Prepare For Instagram Marketing To Become Pay-To-Play

Thin Pig Note:  One of our favorite things to do is to spend time collaborating or just shooting the breeze with like-minded folks.  One of our favorites that we have had the good fortune to do both with is Brooke Sellas, of B Squared Media. Brooke is our guest blogger this week!

“Prepare for Instagram marketing to become pay-to-play.” I’ve said this to clients and friends alike since Facebook bought the visual platform back in 2012 for one billion dollars. We only need to look to Facebook to understand the path that Instagram is sure to go down. And many marketers are starting to take notice. First up, here are the reasons you should formulate a plan to pay-to-play on Instagram.

Facebook Ads Revamped

Have you tested Facebook’s Instant Experience ads yet? If they don’t sound familiar, you may know them better as Canvas ads. In Facebook's words, Canvas is “a full-screen ad experience built for bringing brands and products to life on mobile.” This type of ad allows advertisers to deliver fully immersive, interactive ads that are hosted completely on Facebook, eliminating the need for users to click out of the app to engage with content. A few months ago, Facebook renamed the format and added more features, making the format even more lucrative for advertisers.

 As explained by Facebook:

“Instant Experience better reflects what this ad solution offers people. Over the past year, the number of Instant Experience campaigns has more than doubled and Instant Experiences are loading faster than ever - now 15x faster than standard mobile websites - to seamlessly connect people to businesses.”

 Here are three key areas that might convince you to try Instant Experiences:

1.     Easy-to-use, immersive and dynamic templates

2.     Re-engagement functionality to make it easier to connect with your audience

3.     Analytics capabilities by automatically linking to the Facebook Pixel

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Get Creative

One advantage of Instant Experience ads is that they are very easy to make! Facebook launched a couple of different templates each designed for a different marketing objective. The most noticeable change is the easy-to-use design options that clients can use to build their ads, including:

●      Instant Lookbook: Ideal for fashion or other e-commerce products

●      Instant Storytelling: Focuses on video

●      Instant Storefront: Mimics the layout of a lifestyle magazine

●      Instant Customer Acquisition: Functions as a mini landing page with a clear CTA button


Convert Within The App

Before Instant Experience, if you wanted to collect contact information (i.e., generate leads) users had to navigate away from the app to your mobile landing page, adding another step in the process. Thanks to the new Instant Form template, you can gather leads without ever having to direct users away from Facebook.


Tracking And Analytics

One of the most exciting features of Instant Experiences that Canvas ads lacked is the compatibly with Facebook’s tracking pixel as well as third-party pixels like Google. This means that advertisers can track clicks and performance using Facebook’s native analytic tools or third-party software such as Google Analytics.


With easy to use templates and load times that are 15x faster than traditional retail sites, Instant Experiences should help brands better connect and engage with potential customers on Facebook and Instagram. If you haven’t considered using these ads before, it may be worth considering them in your next campaign.

IGTV: The Next Gen Video

Lately it feels like every time I update the apps on my phone, I’m bombarded with something new. It feels like as soon as I get used to one update, the developers are rolling out another. While I’m all in favor of progress and innovation, it can get pretty overwhelming when one of the most-used apps of all time hits us with something totally different. I recently opened Instagram to see a new orange icon in the upper right-hand corner of the app. Surprise - another new thing!

Instagram TV (IGTV)

Five years after the launch of video on Instagram, the social networking giant announced that they were releasing a new long-form video app called IGTV featuring full-screen, vertical videos created by the accounts that you follow.

As explained by Instagram:

 “We're evolving with the times; these days, people are watching less TV and more digital video. By 2021, mobile video will account for 78% of total mobile data traffic. And we've learned that younger audiences are spending more time with amateur content creators and less time with professionals.”

After some research and a little old-fashioned trial and error, I discovered a couple things you need to know about the new IGTV — whether you’re a blogger, brand rep, social media manager, or simply one of the 1 billion active Insta users worldwide.


1.  IGTV consists of channels, similar to YouTube channels.

IGTV content does not go into your feed or Instagram Stories. Your IGTV videos are housed in the Highlights section of your home screen and also in your channel in the IGTV app. Now, as an Instagram user, you will have your feed (the grid of photos that never go away), your stories (the live-action snapshots you share for 24 hours), and your channel (keep reading below).

2. Video length depends on the account.

Unlike on the feed, your videos aren’t limited to 60 seconds. This offers lots of flexibility for content creation. For the average Instagram user like myself, videos must be between 15 seconds and 10 minutes long. For big brands and larger, verified accounts, the time limit goes up to 60 minutes. The wide range of the time limit makes things fun! You can share a quick 20 second video of your puppy’s newest trick, a 5 minute POV comparison from the Red Bull finals at the Women’s UCI Downhill World Cup and even a 6-minute carpool karaoke to the entirety of “Bohemian Rhapsody.”  Spoilers: I’m not sharing THAT video in this blog post ;)

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3. The videos don’t disappear (like they would in your story).

IGTV videos are static which means once they are uploaded, they are there until you delete them. IGTV channels will be similar to creating and growing a YouTube channel rather than an Instagram profile. I believe we will see plenty of experimentation from brands and creators to see what works on this new platform.

4. It doesn’t have to change your Instagram experience.

Whether you use Instagram for travel inspiration, fitness tutorials, something work-related, a way to forget the world and watch cat videos, or just as a way to interact and keep up-to-date with your friends - nothing has to change! IGTV is simply a way to enhance your Instagram experience, not take away from the parts of the app you already love. If you want nothing to do with IGTV, that’s okay! You never have to click on that little orange TV icon and, at least for now, the videos will not infiltrate your usual feed.

5.  Uploading a video is easy.

You can access IGTV one of two ways: the aforementioned orange TV icon in the upper right-hand corner of the Instagram app (next to the DM paper airplane) or the stand alone IGTV app which you can download from the Play Store/App Store. While you can watch IGTV videos on the Instagram app, if you want to create your own videos, you will need to download IGTV app (or upload directly from the Instagram web app).

  1. Download the IGTV app.

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2. Create your channel.

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3.  With your IGTV channel set up, it’s time to upload your first video! Start by navigating to your channel by tapping on your avatar from the main screen.

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4.  Next, tap the “+” icon in the top-right corner to add a video to your channel. Add a video from your phone or desktop (if using the desktop app), include a title and description and you’re set!

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There’s no limit to what you can create

At its core, IGTV is super exciting! It’s an amazing way for amateur videographers, cinematographers, vloggers, and tutorialists to create content for the masses. You can choose to create highly edited, produced videos with professional lighting and graphics, or you can simply record your day-to-day life, musings, feelings, and experiences. It’s an exciting time since it’s just beginning, so why not? Get out there — get creating!

Over to you

What do you think about IGTV? Are you excited to create and consume long-form content on Instagram? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

The Web Never Forgets

I recently read an article called "Think Again Before You Post Online Those Pics Of Your Kids" that made me think. It made me think A LOT about what I have been posting about my family and friends on social media. How many of you have posted a funny video of your kids that might be slightly embarrassing for them, but it is just too good not to share? I know I have. But what I have failed to do is to think about how many will view and share that particular video, and for how long it will be available for anyone and everyone to see.  The carbon footprint, so to speak, that we leave behind of ourselves on social media is there for the public to view forever! That ‘fun’ video you posted of your kids will be on the internet for your kids’ friends to view forever, even when they are teenagers and most likely do not want anyone to see it.

In trying to keep my kids safe, I have always been very concerned with what my kids share on their preferred social media platforms (which, incidentally does NOT include Facebook). I often tell them that what they post will be there for an eternity. I have put down a long list of ‘rules’ of what is okay and what is not okay on their social media; there can be no indecent photos, no bad language, no mean comments, no bullying, no connecting with strangers, no rude comments about myself or their dad, and he and I both have to be a ‘friend’ of theirs, so we can keep tabs on their social media activities. But in all honesty, I haven’t given much thought to the longevity and potential reach of what I post on social media. Of course, I don’t post anything about my kids maliciously, but rather to share what is going on in my life, which includes not only my activities but also those of my kids. My family lives in Europe and it is an easy way for me to connect with them and vice versa for them to see what is going on in my life here. But here is the thing: How do my kids feel about what I post about them on social media? I am embarrassed to say that I have never asked them…

Social media hasn’t been around that long (Facebook started in 2004, about the time when most current middle school students were born,) so it is hard to say how growing up on social media can affect your kids’ privacy and security. However, it’s time to consider the issue seriously. What we as parents post on social media about our kids shape their online image, which is there to stay forever. My daughter turned thirteen in the fall. As any other young teenager, she is concerned with her image and wants to be portrayed in a positive light whether it is on my social media or at school.

After reading that article, we decided that it’s time we sit down with our kids and draw up guidelines for what they are comfortable with being posted on social media. Working together on deciding what to post and what to avoid will create a mutual respect and appreciation, and at the same time teach great social media etiquette. In my household, we have set up a family meeting for this Saturday to make sure we are all on the same page when it comes to posting on our social media.

With that said – Good luck and happy posting!

The Beauty of Instagram Story Design

Instagram stories have grown a lot since its launch, and it has become a wonderful communication tool for everyone. On a platform where it is easy to overwhelm your audience by posting too many photos, stories allow you to convey a lot of messages quickly, but they are creating an even greater opportunity with graphic design. Many stories seen on the platform are more “handmade” with markup style drawings, text and a quickly snapped photo, however a trend of creating beautiful looking stories for companies and bloggers alike has begun.

On Instagram it can often be difficult to bring brand elements to the forefront except with the tones, mood, and general aesthetic of photos posted. Stories are a wonderful way to get followers more familiarized with the brand after only experiencing it on your website or in person. This also helps build trust when audience members interact with other digital platforms, and a good way to increase customer loyalty and potentially conversions. It doesn’t mean that every story posted has to be amazingly designed and planned; there is certainly room for what we often think of as stories, taken in the moment, more playful, or however they are being utilized now.

Some great ways to use well-designed Instagram stories are:

  1. Announcements
  2. Sales
  3. Team/personnel feature
  4. Contests & giveaways
  5. Polls
  6. New Blog Posts

The best part about stories right now is that there are a ton of ready-made Instagram Story templates that anyone with Photoshop can utilize and upload to their phone to post. If that seems a bit out of scope for now, the easiest way to start is to come up with one branded background that has a space to place text, polls, tags etc. that social media managers can just use whenever a more well designed story is called for. Another great benefit is if the account is a verified account or has 10k+ followers, users can swipe up to be taken to links directly without leaving the story, which makes linking to sales or content outside Instagram so much easier.

If you want a great stories template for your account let us know! Here are just a few amazing examples of instagram templates from Creative Market for inspiration:

 Creative Market - Instagram Stories Pack - Pande

Creative Market - Instagram Stories Pack - Pande

 Creative Market - Instagram Stories Pack - Pande

Creative Market - Instagram Stories Pack - Pande

 Creative Market - Instagram Stories Pack - Pande

Creative Market - Instagram Stories Pack - Pande

 Creative Market - Instagram Stories Pack - Pande

Creative Market - Instagram Stories Pack - Pande

 Creative Market - Instagram Stories Pack - Pande

Creative Market - Instagram Stories Pack - Pande

 Creative Market - Instagram Stories Pack - Pande

Creative Market - Instagram Stories Pack - Pande

 Creative Market - Instagram Stories Pack - Onurcan Erdem

Creative Market - Instagram Stories Pack - Onurcan Erdem

 Creative Market - Instagram Stories Pack - Onurcan Erdem

Creative Market - Instagram Stories Pack - Onurcan Erdem

 Creative Market - Instagram Stories Pack - Onurcan Erdem

Creative Market - Instagram Stories Pack - Onurcan Erdem