. Members of your cold audience may move into this audience once they have interacted with your content/website. This means they are probably already aware of your brand, so you won’t need to go into as much detail on what your product is, but you should focus more on the benefits to them or something new that they may not be aware of.
  • ‘Hot’ audiences: As per Warm audience, but engagement/web visit took place much more recently i.e. up to 1 week or 14 days (your audience should exclude recent converters). This audience may also include those who have abandoned cart at checkout. This audience is highly engaged and therefore it is useful to push a scarcity or time sensitivity message to encourage them to convert. You can be more familiar with audiences in this category as they ‘know you’.

Tailor for placement

Within Instagram there are a few different placements to choose from for ads.  It is useful to have ad creative and copy set up for all of them to ensure you are reaching your prospects wherever they are.

We have already gone into some detail about Newsfeed placements, which allow more text and are better for conveying more information.

Text must be overlaid on Stories and viewers only have a maximum of 15 seconds per cart to read it, so the text should be even more concise (4-5 words per card, maximum). You can format text however you like as an overlay, so make sure it is large and easy-to-read.

Reel ads are the newest placement option for ads on Instagram. You should rely mainly on your video to convey what your product is, as Reels are a very visual medium, however you also have a very short caption. This should be a headline of no more than about 10 words.

Include a Call-to-action (CTA)

Don’t forget to pick a suitable CTA button. This will depend on where your customer is at on their journey, i.e. ‘Learn More’ may be appropriate for Cold audiences, whereas ‘Book Now’ works for Hot audiences.

It is also worthwhile to convey your call-to-action in your ad copy; make sure there is no doubt about what the next actions for your customer to take should be.

Hashtags and emojis

Use hashtags and emojis to enhance keywords and themes. Hashtags aren’t functional in ads, but they provide a good way to highlight a key word and to make your copy more eye catching. Hash tagging a word already in a line of your copy, rather than adding a hashtag on at the end is a good way to do this.

If using emojis fits with your brand (i.e. your brand is not too serious) then they are a great way to catch the eye.

Use A/B testing

This is a great way to see what works specifically for your audience; ads manager allows you to A/B test 2 ads against each other.

This is very useful, as your audience is unique to you, and therefore what works for one brand may not necessarily be the best fit for yours.

The best way to ensure a reliable test is to keep all the variables the same, except the one you are testing. For example, keep your audience, geo-targeting and content the same, but alter the ad copy to see what kinds of phrases capture attention and encourage conversions and click-throughs.

Some things to avoid:

  • Avoid lengthy captions, you should convey your message clearly in a few simple sentences for best results.
  • Don’t use ‘Clickbait’ phrases or overuse hashtags/emojis/capitalisation. Instagram may limit the reach of posts which overuse these and it may also be irritating to prospects.
  • Make sure your ad complies with the advertising policies set out by the platform, or else it may be rejected and won’t run. Having an ad rejected multiple times may lead to you having your account suspended.
  • Using the same copy for more than a week may create ad fatigue, meaning a customer may see the same ad several times and become irritated with it or just stop taking it in altogether as it is too familiar to them. Keep messages fresh and tailor content to the customer journey.
  • Links in captions don’t work on Instagram, use your call-to-action button instead.

How we can help

At Agility we’re proud to say our passionate team implement over 500 data driven digital campaigns every year across the Visitor Attraction and Day Nursery sectors. We can create and monitor digital campaigns across different networks including Google, Facebook, Instagram, Snap Chat, Tik Tok, Pinterest, Twitter or Spotify.

If you like this article, then we recommend reading:
The Rise of Programmatic Advertising and Why Your Attraction Should be Using it and Using and Collecting Postcodes for Visitor Attraction Marketing

This blog was written by Claire Carson, Senior Project Manager at Agility Marketing, a boutique marketing agency specialising in Digital Marketing for Visitor Attractions.


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