Advertisers who have been on Instagram for a longer period of time do offer some good examples of what to shoot for when you decide to invest more heavily.
1. Lighting And Detail
The image above is bold, high-contrast, and fits in well with organic fashion-focused images already being posted on Instagram. It’s a high-quality image that will stand out, but it fits the context of an Instagram feed.
Along these lines, make sure your Instagram images are high-quality so they fit in naturally with other photos on the platform. Avoid grainy or blurry images.
When producing creative for your ads, choose natural lighting over harsh artificial lighting. The more authentic your image, the better.
2. Delicate Branding
Photo ads on Instagram tend to perform best when they resemble organic content. While it can be tempting to feature your logo heavily, don’t let your brand overshadow your content.
If you’re going to include your logo in your ad creative, do so subtly. Otherwise, try focusing on an iconic brand element or signature color for memorable, but not overpowering, branding.
3. Minimal Text
Facebook has a fairly long-standing “20 percent rule” regarding text within ad images. Ads that have text taking up more than 20 percent of the accompanying photo regularly get rejected.
While Instagram doesn’t share this hard restriction, it remains a good rule of thumb for advertisers to maximize their ad’s effectiveness. Imagery — not text — should be the main focus of your ad creative.
If you use text overlay in your photos, look to stick to the 20 percent rule. Alternatively, try sharing the accompanying text in the ad caption instead of on the image itself.
For advertisers still looking to get started on Instagram, these tips and stats should at the very least give you an idea of what to expect and how to best structure your initial strategy on this increasingly promising channel.
In future columns, we’ll examine a wider range of Instagram performance metrics. But in the meantime, this full benchmark report (registration required) provides some additional high-level trends as you scope out your efforts.