Instagram Made Me Buy It!

Instagram and online shopping go together like peanut butter and jelly.

Because Instagram has such an intense focus on fashion, travel, and lifestyle, it’s a perfect fit for many ecommerce brands looking to reach new audiences and raise awareness of their innovative products with an audience of 700 million active users. However, there’s a lot of competition these days for Instagram eyeballs.

Instagram is a known hub of influencer marketing, with makeup vloggers driving huge profits for brands; travel stars on Instagram sharing their favorite suitcases; and fitness models wearing the newest sneakers and workout gear. However, getting influencers to share your products can be incredibly expensive. Some estimates place it at around $1,000 per 100,000 followers — and it all depends on whether the influencer’s audience actually aligns with your target market.

But thanks to targeted ads, influencers aren’t the only way to reach buyers anymore. With the introduction of the new “Shop Now” button on Instagram ads, ecommerce brands are going wild creating ads to drive immediate purchases directly from the app. Instagram has opened up a whole new world of marketing for your ecommerce store, with direct access to targeted lists of buyers.

So how do you effectively market your ecommerce brand to shop-happy Instagram users? Learn exactly how to incorporate Instagram ads into your ecommerce marketing strategy.

Start with your target market

Online shopping is often driven by impulse, and Instagram posts can be great at nudging your buyers toward a purchase with a beautiful visual. Your target audience will see a product online and simply have to have it. However, first, you have to effectively target that ideal ecommerce buyer on the platform.

If you’ve ever created a targeted ad on Facebook, you already know how to do this. Using the same self-serve Facebook ad platform, you can create an Instagram ad for a specific segment of buyers based on attributes like gender, age, location. In addition, you can upload an existing customer list and find similar users with Lookalike Audiences.


Here you can see an example of an ad created specifically for the Instagram feed. It’s easy to customize and tweak your ads and messaging according to what your target audience is likely to respond to, constantly testing the click-through rates on your CTA. Many brands are also investing in retargeting ads that automatically pull in the specific product a user clicked on their online store. Then, the same product will pop up in personalized ads for that exact buyer when they open their Instagram account, driving them back to the site to buy.

Create Instagram-worthy ads

The challenge with Instagram is that it not only has to be the right product targeted to the right audience, it also has to have the right look. Instagram’s ads are incredibly effective in part because they’re interspersed with user-generated content, appearing natural and organic to viewers.

Since it’s a hyper-visual platform, your ad has to look absolutely amazing before you push it live to your specific segment of buyers. If you don’t put enough effort into the creative on Instagram, it shows. Your high-quality ad should fit in perfectly between Instagram images of celebrities, food photos, and adorable dogs.


This Rothy’s ad is a great example because it looks like a post from a stylish friend rather than a shoe brand. The colors, the lighting, and the subject matter are all aimed at appealing to their target market of professional women. The ad also takes advantage of the Instagram carousel, showing a few versions of the ad in one. In addition, you can use incentives in the ads to make them more effective. People look at your ad for such a brief amount of time on Instagram, if you don’t have a hook like a discount or an enticing announcement like a new product line, it may not work.

Coordinate across channels

Once you have your perfect Instagram ad, your job isn’t quite done. Ideally, you should coordinate the campaign across multiple channels including email, search, and other social platforms. Instagram is an incredibly effective channel, but it’s just one of many that you should be using to engage buyers. By creating a true omnichannel marketing strategy, your campaign will be everywhere your buyer looks, increasing your brand visibility and the likelihood of purchase.



Here you can see how an ad from Vineyard Vines is adapted for both email and an Instagram ad — promoting the same sale with slightly different copy across channels. The tone and style of your ads should change as you move across channels, even if the offer is the same. What you say in an email, you may not say on Instagram. Remember the nature of each channel, and customize and personalize it accordingly.

Instagram is yet another powerful channel for ecommerce and one that continues to grow in influence. If you haven’t experimented with Instagram marketing campaigns yet, it’s about time to jump on board. With the right targeted ad and some beautiful creative all integrated into a coordinated omnichannel strategy, you’ll see real results.

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