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Hosted by  Akvile DeFazio, this week’s PPCChat session sought PPCers opinion about expanding their reach with Instagram Ads, Challenges faced while creating content for Instagram Ads, Native, and Expandable Stories Carousel ads, Finding success with Instagram Feed or Stories Ads and more.


Q1: Are you actively testing Instagram specific ads campaigns? If so, what results have you seen? If not, do you plan to test them soon?


We have been and continue to do so. We’re seeing a continual shift in better performance on Instagram, especially with Stories. There is great opportunity there to tell your story, showcase services/products, and captivate users with its interactive features. @AkvileDeFazio

Yep! Great results so far, though I constantly get advice from Facebook to ‘just engage all placements’ rather than using instagram-specific campaigns or ad groups. @JuliaVyse

Not to mention, it’s been an excellent source of sales revenue for our ecommerce clients, especially this holiday season. @AkvileDeFazio

We do them quite often. The most common would probably A/B testing a particular audiences engagement or conversion rates vs on Facebook. @MaverickAdverts

Yes! Though not really creating specific content for IG, just using the FB ads separated out on IG. Pushing to tweak to each subplatform’s vibe though. Results are promising so far. @NeptuneMoon

I have run tests on Instagram specific ads, with mixed results. Depends on the client and the industry. @jord_stark

Yes we are. I really don’t think there is a better place to build a brand than on IG. Especially ecom. @KyleShurtz

Seen great results so far with IG only placements. 8x ROAS so far… which I did not expect. @joshuadubs

We are and seeing good results when you make some specific creative for that audience. some clients do better on FB proper… so the break out is great to show them that too. @duanebrown


Q2: Do Instagram Ads work for any niche or are there some types of businesses where it wouldn’t make sense?


In my experience, I have yet to find a vertical that it that doesn’t work. While not all can directly achieve all goals using Instagram Ads, I’ve found it to be an important part of the holistic strategy as it ends up being part of the funnel at some point. (1/3) @AkvileDeFazio

They can technically work for all niches, it’s just a question of “is there a better place to spend this budget?”. You can only figure this out by testing. @MaverickAdverts

While some do perform better than others, your audience is most certainly is there, given the magnitude of Facebook’s and Instagram’s user base. If you aren’t sure if it’s for you, run a test and find out for certain. (2/3). @AkvileDeFazio

We’ve found it to be incredibly successful for our ecommerce and mobile app clients. What types of clients have you found it to work particularly well for? (3/3)  @AkvileDeFazio

Probably, but I’ll say we have success across several verticals with it. B2B, QSR, even utilities! @JuliaVyse

I think the way the world is today IG ads will work for any business if the strategy and content are in place. I think where it will fail is when it stands alone and doesn’t have remarketing or MA to back it up. @KyleShurtz

Ecommerce and restaurant/entertainment are great fits for IG natively. @NeptuneMoon

Ecomm for sure. $50-$100 product cost range. Especially if you’re going right in with the hard sell or giving out a free demo/shipping/return, etc. I’d say most of us need to work the funnel on IG though. Agree with what has been said (regardless w/ good strategy.) @timmhalloran

If the brand has a strong visual appeal… I can see it working with the right targeting. It does not work when you get served a basic AF ad that clear was just jammed in @duanebrown


Q3: What challenges do you or your clients face when it comes to creating content for IG ads? How are you addressing them?


We have some clients that either don’t have many assets or resources to update and create new ones as often as we may need. In these cases, we utilize still images and turn them into videos using Ads Manager’s very own templates through Video Creation Kit. @AkvileDeFazio

If you’re looking for some other creative and unique Instagram Stories and Feed templates, check out the following mobile apps that we enjoy using: TemplateApp, Unfold, Story Chic, or @lexlettered on Instagram. @AkvileDeFazio

Keeping up with the volume of creative needed to prevent ad fatigue. @jlynndupee

I have found that universally, clients are just unprepared for the pace at which they need to have new creative ready to launch in IG (and FB). They are stuck in older rhythms of advertising. It is like pulling teeth to get even half the pace that is needed. @NeptuneMoon

Cost. Enterprise clients tend to want perfect creative and may (yay) or may not (boo) invest in it. A strong habit of testing first to prove the investment, and then seeing it as unworthy because bad creative didn’t work. Classic. @JuliaVyse

I’d say balancing production value when you’re not sure if you’re hitting your mark. How much should you invest in something that might flop? and at the same time, if you aren’t spending enough, how can it? @MaverickAdverts

I think the biggest challenge we face is working it into our flow. Creative really is one of the best levers to pull but it also takes more time than tweaking an audience or optimizing other points of a campaign. @KyleShurtz

Having their team format creative correctly. Specifically if ur doing half Photoshop & half built-in tools. Making sure text doesn’t overlap etc. Feed: title is less important. Image is everything. Needs to get the point across faster than FB. No bland stock photos. @timmhalloran

Getting creative made is always a challenge… even if it’s just a question of time for bigger brands. Longer lead times and proactive planning helps. @duanebrown


Q4: Native and Expandable Stories Carousel ads have been a game changer for many of our clients. How have you been utilizing them? If so, how?


Unfamiliar with the difference between the two? Formerly called Prompted and Unprompted but recently having changed their names, Native plays up to 3 slides automatically while Expandable has up to 10 & user has to press “Keep Watching” to see more. (1/4)  @AkvileDeFazio

To learn more about Instagram Stories carousel options >>…. (2/4) @AkvileDeFazio

We’ve been using them to showcase different people wearing different products for some of our ecommerce clients. We treat them like regular FB carousel ads just larger, more interactive, and bring the products to life. (3/4) ) @AkvileDeFazio

While there are other variables to take into consideration, overall, we’ve found that Native ones work well for our client awareness campaigns and Expandable ones for remarketing. (4/4) @AkvileDeFazio

Absoutely – works well for promos or features, especially if there is a DTC/e-comm component. Certainly helps stand out IF you have the right audience. @SamRuchlewicz


Q5: Instagram Stories Ads broken out into their own ad sets perform tend to perform better. Are you grouping them with other placements or separating them? What results have you seen?


Initially, when Stories came out, we grouped them together. Over recent months, we’ve been breaking them apart and giving Stories their own budget. This way, we can create Stories specific creatives, run creative test, maximize our potential in that placement. (1/2) @AkvileDeFazio

In addition, it doesn’t have to compete with other placements and give FB/IG the control to possibly favor others and not give you a fair test. By doing so, we’ve seen higher conversion rates. Have you? (2/2) @AkvileDeFazio

I always separate them so I know they’re positioned to look JUST RIGHT for the format. After all, impressions last even less for stories where people are constantly tapping away. @MaverickAdverts

Always breaking them out — performance lift of 50% to 200% vs. leaving them in, depending on industry, overall performance, etc. No brainer right now. @SamRuchlewicz

I love placement ad sets. Makes optimizing and visualizing data that much easier plus you can plug in the proper creatives. I like CBO for the most part but can’t help do ad set budgets in this case. Curious how others manage placement ad sets for budgeting purposes? @KyleShurtz

For my BOFU conversions campaigns I have been grouping the placements together and have been seeing great results. However, I like @AkvileDeFazio strategy of breaking them out to use different creative for each placement. Something I am going to try. @joshuadubs

Finally getting clients to test separating. Just jamming a Facebook ad into all FB and IG placements is like having a social tool auto post the same post to all social networks… You want ads to be tailored to the environment on which they will be seen. @NeptuneMoon

Both. With native I’ll separate out the placement to be only IG story, sometimes I add FB story too. With non-native, I’ll do auto placements now & then to test. Sometimes performs better (lower CPA & CPM), sometimes worse because it cuts off text& image & looks bad. @timmhalloran

Mostly it’s included due to budget. Helps me not have to make a thousand ad sets for one campaign budgeted regionally. Hey FB, make a dang offline editor already!!!! @JuliaVyse

Results on stories this year have been better than other placements. Looking at about 1.6m in spend in 2019 combining placement data from 2 of our B2C clients, ROAS was 30%, CVR 97% higher, CPM 28% lower, CPA 6% lower than acct. avg. (had to pull from a deck) @timmhalloran

Giving IG Stories that TLC with an ad set and sometimes a campaign. @duanebrown


Q6: Instagram Story polls are great for gathering intel and driving engagement. What are some ways you have or could use polls in your ads?


The possibilities are endless! Some effective ways we’ve used them are to gauge interest in upcoming product launches, color/design/style preferences for products, and event interest. @AkvileDeFazio

If you haven’t tried interactive polls yet, you can select the “Add an Interactive poll” option in the ad level. @AkvileDeFazio

Have not used polls yet. thinking about it, but we need a social team with capacity to manage responses and (hopefully) excitement. Could be an option for my utility this spring. @JuliaVyse

I love this idea but have not done much with it. I think R & D is a big one that comes to my mind on giving the people what they want   @KyleShurtz

Have to use Polls more. I don’t do it enough tbh @duanebrown


Q7: Have you seen more success lately with Instagram Feed or Stories Ads? What did you find worked best for that placement?


For me it has depended on the goal or objective. I think Stories are cheaper and good for building your audiences and feed is where you can capitalize. (for the most part) always depends. @KyleShurtz

While both perform well for most of our clients, we are seeing Stories outperform the Feed more and more often. While there are caveats, we have found that the quality of creative determines the success & breaking Stories into its own ad set lets it thrive further. @AkvileDeFazio

Feed hands down. I think it’s a reach thing. @JuliaVyse

I’ve seen the same kind of thing as @KyleShurtz. Depends on the Objective and what you’re trying to accomplish. @jord_stark

It’s varied, but stories have done better for quick (usually brand-oriented) messages, while feed posts have been better for sales.  @MaverickAdverts

For B2C, stories is kicking butt. But agree w/ @JuliaVyse – totally a reach thing. Feed still is worth more to be just based on volume. Stories really can’t compete w/ that yet. @timmhalloran

On a per-dollar-spent level, Stories have done incredibly well over the past 3-4 months; but on an absolute basis, feed still reigns supreme. @SamRuchlewicz


Q8: In what way would you like to test Instagram ads this year, that you have not had the opportunity to do so yet?


I recently spotted this very creative example that I want to create our own spin on for some ecommerce client remarketing campaigns. It not only makes it engaging for the user, it gives them an incentive to tap further and to increase the chances of a conversion. @AkvileDeFazio

I am interested in the poll option. Let me know how that goes @JuliaVyse. Also, want to test more expanded story ads. @jord_stark

I think more non-traditional applications/clients — most of our IG story campaigns now are relatively intuitive (CPG/Fashion/Luxury), but I’m really curious to see if it can be used in a worthwhile way for something like B2B. Not exactly a test per se, but still…@SamRuchlewicz

I want to really dial in creative testing and planning. It really holds true if you fail to plan you plan to fail. @KyleShurtz

I hear DPA + IG Stories is going to be released more broadly, waiting on that for a few clients. Polls for sure; educating client teams; finding the resources to do it it all correctly. Like, @NeptuneMoon said, not pushing non-optimized creative into all placements. @timmhalloran


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