Instagram is already home to 300 million active users (and still growing). From social media influencers to celebrities to top brands, everyone is busy engaging their target audiences on this Facebook-owned app.
An app-only platform shot to fame since its inception in 2011; all credits to visuals that kept audiences engaged. Social media marketing strategies evolved almost immediately, adjusting itself with the growing popularity of this visually engaging platforms.
Instagram has gone beyond just sharing images. In 2013, Instagram started allowing its users to post videos. At that time, videos had to be recorded on the phone and could last up to 15 seconds only. It was that time when Instagram videos were directly compared with Vine, the Twitter-counterpart. Instagram has come a long way since then, wiping out Vine on its way to glory. Soon, Instagram rolled out the ability to post 60 seconds’ videos in 2016. As days and years rolled by, Instagram started allowing its users to make videos out of clips from the camera roll.
Instagram evolved to become an easy-to-use platform, giving marketers the opportunity to communicate with their ideal users and create brand stories that will influence the buying decisions.
Brands have found interesting ways to create video stories. Not all stories need sound. Yes, you read that right. While we love sounds, it is not always required to make sense. If your users’ phone volumes are turned down or are on vibration, they will not hear the sound. That’s one smart move from Instagram to make sure users don’t leave the platform even when they are viewing these videos in public. Keeping this in mind is very important. Infact, this is one major mistake marketers make when creating a video for Instagram marketing. If you are thinking how to do it, take the clue from Oreo who’s done this brilliantly.
The video is eye-catching enough to engage the audience within the first few seconds, making them click on the sound (or if not possible, continue watching without sound with same interest).
Video marketing errors like these often cost marketers heavily. Imagine how the campaign would have faired for Oreo had the video made zero sense without sound? This is one of the many errors we all tend to make without quite realizing the same. Let’s go over some of the mistakes marketers make which can cost your branding.
The first one I’ve already mentioned above. Always remember that most of your users will have their sounds off by default. If you are making video content, it should be such that your users grasp the story without sound. User psychology shows that if the video is very interesting, your users may click on the sound in first few seconds unless they are in a public place or somewhere where they cannot put on the sound. Keep all options open while creating your video content.
Over to the next six mistakes now.
Bad fate struck the famous Italian Designer brand, Dolce and Gabbana when they released an ad that was filled with ethnic stereotypes. The video content showed a Chinese model trying to -and failing consistently- to eat several Italian dishes using Chopsticks. Apart from the sexually suggestive video content, users were angry over the way Chinese people were depicted having low refinement and understanding of culture.
It was not the end here. Infact, things escalated from this point. The campaign was soon followed by an Instagram DM exchange between founder Stefano Gabbana and Michael Tranova, a model by profession. In this conversation, Gabbana reportedly said ” the country of [series of poop emojis] is China” and “China Ignorant Dirty Smelling Mafia.”
No wonder, the Diet Prada post received backlash almost immediately with #BoycottDolce trending on Chinese social media site Weibo.
Later, Gabbana and his co-founder, Domenico Dolce had to apologize to the public. Later, they had to call off the campaign, which cost them millions.
Key Takeaway: Create a video content that is neutral, doesn’t hurt anyone’s sentiments and is less sarcastic in tone. Most importantly, try not being rude and arrogant after making mistakes. That’s bad manners, always.
Possibilities are endless on Instagram but like on all digital platforms, you need to have a proper strategy and a well-defined goal to achieve with your video ads. Create video content that adds value and acts as a catalyst in attaining your marketing goals.
Take a clue from Quest Nutrition on how to do this. This nutrition company creates health drinks and food products to help people stay fit. Reports show that Quest Nutrition grows their follower count on Instagram by around 15,000/month. And why wouldn’t they, given the awesome video ads they post on Instagram. Take a look at one of their “how-to” video showcasing their product and sticking to #CheatClean message and strategy all along.
Key Takeaway: Have a well-defined goal to achieve and build a proper strategy to reach there.
Wrong. It’s always the other way round – Quality over Quantity. You may have hundreds of videos, but if they are of poor quality (which can be poor video content, bad graphics, bad translations of sub-titles, or bad sound quality), it makes no sense. Your brand image will not go up, but will quickly slide down before you bat an eyelid.
We’ve always said, things escalate real fast on social media. Either you are loved and hailed for your ads, or you are pushed to the edge. Now, it’s your choice. For instance, if Dolce and Gabbana had paid little more attention to their video content, they could have avoided that wide backlash.
Another major reason why brands are using Instagram is that the shelf-life of Instagram posts are longer than on any other social media platform. A study from Simply Measured showed that the number of posts by top brands received 50% of their comments in over 19 hours’ time, and ten more comments adding in after 19 days. Now, that’s long in the age of click and flick!
Key Takeaway: Quality of your video ad will always stand out, even if you don’t post heaps of videos.
Yes, quality is important than quantity. It is equally important to be consistent with your ads. A study by Union Metrics revealed that brands post on Instagram about 1.5 times in a day (on an average). The same study revealed that brands that posted once every hour saw higher engagement rates.
Your Instagram strategy should include monitoring posting frequency closely. If you can determine the ideal number for your brand, you know you’ve hit the jackpot. Many brands post one video ad and then vanish. Just know, several brands are constantly creating new video contents and making them live on Instagram. If you stop playing along, you lag to a large extent.
Take, for example, MAC cosmetics brand. TOTEM Analytics show that MAC increases their follower count by 231K/month; PicStats revealed that each Instagram post earns 34K likes and 300+ comments. This brand is close to hitting 3 million followers, and the credit goes to its frequent and consistent Instagram posts. The brand posts several images and videos in a day that keeps the engagement rolling in crazily. On average, they post 4.54 times in a day without compromising on their quality.
Captions are an important part of your video ads. Most of the times, your users will look at your caption and the hashtags you’ve used to make out what the video might be all about. If you leave this part blank, you are leaving out a crucial opportunity for user engagement. Let’s agree to this simple fact – not all users have the time to watch the video immediately. The caption and hashtags help here.
It is rightful to mention that using the right hashtags is very important in this instance. If someone wants to search up your video ad later, they will use the hashtags to search. If your hashtags are inconsistent or wrong, then you lose out chances of re-engagement and recommendations.
Secondly, a good or quirky caption often adds fun to your video. You can be playful, sarcastic or serious – all of it adds to your video watching. Take an instance from the video captions that Indogspot uses for their videos. Each caption adds a quirky meaning to their videos which is instrumental in driving clicks, views, and sales. Also, take a look at their hashtags!
Your video ad has received a lot of likes and comments. You’re happy.
But hold on. Only likes and comments are not the measuring scales of your campaign’s success. Use Instagram Insights rather than relying on the number of likes you’ve received. Use Insights to track the total number of impressions, the actual reach of your campaign, and the type of actions your viewers did after viewing your ad (this includes likes, clicking on links in bio, follows, etc.).
Instagram Insights is instrumental in understanding your target audience. This understanding will help you in segmenting your target users and reaching out with the right kind of video content to engage them more. If your video content is not matching with the intent or interest of your ideal audience, then it will be hard to get them to engage with your brand. And you wouldn’t want to risk that, will you?!
Key Takeaway: Track and monitor your users, user behavior, and create Instagram video ads based on user interests and demands.
There are several challenges with Instagram videos, but those can be handled by avoiding the above mistakes. Take the upper hand with your Instagram Video Ads today with the right strategy, right content, and viral hashtags.