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How to Improve Your Instagram & Facebook Advertising in 2019

  • Written by  Brian Bowman, Consumer Acquisition

0aaabrian-bowman-headshot 1In 2012, the world's largest social media conglomerate, Facebook, acquired Instagram for $1 billion. Combined, the two social platforms have a whopping 3.23 billion monthly active users. With such a large audience, it's no wonder Facebook and Instagram ads have become a high priority for marketers.

Here are the best practices for developing strong ad creative to engage your audiences and generate maximum ROI on Instagram and Facebook:

Creative Tips to Boost Your Instagram Ads

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Since its inception in 2010, Instagram has evolved into a mature visual platform with a variety of ad formats including Story, Carousel, Slideshow, Video and Single Image. Each of these layouts have different ways of showcasing your Instagram ad creative and getting your content noticed.

The scale and discoverability of Instagram profiles has encouraged a many advertisers, publishers, influencers and organizations to place emphasis on Instagram advertising. Below we've compiled some best practices for achieving positive ROAS on Instagram:

1. Stories

Instagram Story ads appear between Instagram user stories for a duration of 15 seconds, or until the user dismisses the ad. These single-image or single-video, disappearing ads are a great way to inspire your audience to take action.

Story ads scale quickly and promote awareness, recall and sales. According to Instagram internal data, one out of every five Instagram Stories gets a direct message from at least one viewer. Take advantage of that stat by creating Story ads that include the following elements:

  • Visually compelling ad with bold colors, clean fonts, and a prominent logo;
  • Ad copy using four to six words;
  • A focus on your product offering;
  • Music or audio features; and
  • Swipe up feature directing users to your target web page.

2. Carousels & Slideshows

People love to swipe! Carousel ads and Slideshow ads leverage this trend, making them two very likeable ad formats for users.

Carousel ads generally include up to 10 scrollable photos or videos in the same post to give marketers greater creative freedom than a traditional, single-image ad. Slideshow ads are similar to Carousel ads, except the content scrolls on its own in a video-like format. Some best practices for creating these ads include:

  • Use high-quality photography or cinematography;
  • Add as many images as possible (Up to 10 for Carousel & Slideshow);
  • Include a clear CTA;
  • Tell a cohesive story; and
  • Demonstrate brand identity.

3. Single Image/Video

Single image photo or video ads are the most simplistic ad format that Instagram offers. With this presentation, advertisers are able to create up to 6 single-image/video ad placements at once to share with different audience segments. When posting this type of ad:

  • Minimize your ad copy — keep it around 125 characters and remember who your audience is;
  • Insert your website URL as a clickable CTA to drive traffic to your web site; and
  • Simplify your ads — use less text, add animation, and include a pop of color to attract maximum attention.

Each of these formats provide great reach, scale, targeting and retargeting capabilities to your ads. When running your Instagram ad campaigns, remember to execute constant creative testingto uncover your winning ads. Using high-performance creative and staying clear of creative fatigue will rapidly increase your ROI.

Strategies to Accelerate Your Facebook Advertising

In February of 2018, Facebook changed its algorithm. The current platform is radically simplified and rewards advertisers for adhering to Facebook best practices. In order to run a successful campaign on Facebook, advertisers must utilize the right campaign structure, leverage automation, and employ optimized creative:

1. Build the Right Campaign Structure

Make sure to have a clear understanding of your marketing goal before you start building your campaign. A Facebook best practice for campaign structure is to minimize the number campaigns within your account. This can easily be accomplished by creating campaigns that target a certain geographical location and employ the type of bidding that works best for your overall goal. Also consider:

  • Many Ad Sets per Campaign

When creating individualized ad sets, each should have a separate campaign objective, target specific audiences, and have a different bid type as to not overlap with other ad sets. This allows you to efficiently generate ads, drive minimum auction competition and enable Campaign Budget Optimization (CBO).

  • Many Ads per Ad Set

You are able to place a maximum of 20 ads in each of your ad sets. Each ad should be unique and employ a distinct combination of image, video, ad copy, and CTA. A higher volume of ads allows Facebook to identify winning creative more quickly and reduce creative fatigue.

2. Leverage Automation

Facebook's new algorithm allows advertisers to focus less on intraday bidding and budget changes with the help of automation. Facebook has enabled automatic bidding, creative optimization and budget functions to help advertisers build optimized campaigns simply.

  • Automatic Bidding

You now have an option to allow Facebook to perform real-time bid changes for you. To maximize the value of this option, it's best to train Facebook on which people are most valuable to your business.

  • Creative Optimization

Dynamic Creative Optimization (DCO) is an option that puts the right ad, in front of the right audience, at the right time, and on the right device. DCO leverages algorithmically driven creative that has been tested and optimized against your goals.

  • Budget Optimization

Campaign Budget Optimization (CBO) automates your overall ad budget to be increased or decreased in real time depending on performance and rules that you set. This option helps increase performance and decrease the need for human budget monitoring.

3. Focus on Creative

Due to the simplicity of Facebook ad automation, creative is left as the only true differentiator of ad performance. Remember to optimize your creative to match user experience, location, and device, and remain aware of creative fatigue. A greater ad spend leads to a larger target audience, which leads to faster ad fatigue. We recommend setting your focus on creative optimization and testing to achieve maximum ROAS.

With 95% of direct response creative failing to outperform top ads, we have found that a large volume of quality creative is needed to find the winning 5% and improve ROAS. You can determine your top creative through dynamic creative optimization (DCO) and split A/B testing, two automated features in the Facebook Ad platform. A few things to keep in mind while creating your ad:

  • Know your audience — make sure your ad will interest them and provide value;
  • Choose quality images — people love people, products, and good photography; and
  • Write good copy — consider tone of voice, keep length to a minimum, and appeal to your customers emotionally.

Final Thoughts

We now know that creative is the key to great Facebook and Instagram ads, which means marketing teams must operate with a creative-first mindset. If you don't have an internal creative team, don't worry! You can outsource creative assignments to a company that provides creative services. This can help your placements avoid ad fatigue, keep account performance up, and achieve faster ROI.

Keep these best practices in mind when running your Instagram and Facebook advertisements in 2019 to achieve the best possible results from your ads.


Brian Bowman is the CEO of Consumer Acquisition, which provides a creative studio, tiered fully-managed user acquisition services and SaaS tools for social advertisers. They’ve managed over $1 billion in social advertising spend and created over 300,000 videos for companies like Glu, Wooga, UbiSoft, Playtika Nickelodeon, JamCity and many others. 

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