Are Sponsored Instagram Ads Ready For Their Close Up?

Recently, I opened the Instagram App on my daily commute and the first picture that appeared was from a brand called Bombfell. I knew I didn’t follow this account, so why was it there?

My eyes quickly found the word “sponsored” located on the upper right hand corner of the photo and suddenly it all made sense; Instagram had started selling sponsored posts to appear on my homepage. If you have never seen one of these lovely advertisements, here’s my prime example.


How does Instagram do this?

Basically they use your personal info from Instagram and Facebook, like many social media sites do, to gather information and present the most relevant posts, catered specially to you.

Hide this?

It’s easy to eliminate these posts from your homepage by simply clicking on the sponsored tag and selecting “hide this”, however, speaking marketer to marketer, I find it quiet amusing to see the ads that other brands are putting out there.

As an average consumer though, I can understand how these images could be somewhat annoying and why one might want to hide them. I think it’s interesting to note that anyone can create an Instagram Ad now, with a running Facebook page (their parent company) and some simple editing skills, any company can have an Instagram Ad up and running shortly.

Why should you consider advertising on Instagram?

There are a plethora of reasons why one should utilize these “interruptive type” ads and you can read the whole list that Instagram provides on their business website here. Regardless of what industry you are representing, a lot of positive results are currently being generated for this marketing strategy.

Specially speaking within of the Fashion and Beauty markets, this is definitely something that all brands, no matter how big or small, should begin doing ASAP. Why? Well, we’ll tell you:

1. Take a look at these figures that are provided on Instagram’s website. These numbers are crazy, this social media site has skyrocketed in terms of users and content that have been circulated since it’s debut in 2010. Basically we are saying, it would be crazy to NOT be on this platform.

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2. Because the F&B market is a goods market, it’s crucial to have links available to your website so consumers can view your products within your advertising. Instagram allows you to hyperlink any URL to the photo or video for easy access.

3. Post engagement is key, F&B brands rely heavily on consumer reviews and testimonies for sales. People trust the opinions of others and by having a comment section available under the advertisements allow others to engage right then and there. As opposed to traditional print or online ads that do not share the same functions as a normal Instagram post.

4. Awareness and views are essential for reaching as many users as possible. Because the sponsored ads are targeted towards people based on their previous likes or accounts they follow, this allows you to reach consumers that you might not have been able to before. For example, if someone follows L’Oreal and Rimmel, then they might recieve Clinque ads based on relevance.

L’Oreal Case Study

The carousel format “lets you show 2-5 images and/or videos, headlines and links or calls to action in a single ad unit” as defined by Facebook. Like many companies L’Oreal took advantage of this new innovation and ran with it.


Levi’s Case Study

Levi’s is one of the brand that experienced high benefits from advertising on Instagram. Read the following for all the facts:


Interested in advertising on Instagram?

The Instagram brand actually has their own blog, where they provide helpful tips and tricks for businesses that are currently adverting on their site, or ones that are investigating if they should start. Their posts walk users through new updates that are available, as well as case studies, or more of “brand shoutouts”, to companies they believe are doing a great job advertising with them.


We believe that investing in Instagram advertising is a win-win situation, because if you aren’t doing it then you are missing out. This is a great platform to be creative on and illustrate your brand in it’s best light. So why not give it a try?

Two words for your social media marketing team: Consumer Engagement

So you’ve got all these followers across your social media sites but now what?

Finding a way to interact with your followers on social media is a difficult task that many brands have trouble with, especially if they are a larger company. One of the easiest solutions is to simply respond to comments they leave or to answer questions they have posed. However, how do you get them to fully engage and go beyond a surface level conversation about your product or service? Promotions and Giveaways!

It’s a known fact that consumers love “free” stuff. Or even better,”free” stuff from the brands they already love

There are typically two types of promotions and giveaways that are posted, each with a different motive.

1. The first is aimed at a potential future customer, where you offer them some sort of discount or coupon code in return for a following or just by simply entering their email (side note: this is a great way for you, as the marketer, to get someone’s email address with little to no effort or cost)

Tobi, an online clothing site, does a great job of this. As soon as you enter their website, you are prompted with an interruptive type of advertising pop-up that offers you a discount if you enter your email. A similar pitch is also displayed on their various social media accounts. This tactic works well within the online fashion industry because new customers are sometimes hesitant to try brands they have not shopped at before, so offering some sort of markdown on the price entices buyers to purchase items.

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2. The second is geared towards people that have been customers in the past. The idea here is to further engage with them and promote the products or services that they are currently using. Some companies do this by running picture contests or video submissions, with the winner receiving some sort of prize.

ipsy offers personalized monthly make-up samples for $10 a month. Their Instagram account features monthly giveaways with the submission of a photo of a customer with certain criteria. By doing this, they are promoting engagement with the consumer that is already using their service. Customers are inclined to submit photos due to the extra make-up they could win, in addition to the products they are already receiving that month through their subscription.


The Big Five

It can often be hard to figure out where to begin when it comes to brainstorming and executing such promotions and giveaways, especially with the amount of social media content that is currently floating around. We believe it’s easiest to start with the Five W’s:

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Who – Who is your target audience

What – What do they have to do for said prize and what are they winning

Where – Where is this contest taking place, as in on what social platform

When – When are entries being accepted, accurate timeframe stated

Why – Why should someone participate, get inside the consumer’s mind (also why are you, as a company, doing this? What’s your motive?)

We all know what they say about people that assume things…

Jim Belosic, who happens to be the Co-Founder and CEO of a company called ShortStack, creates online marketing campaigns for a wide range of platforms. After reading several of his blog posts on and on his own site, we concluded that he knows what he is talking about.

In relation to today’s topic, he provides us with five common assumptions you don’t want to make when it comes to creating a successful contest on social media. Take a look at the post here, it definitely provides some helpful hints! In sum: don’t assume anything.

What does this mean for the Fashion and Beauty Industry?

With a highly competitive market such as F&B, “Sunday Best” is required 27/4/365. This means your social media accounts as well. Due to a rapidly turnover rate, something you posted on twitter three hours ago is already irrelevant. You can read more data on this subject here, thanks to Pamela Vaughan’s blog.

The giveaway items should to be products that the typical consumer cannot buy at their local retail or drug store. That would kind of defeat the point. You want these giveaways to be hot commodities or things that have not even been released yet!

Also, you want the consumer to be creative and have to put effort into their submissions. Amazing work has been reposted/retweeted/re-whatever the newest lingo is by brands and has launched the success of the promotion/giveaway to new heights.

Some of our favorite examples:

* J-Crew – Free shoes every month for an entire year

* Birchbox – $1,000 in Birchbox Points, personal product consultation with a Birchbox editor, and a lifetime subscription to Birchbox

* Fossil – Weekly delights and a $1500 shopping spree

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Our question to you (to leave in the comments of course)

What are some of your favorite prizes that you’ve won via social media promotions and/or giveaways?

Do you want to standout from your competitors?

The fashion and beauty industry is one of the most competitive industry’s in the market. It is important to understand who your audience is and the correct way to engage with them in a positive and long-lasting form. Different platforms require different approaches however; companies should always stay true to their brand voice in order to create a strong relationship with their audiences. The more familiar you become to your audience the better and this is how you do it:

A great image speaks louder than words:

Having an image that incorporates all aspects of your company including personality is key to getting audiences across the board to relate and engage with you in social media. Instagram is by far one of the best social media platforms for fashion and beauty brands and finding the right picture to fit your company is vital to who follows your page and how often your audience engages with you.

Aside from having a captivating image on a social media post, it is important to identify your brand’s voice. Brand voice defines how a company thinks and interacts with its followers. Finding your brand voice can be simple, just think about your brand and what it can offer to consumers. Stephanie Schwab, CEO of Crackerjack Marketing has created a 4 piece method to find your brand’s voice.

When you have decided what your character/persona, tone, language and purpose will be, is time to start posting!

How to accommodate my brand’s voice through the different social media platforms?

Your brand’s voice needs to be consistent throughout all social media platforms. The language changes to accommodate content on the different platforms but your overall tone and purpose should stay the same. It is extremely important to understand who your audience is and how are you going to engage with them. The better you understand your audience the more customer engagement you will get.

 Fashion designer, Rebecca Minkoff is a perfect example of defining your brand voice while using a social media platform. Rebecca Minkoff brand’s voice on social media is consistent with an overarching theme. The brand targets women on the go, with a hectic lifestyle and Rebecca Minkoff’s products fits this lifestyle.

Their social media posts are simple and captivating, the posts empathizing the product and a glamorous lifestyle.


Facebook is known for being the biggest social media platform in terms of followers.Facebook allows a company to interact with followers and showcase social media campaigns. Facebook has the widest range of content which allows a company to announce different product and services.

As if you needed another reason to visit #RMNYC #girlsnightout

Posted by Rebecca Minkoff on Friday, March 25, 2016



Twitter is a cultural zeitgeist. Twitter allows your company to interact with followers in a quick and fast paced environment. Drafting a tweet can be a challenge if you have not established your brand’s voice.


A picture is worth a thousand words.

As mentioned before Instagram is by far one of the best social media platforms for fashion and beauty brands. Instagram allows your company to showcase your brand’s personality while engaging with your followers.

View this post on Instagram

Urban necessity: the Julian Backpack with Fringe

A post shared by Rebecca Minkoff (@rebeccaminkoff) on

Always remember to stay true to your brand and try to showcase your brand’s personality as best as you can. This will allow your company to reach a wider audience and will keep your existent followers engage.

The Top Seven Do’s For Spring Break 2016 Visual Related Content

Spring Break: to some this means digging out last season’s ripped jean shorts and spending some time on the beach. To others, this week means finally getting to strut your stuff down the boardwalk wearing that new floral sundress and wooden wedges you snagged a month prior.

Either way, marketers view this week as a crucial turning point for the visual content they post and this sets the tone for the next season.

So with the Spring Break season finally coming to an end, we thought we would take a moment to recap on some of the best visual content that was recently published throughout the fashion and beauty industry. These however are in no particular order:

#1 Urban Outfitters Beauty – Instagram

We’d say this is the definition of “no caption necessary”, @urbanoutfittersbeauty does a great job of showing and not telling their followers what essentials they need this spring.

A photo posted by @urbanoutfittersbeauty on Mar 3, 2016 at 6:58am PST


#2 L’Oreal USA Corporate – Facebook

Although your eyes may not notice the product that L’Oreal has positioned in this image, it is still present, and in fact you cannot even read the labels that are on the little bottles. However, you are still drawn in by the floral arrangements and pastel colors throughout. Once again proving that sometimes the visual content is not supposed to be focused on the product.

#3 Free People – Pinterest

Spring Break is often when musical festivals across the country start to kick off. Within recent years, these events have created a brand knew segment and culture within the fashion industry, some companies even have clothing lines dedicated towards these massive concerts. The company Free People has launched a whole Pinterest Board called Festival Flower to inspire concert goers to dress in their attire.

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#4 Covergirl – Twitter

Sometimes visual content however is straight and to the point. Covergirl places their vibrant lip colors front and center among a bed of flowers and creates a simple picture displaying their spring hues.


#5 Zara – Instagram

Zara released the photo below as the cover for their new spring collection. However, you would not know what they were advertising without the text in the bottom right hand corner. This is a perfect example of how to balance images and text, in visual content.




#6 Tommy Hilfiger – Facebook

Tommy decided to create a spring break video this season staring famous model Behati Prinsloo, showing her twirling around in the tropical jungle wearing a bright sun dress. Unique usage of spelling out the brand’s name “Tommy Hilfiger” letter-by-letter not only forces the viewer to have to pay close attention to figure out who the company is, but also leaves a simple message stating “wish you were here”, which seems to be Tommy’s spring slogan.

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Watch the actual video here: Tommy Hilfiger Facebook

#7 Estee Lauder – Pinterest

Estee Lauder uses a similar technique to what Free People did as mentioned above. They have created a Spring Beauty board on their Pinterest as a collection of their spring favorites. Their effortless images provide a context for what products they are focusing on this season, along with a spring setting that give the pictures the perfect amount of visual appeal.

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So now what?

In sum, the above seven examples capture, to us, what makes great visual content. So to recap, here are some helpful hints:

  1. Show, don’t tell because it’s easier for people to understand pictures and images than it is text.
  2. If you have text, make sure it is limited. It’s called VISUAL content for a reason. Sometimes the use of a caption is the best way to incorporate text, rather than on the image itself.
  3. The focus does not always have to be on the product, sometimes it can just be an interesting and creative image that includes the product in some shape or form.

Our friends at The Content Marketing Institute have written their view on The 27+ Handy Tools for Better Visual Content Marketing in one of their blog posts by Jodi Harris which you can read here. They have a more in-depth look at how to specifically enhance your marketing work and we think it’s definitely worth the read!