Ads with tags – How Instagram and Hake can drive demand for your products on social

A few short years after the iPhone was launched, a little app called Instagram was born in October 2010. By December of the same year, 1 million users had signed up to the photo-sharing service. By comparison to the 30 million active users on Twitter at the time, Instagram wasn’t breaking any social media records. Fast forward to today via its purchase by Facebook, however, and Instagram’s 700 million users more than double that of Twitter. 

In addition to Instagram’s popularity among influencers, amateur photographers and wannabe celebrities, its user numbers have transformed it into an advertising platform that competes with that of its once rival and now parent company. That’s good news for those looking for an audience to sell directly to. With 63% of its over 1bn users using the app every day, [1] Instagram is the second most engaged social network after Facebook. Perhaps more interesting for brands, however, is that 60% of those 1bn users use the platform to discover new products. [2] 

Pushing product politely 

Instagram, like Facebook, has managed to successfully integrate advertising almost seamlessly into its user experience. While many sites rely on pop-up and banner ads to reach audiences, Instagram is a little more subtle when it comes to selling. Brands can create posts with purchasing links in them and also create ads that sit comfortably within a user’s feed and don’t jar when they appear in their Stories (for those not down with the kids, Stories are short video clips shared by users). 96% of US fashion brands can be found on Instagram using these marketing methods, along with over 25 million other brand accounts. [3] And 90% of Instagram users follow at least one of them. [4] That’s a good sign for those with something to sell. 

Pinpointing perfect punters

One of the major reasons advertising doesn’t have quite such a negative impact on Instagram as it does elsewhere is the way in which audiences can be targeted. By pinpointing those actively interested in a product or genre, ads on Instagram can be just as enjoyable as user-generated content if handled correctly. At HAKE, we love to create this type of promotion as part of our Direct to Consumer (DTC) work, expertly matching your products to the consumers we know will respond to them.

Precise promotion performance 

Instagram helps us out in a number of ways, enabling us to better promote your brand and its products in a more natural way with features like Product Tags. [5] They provide an easy way for consumers to view your products in the context of the app they’re in and quickly make a purchase if they want to, all without feeling like they’re being aggressively sold to. 

Let’s take cooking equipment as an example. Someone interested in a specific type of product, let’s say mixing bowls, might swipe past visually stimulating recipes and posts from Nigella Lawson and Mary Berry and then see your stylish looking culinary image next. If it piques their interest, they can tap on it, and a pop up (similar to those used for tagging other Instagram users) will appear over each product within it, showing pricing along with a direct link to more information or your website. Nothing drags the user away from their social media experience unless they choose to find out more or make a purchase.

Powerful platform properties

Product Tags can be used in traditional posts, and we can help you to design them up and link to your products in such a way that they feel as natural as browsing any other content on Instagram. We complement this work with other tools like Facebook Catalogue (which also works on Instagram) to seamlessly import your product roster, and we can also help you use different post formats like carousels and video to further enhance engagement. 

Our experience helping brands like yours to reach customers directly also extends to the more detailed, back end elements of Instagram’s platform. Combining our skills with some pretty powerful audience segmentation and analysis tools on Instagram, we can broaden the reach of your posts through ads, target those who have previously shown interest in your products or go after entirely new customers based on the tastes and preferences of existing shoppers using ‘Lookalike Audiences’. [6]

By blending our DTC skills, including strategy, design and content creation, with smart features like Instagram’s Product Tags, we develop comprehensive campaigns for your business that drive sales and boost customer loyalty. Using proven techniques and platform-specific know-how, we can ensure your products are seen by those who are looking for them without interrupting their social media enjoyment. In fact, when done right, your ads could even enhance your customers’ Instagram experiences.

We’re HAKE, the honest, approachable, knowledgeable and entrepreneurial digital agency. Get in touch to discuss how we can help you find your ideal customers.


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