How to Win on Instagram: Creating Clear Creatives that Attract and Convert
Instagram is the number one social media platform where people share and discover new places, products, and experiences. Brands recognise the importance of becoming a “storyteller” to attract and retain users via Instagram stories and Instagram Posts. In this article we will discuss why Hong Kong brands should take note and leverage Instagram, as well how brands can win on Instagram by focusing on the CCA Framework: Creativity, Clarity and Action.
Why Hong Kong Brands Should Leverage Instagram
Instagram is an effective way to capture the audience’s attention and to achieve mass reach. As of October 2019 there are 2.2m Instagram users in Hong Kong, accounting for 30% of the entire population. Millennials aged 25 to 34 are the largest user group recorded. The biggest difference between men and women is within the 25 to 34 age bracket, where the lead number of female users exceeds that of male users by 150,000.
Creativity: The importance of leveraging Instagram Stories
If you are new to Instagram and not yet that familiar with the different post formats, check out our articles on creative formats available on Instagram. If you are a seasoned Instagram user, though, let’s dive right in and focus on what matters most in Instagram: Creating compelling Instagram stories.
If your budget is limited and you can’t afford to ‘shoot’ video, an effective method to win with IG Stories is to use stop motion: turning a series of statics into motion video, it is an easy simple way to engage and bring across the brand’s message. The example below shows an Instagram Story we have created for our client Pair Pair Full, a Hong Kong startup designing and producing socks. Now you might think that socks are boring, but in fact Pair Full has a range of really creative designs that we have leveraged in our IG stories via stock motion videos.
Furthermore, instead of using one great picture, try to use a series of great creatives that tell a story. Though it’s important to ensure that you’re using high quality content, it’s okay to be a little less polished in your Instagram Story then you would be on your feed. The goal here is to post real, in-the-moment content that engages your audience.
Create content that makes use of speed as a creative element to capture and keep attention. When used well, stories can draw attention to the product and makes the ads feel both like they belong in the environment and more relatable. Test what methods work best for your creative and consider using text to emphasize key messages while also maintaining a clear focal point. Campaigns with mixed format assets drive higher value for lower funnel metrics than video or static only assets, so think about adding two or more assets with different formats into one campaign with multiple ad sets. The example belows shows an effective method to win with IG Stories using stop motion.
Instagram acts as an outlet where its users regularly share personal experiences as they happen. The most successful brands do this as well, the nature of these posts make a great channel. Brands tend to have more positive feedback with the audience showing a glimpse of the inner workings of their brand, as they appear more relatable. On top of this, Instagrammers despise anything that looks too “ad-like”. To combat this, we at First Page have a simple strategy to help brands create ‘native’ content without breaking the bank: We leverage ‘creative freelancers’. Note that these individuals are different from influencers or KOLs, as the size of their following is not a relevant criterion. Instead of that we help our clients find Instagram users that create compelling posts or stories that fit their own style. We then approach these individuals and ask if they are willing to create content that we can use in Instagram ads for our clients in return for a small fee, or just product samples. As these ‘creative freelancers’ are not influencers and often have only a few hundred followers, the chances that they agree are usually quite high – and costs are low. This helps our clients produce an ample supply of ‘native’ (so unscripted) assets that we can then use when running ads. Surprisingly, this type of content oftentimes performs better than more expensive, professionally produced ads. As a result, our clients get the best of both worlds: Ads that perform while saving budget on creative production. Below are examples of ads that we have created for our client M&B Jewellery using assets that were provided by ‘Creative Freelancers’.
Running Instagram Story ad:
Creative freelancer sourcing:
Creative freelancer ad:
Clarity: Deliver Key Messages (AKA Your Brand name) FIRST
Top performing creatives integrate branding and key messages at the start, preferably showing any logos, key messages, brand elements in the first 3 seconds of the story. After all, we have to be realistic and accept the fact that not everyone will view our Instagram Stories in full. Therefore we can only achieve brand building objectives if we can ensure that event those who have swiped left have had a chance to see our logo and thus an increased chance of remembering our brand (and later buying it!).
Also always design creatives with your objectives in mind. Stay focused on the brand and product objectives to meet your conversion goals. Call your audience to action: Adding a simple CTA such as “Swipe up”, or “Sign up” will impact the performance of your IG story ad significantly. Up to 89% of campaigns that emphasize the CTA drive more conversions than those that do not emphasizing the CTA. Thus do experiment with CTAs at the end of your stories that emphasize the action you want the viewer to take, as shown in the example below:
How to get users to ‘act’?
As an agency, one of the most common things Hong Kong clients tell us is “Instagram is great, but it’s not working”. In fact we surveyed some 100 brands earlier this year and learned that Instagram is one of the top channels that Hong Kong brands want to invest less in in the future. As we dig deeper, we often find that the brands that are struggling are making two mistakes:
For brands it is critical to leverage the powerful Facebook marketing algorithm to amplify the reach of their content. Especially smaller brands that diligently create great content might be having a hard time building their Instagram following fast enough and not see business results right away. Leveraging Instagram advertising (aka Facebook advertising) is key to getting results faster. So in other words: just sharing ‘organic’ posts is a great start, but if you want to Instagram/ Facebook engine to fuel your growth you have to feed it with advertising dollars.
Instagram offers three key video formats to create Instagram ads: single video ads, carousels and Instagram story ads. Single video ads offer the opportunity to create up to 15-60-second commercials. IG carousel ads provide more message real estate by enabling followers to swipe across for additional images or videos, allowing businesses to showcase more content in the same amount of space.
We at First Page have experienced that Instagram story ads that have a short (15 second), concise synopsis tend to perform better than long slow scenes, as fast paced narratives are more effective reaching audiences with a shorter attention span. Hence top performing ads have shorter, more fast paced scenes, created in mobile friendly formats, with bite-sized and fast-paced narratives.
Besides not investing in Instagram ads, the second mistake that we see is that brands are spending ineffectively. Facebook / Instagram offer a full suite of different ad formats. You have to consider how to use them to create a holistic experience that allows you to nurture users by first introducing them to your brand and then slowly moving them down the decision tree to eventually end up on your website or in your store, ready to buy your products. It is highly unlikely that someone just sees one Instagram Story, swipes up and shops. Therefore, having a concise Facebook/ Instagram marketing strategy is critical to driving actions and not just engagement! Get in touch if you would like one of our strategists to review your Instagram strategy for free and to provide you with a few pointers as to how to move the needle.
Effective AD examples
Posts that appear more approachable, showing organic Instagram elements.
Top performing ads have shorter, more fast paced scenes. The audience can consume stories content quicker, by splitting the two screens there is more content to look at, experiment with bite-sized and fast-paced narratives.
Easy access to links in Instagram stories
4 take-aways for sustained Instagram Success
- Begin with your brand: Show your logo or brand elements at the start of your creative. Then follow by your key message and your product.
- Experiment with CTAs: Your call-to-action (CTA) drives viewers to take actions on your ad. Emphasize the action you want your audience to take, such as “swipe up” or “buy now” towards the end of your IG Story.
- Keep attention with speed: The audience consumes story content in a much faster pace than other formats. Use speed as an element in the creative as an advantage to keep the attention of your audience.
- Accept that Instagram is a ‘pay to play’ platform: Creating organic content is a great start, but ads are needed to get results fast. However ,misunderstanding how to create an effective Instagram ‘advertising funnel’ will often lead to disappointing results.
If you have further questions on this or want to learn more about how First Page can help you, please do not hesitate to reach out to us for a free consultation!