Meta is constantly changing their social media ad game. This time, it’s all about two new ad formats on Instagram – ads in search results and reminder ads. These developments present new opportunities for marketers and open up many doors for businesses looking to engage their audiences. Brands can now reach consumers in never-before-accessed areas (like someone’s phone lock screen).
So does this mean that Instagram will become more powerful with its advertising?
Instagram is the eighth most-visited website, is one of the most dominant advertising platforms out there. That being said, it’s also increasing its rates. Instagram ads’ CPM increased 17% in Q3 2022 which means brands need to ensure they are getting more bang for their buck. So utilizing new ad formats appropriately is a must.
Let’s get into the newest couple of formats and how your brand can nail them for better traction.
What we know so far about these new Instagram ads
Instagram announced these two new ad concepts in March. But they are only in testing mode at the moment. Instagram plans on launching the new placement globally “in the coming months.”
Instagram ads in search results
Instagram seemingly has ads in every nook and cranny of the app. But there is one place they haven’t landed yet. Until now. When you search on the Meta-owned social media channel, you see a “feed” of results. Now that feed will have “sponsored” posts. You’ll know they are ads because they will be labelled as sponsored. But this means that when you look for a particular keyword – e.g. “beauty products,” brands can promote targeted posts related to that keyword. This feature expands the reach of Instagram ads beyond the traditional feed and story placements.
Instagram reminder ads
Another ad format in a never-before-seen place. Picture this. Your phone pings beside you – it’s an Instagram notification. But instead of the usual “@blahblah liked your photo” you see a reminder. “adidasoriginals limited edition Predator accuracy boots available to buy in 15 minutes. Tap to get ready.” or “vdeomax is starting a new event in 15 minutes.”
This is the new Instagram Reminder Ad format. It brings promotions to your lock screen, meaning you can nudge people before events, sales, and other actions.
Image Credits: Instagram
Why Instagram is introducing these new formats
In Q2 of 2022, Instagram saw its first ever revenue decline. The reasons behind this are largely under speculation. COO Sheryl Sandberg blamed the decline on the decreasing value of the Euro. But this drop has been amid declining ad sales.
Meta CFO Susan Li noted at the time that Q4 revenue in 2022 for the company remained under pressure from weak advertising demand. So Meta introduced these new formats to combat this and provide brands with fresh ways to target audiences.
Do these updates make Instagram a more powerful platform for social media marketing?
90% of Instagram users follow a business profile on Instagram, and 80% of users search for products and services on the app. So when you consider this, Instagram is already a powerful platform for social media marketing. Of course, it also means many businesses are already oversaturating the app. So, can these updates make Instagram more powerful for you?
It really depends on how you use them in a larger Instagram strategy. Both of these ad formats offer brands a unique opportunity to reach their audience at a point of high intent. They can help customers in the consideration phase move on to the conversion phase. The point is, you are unlikely to be targeting unaware consumers here, so you need to utilize these ads as part of a full-funnel social media marketing strategy.
Search ads aren’t a brand-new thing
While search ads are not new (Google has been doing it for years), their introduction to Instagram opens up a new way for brands to engage users on the platform.
TikTok also have a search ads system in the making where brands can bid on certain keywords to rank for.
Social media platforms that take on search ads, like Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook, will be entering into a whole new playing field with Google and Microsoft as competitors. So it’s a race to create an intuitive, systematized approach that will keep people engaged and not turn them off.
What do these new ads mean for brands?
These ads give brands more flexibility in their ad spend. But it doesn’t mean you have to use them.
Are these ads relevant to all brands?
This really depends on your marketing goals. If you want to boost brand awareness to unaware consumers, these may not be the right ad choices for you. But if you need more targeted efforts and want to reach people in their consideration phases, these will greatly help. Since Instagram is a highly visual channel, it makes sense that people will be searching visually, so products over services may be more appropriate here (although services can still also benefit).
Reminder ads are especially effective for brands hosting events or product launches. This can also serve to nurture current customers who are already invested in your brand. If a consumer doesn’t know your brand name or anything about you, a reminder on their phone won’t catch their attention.
How can brands begin to adopt these new ads?
So first things first. How do you even get started on these ads? Currently they are being tested, so if you can’t see the option for this in your ad manager yet that’s why.
How do you run an Instagram Search Result ad?
- Go to the Ads Manager.
- Select “Create.”
- Choose an objective (it needs to support Instagram as an ad placement).
- Click “Continue.”
- Fill in the details.
- Select “Manual Placements” in the placements section of your ad set.
- Tick “Instagram search results.” Make sure “Instagram Feed” is also selected.
- Choose any other placements you’d like.
- Click “Continue.”
- Complete your ad by adding details for your ad’s identity, format, and related links.
Upon approval of your ad, you will receive a notification. You can then track the visibility of your ad among users in the “Results” segment of the Ads Manager.
You can read more on the technicalities via Instagram here.
How do you run an Instagram Reminder Ad?
- Craft a fresh Instagram Feed post.
- Beneath “New post,” click on “Add reminder.”
- Input the title of your event and set the start time. If desired, you can also specify an end time.
- Finalize your post creation and hit “Share.”
Now, anyone viewing your Instagram post can get a reminder for your event. They will be alerted three times about the event: an activity feed alert 24 hours prior, both an activity feed and push notification 15 minutes before the event, and a final set of activity feed and push notifications exactly at the event’s start time.
Don’t forget the power of the creative
With more ad variations being launched left right and center, brands need to lean into their creatives now more than ever. One of the reasons ad spend may have gone down is because brands aren’t seeing as much traction as before. This is because a whole market of businesses is trying to promote their own content through these ads. To stand out, you need to think outside the box. Here are three tips to make sure you use these new ad formats creatively and competently.
Ads are helpful, but they don’t automatically get results. You need to weave them into a full-funnel marketing strategy to harness their power. Assess your long-term goals, stay consistent and build a marketing plan that works.
- Partner with influencers
Speaking of marketing that works… influencer marketing is one of the most powerful forms of social media promotions. In fact, 92% of marketers believe that influencer marketing is an effective form of marketing. With more ads coming into play, users are becoming even more skeptical of their favorite social channels. So brands need to lean into trust. And since 61% of consumers trust influencers, they are the way forward for advertising strategies. You can work with influencers throughout full-funnel marketing strategies too. They aren’t just for brand awareness or conversion, so keep this in mind.
- Assess and act
Using metrics to understand what works and what doesn’t is essential to a successful marketing strategy. Ads provide you with the data, so use it and reassess your content. You can do this with influencers too. Work with several influencers in specific niches and gather data on who is performing best. Then you can make informed decisions on which creators should be utilized for ads such as search result ads.
What these ads mean for Instagram users
These new ad variations, in particular Instagram search results ads, provide users with new ways to discover brands and products while they are actively searching the Instagram app.
Ads in Instagram search results appear when people search on the app. When people enter a keyword search tear into the search bar, they will see both ads and original content in their search results. This will not only help brands drastically improve their discoverability, but help Instagram users find the products they’re looking for much more effectively.
Meta’s introduction of these new ad formats marks a significant shift in the platform’s marketing capabilities. Brands can now access further opportunities to engage their target audiences in previously untapped areas, such as the phone lock screen,
Though these formats are in the testing phase, the increasing rates of Instagram ads necessitate that brands optimize their ad spend and capitalize on the new variations.
Ads in search results expand the reach of Instagram ads beyond the traditional feed and story placements, which will allow brands to target specific keywords and appear in users’ search feeds. Reminder ads offer a unique way for brands to promote events, sales and other time-sensitive actions.
While search ads are no stranger to the digital ad landscape, their introduction on Instagram signifies a new opportunity for brands to engage users on the platform. We’re also seeing Instagram join forces with TikTok in taking the fight to search giants like Google and Microsoft, as social looks to continue its disruption of the search market.
Are you a brand looking to scale using Instagram marketing? Goat is a global social media agency with expertise in Instagram marketing. We deliver organic, paid and influencer strategies and activations for our brand partners. Get in touch with us today!