You may have spent hours perfecting an Instagram ad with eye-catching visuals, compelling copy, and a killer call-to-action. However, after running the ad for a few days, you realize the numbers are not what you expected.
You are not alone in this. Almost 60% of small businesses fail at Facebook and Instagram ads, losing more money than they make.
But the 40% are still doing well with Instagram ads. There must be something that these companies are doing differently with Instagram Ads optimization.
In this article, we’ll discuss what separates a winning ad from an underperformer and 10 ways to optimize Instagram ads. To join the 40% of businesses who improve Instagram ads performance with Instagram ads optimization, continue reading.
When to optimize your Instagram ads performance
Before we jump into optimizing Instagram ads, knowing when to optimize Instagram ads is crucial.
Most marketers think of optimizing their Instagram ads when they start losing money. However, there are other times (before losing money) when you’ll need to optimize your Instagram ads.
- Conversion rates are low despite a good number of clicks and engagement
- ROAS is stagnant even after several weeks of running the Instagram ad campaign
- Impressions and views are high, but CTR and other engagement metrics don’t align
- CPA suddenly increases, affecting ROI despite consistent ad spend
- Engagement is high in terms of impressions, but likes, comments, and shares don’t follow suit
- You need to optimize or reallocate budget
For example, you can use a cross-channel PPC dashboard to check what platforms perform better and make sure your ad budget goes where it brings the most conversions.
Below is a free Ads overview dashboard template from Coupler.io that can help you implement Instagram Ads analytics.
We will explain this in more detail in the automated reporting section.
Now, let’s see how to make your Instagram ads more efficient.
10 ways to optimize Instagram ads
With more than 1 billion monthly active users, Instagram is ranked as the 4th most popular social network. When the audience is huge, so is the competition. Along with other brands, you are also competing against friends and family for attention.
To get ahead of all this and succeed with social media ads, we’ve compiled a list of 10 ways to optimize Instagram ads.
1. Create a funnel using reel ads
It is difficult to convert cold audiences. Anyone who sees your ad for the first time will mostly not want to buy from you, even if they connect with your brand. So, it is on you to build this trust with your audience.
One way is by showing the same ads to the same people repeatedly. Either the user will check out what you offer, or they’ll be annoyed with repetitive ads.
The best way to not annoy your audience but build trust is by creating a funnel using Instagram reels. To do this, you must map the customer journey of your audience.
But why reels?
Because reels take up 30% of the time people spend on Instagram. Reel ads are still untapped, which means less competition and more reach.
Step 1 – Awareness.
Create one specific reel ad with an awareness campaign objective to attract your ideal customer. Make sure it does not look like an ad and should be content-based on a topic that resonates with them and is also closely related to the offer you’ll be making.
Keep the targeting wide open and set the campaign engagement type to video views. The placements for this ad should be Facebook reels and Instagram reels.
Step 2 – Engagement
Select the campaign objective as engagement and set the targeting to anyone who watches the first reel ads for more than 3 seconds.
Create 4 to 6 value-based reels (How-to, Advice style, Actionable tips, etc.) to each hit on different psychological triggers.
Step 3 – Leads
Finally, create a campaign with the ‘leads’ as the objective and target the people who engaged with your value-based reels. This will be a conversion-focused reel ad that talks about a single offer that your audience cannot refuse.
This is one way to use reel funnels to optimize Instagram ads. You can explore and experiment to find what works for you.
2. Use multiple and fast scenes on reel ads
Research has shown that the average attention span of humans is 8.25 seconds. That explains the endless scrolling on social media. The quicker it catches someone’s eye, the better. Your instagram video ads should grab the attention and also hold on to it.
Reel ads with short and to-the-point scenes perform better than those with long and cinematic scenes.
You can nail these types of Instagram ads with these steps.
- Choose some high-energy music that sets the pace and keeps the viewers locked in.
- Have multiple 1-2 seconds high-quality video scenes ready and add them to the reel.
- Add narratives that are quick to get to the point and easy for viewers to understand.
- Add closed captions for viewers to consume content when on mute.
You are not just getting more views, but you are also increasing engagement by providing value in every second.
3. Try carousel ads to drive engagement
While most people think of carousel ads as a way to add multiple products or features, they’re also a suitable ad format for storytelling.
You can add from 2 to 10 slides. Each slide is a chapter of the story. The first slide hooks your audience, introducing the ‘problem’ or ‘opportunity’ in a compelling way.
The following slides can talk about the ‘journey,’ showing how your product or service solves that problem or takes advantage of the opportunity. You can also include customer testimonials or case studies to build trust and credibility.
The last slide is about concluding the story with a strong CTA.
Alternatively, you can start your carousel with a compelling CTA and then tell the story behind it in the rest of the slides.
Storytelling adds emotions to carousel ads. It informs and connects with your audience on a deeper level at the same time. With carousel ads, a simple ad can turn into an engaging narrative that people would want to finish.
Similarly, you can also use Instagram story ads to tell your brand story.
4. Use frameworks to write better ad copy
Writer’s block is true!
Even after writing countless ad copies, sometimes you go blank on what and how to write. You have all the ideas hitting your brain at once or nothing at all.
In the middle of all this, you write a mediocre ad copy that results in a low ad performance despite the striking visuals.
To avoid this, use writing frameworks. They take away the guesswork and help you write decent ad copy with minimal effort. There are many writing frameworks in copywriting, but we’ll discuss a few relevant ones that make sense for writing effective Instagram ad copy.
- PAS (Problem, Agitate, Solution): To use this framework, you must have a detailed idea about your audience’s pain points. Talk about a single pain point and agitate the user, showing them how it can affect them big time. Your product/ service can be presented as a solution to the agitated problem.
Example of PAS:
- AIDA (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action): As we said earlier, getting Instagram users attention is becoming difficult every day. But if we crack it, then we have an ad copy that can result in a successful ad campaign.
The attention element can be a weird statistic, an unexpected statement, or a result the audience expects – anything that will stop them from scrolling.
Now, interest them in the story with facts and uses. Convince the audience that they want and desire what you are offering. And finally, lead towards a specific action.
Example of AIDA:
- FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out): No one wants to be left behind. That is why we subscribe to email newsletters, listen to news, and have discussions with colleagues – to be connected with the world and not miss out.
The same applies to ad copy as well. It is mainly used for events and conferences. Because people don’t want to miss the event and so they buy the ticket to avoid the fear of missing out.
Example of FOMO:
5. Leverage Instagram’s advanced ad targeting features
Relying solely on estimated demographics can be a shot in the dark. By using Instagram’s Custom and Lookalike audiences you can improve your Instagram ad performance and ROI.
Custom audience is where you target people who have interacted with your brand. They might have visited your website, downloaded your app, or engaged with your content. These people already know about you and are interested in your brand, making it easier to optimize Instagram ads.
You can create a custom audience by choosing the source as shown in the image.
Lookalike audience is where you target people similar to your custom audience. It is a smart and effective way to target people who are more likely to be interested in your brand and get you new customers at a lower CPA.
You can select the lookalike audience source and the % of people you want to target like them. If you are an ecommerce website running ads, you can retarget people who added products to the cart as well.
Now, you have an effective targeting strategy. Use custom audiences to nurture existing leads from lead generation campaign and lookalike audiences to find new people interested in your brand.
6. Keep an eye on your competitors with Facebook Ad Library
The Facebook ad library is a public database where you can find all the ads run on Facebook and Instagram. You can use it to spy on your competitors’ ads and understand what is working and not working for them.
You can view all the creative elements of the ad, like images, videos, and ad copy. While you cannot measure the Instagram ads performance metrics of your competitors, you can see how long the ad is running.
If it has been there for quite a while, then it is working for your competitor, and maybe you can try something similar. If it is removed in a short time, then there is something wrong with the ad – analyze what went wrong and be cautious to not repeat those mistakes yourself.
7. Plan a collaboration ad with a micro-influencer in your industry
49% of consumers seek guidance from social media influencers before making a buying decision.
That is a little less than half your potential customers, giving you every reason to plan a collaboration with a micro-influencer.
But why only a micro-influencer? Because they outperform the bigger influencers, have better engagement rates, and are cost-effective.
Now, brainstorm collaboration ideas and create branded content. The influencer will post this brand on their creator’s Instagram account, adding you as a paid partner. Manage settings on your Instagram business account accordingly.
The branded content will now appear on your feed as Instagram posts. To promote this content as ads, ask the influencer to toggle the option ‘Allow business partner to promote’
8. Use A/B testing
Instagram algorithm can be unpredictable. There are no hard and fast rules that will work for everyone.
Even for a seasoned digital marketing professional, A/B testing is gold when running ads for a new audience or using new visuals. A/B testing is the process of running two or multiple similar ads by tweaking a single variable to find out which works best for you.
Let’s understand this better with an example. You are confused between two ad copies and want to know which one will resonate with the audience the most. Now you run two different ads, only changing the ad copy and keeping everything else the same for A/B testing.
The one with better metrics like CTR, engagement, and CPM is your winner. This way, you will not lose money on a single ad. Instead, you will divide the daily budget into two ads to find out what works.
Do not rush based on initial results. Sometimes, ads need time to gain traction.
9. Experiment with a new campaign bid strategy
The common types of bid strategies include Lowest Cap, Cost Cap, and Bid Cap. If you are running a brand awareness campaign, then the lowest cap will maximize your impressions in the least amount possible.
The cost cap allows you to give a maximum amount you are willing to pay to acquire a customer, making it the perfect choice for conversion ads.
To find the perfect bid strategy that works for you, monitor your metrics like impressions, click-through rates, cost per conversion, cost per click, and more. Test and adjust your bid strategy regularly rather than sticking to a single one.
Because an incompatible bid strategy will either make you spend a lot with minimal results or restrict you from reaching your target audience.
Instagram ads are great to get the right customers for your business. But not enough to manage all the ad operations efficiently. Third-party tools for social media help you design impressive visuals, automate A/B testing, and get AI insights to improve your Instagram ads performance.
If you are experimenting with a new audience, then AdEspresso is for you. It will create multiple ad set variations for A/B testing in a few minutes. You can test these combinations to find the best one that can improve Instagram ads performance.
You only have 3 seconds before a user scrolls away. Therefore, having eye-catching visuals is something you cannot ignore. Canva can be the best tool for anyone who wants to try designing. Even if you are a beginner at design, the in-built templates will help you create attention-grabbing visuals in no time.
If you are looking to scale your advertising efforts, then try Smartly.io. It helps you create, launch, and optimize Instagram ads across multiple social media channels, including Instagram. With features like automated budget allocation, creative testing, and performance analytics, it can improve Instagram ads performance.
Madgicx is an all-in-one advertising platform designed to manage and optimize Instagram ads, Facebook ads, and Google ads. It leverages artificial intelligence to provide automated ad strategies, audience targeting, and creative insights. With features like performance analytics and ad creation tools, Madgicx aims to simplify the complex process of running multi-channel ad campaigns.
Pro Tip: Measure Instagram ads performance regularly
What worked yesterday might not work today. Instagram algorithms are constantly changing from day to day, and so are the preferences of the target audience.
You need to measure Instagram ads performance regularly to give you an edge in running successful campaigns and avoid losing money. However, the native reporting on Facebook Ads Manager has limited options for analyzing and visualizing the ad data. If you run multiple campaigns from different accounts, then you’ll be spending most of your time building the same reports over and over again.
The best solution is to turn to automated reporting using Coupler.io to measure Instagram ads performance regularly.
Coupler.io is a data automation and analytics solution to turn raw data into meaningful reports. It can connect Instagram ad data with visualization tools like Looker Studio. Along with Instagram, it can collect data from 70+ apps, including Google Ads, LinkedIn Ads, and more. You can automate your whole PPC reporting with self-updating data and cross-channel reports to improve Instagram ads performance.
To automate your Instagram ad reporting with Coupler.io, create a Coupler.io account. Then Add a new importer and select the source and destination. For destination, you can choose the desired visualization tool from the drop-down.
Configure the connections to have your Instagram ad data pulled automatically to measure Instagram ads performance.
You can also add other data sources from other marketing channels, like Google ads, LinkedIn ads, Bing ads, etc., in the same report to create a cross-channel dashboard on the visualization tool.
Now, you can build interactive dashboards on any one of the visualization tools (Looker Studio and Power BI) to measure Instagram ads performance.
Based on the data refresh schedule, your Instagram ads optimization data will be automatically refreshed on your dashboards and reports.
If you struggle to build these dashboards from scratch, you can use Coupler.io’s dashboard templates and improve Instagram ads performance with these dashboards.
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Improve Instagram ads performance and boost ROI
We have covered some of the best ways to optimize Instagram ads and boost the ROI of your ad campaigns. From writing effective ad copy with copywriting frameworks to leveraging Instagram’s advanced targeting options, we’ve covered strategies that are both practical and impactful.
As social media changes every day, it is important to prioritize A/B testing and measure Instagram ads performance data regularly. Instead of manual reporting, use data-integration tools like Coupler.io to easily visualize data on Looker Studio and Power BI. Knowing how your ads perform will allow you in Instagram ads optimization, which can ultimately improve your conversions and ROAS.Back to Blog