Millennials, Instagram, and Your Business

by Erin McNamara

If you sell or service anyone between the age of 18 and 24, your business is interacting with Millennials. In case you didn’t know, Millennials are the largest generational cohort in the United States today, and with that title they’ve become huge influencers when it comes to consumption. A key to communicating with the average Millennial consumer is to communicate with them on their level, and that means utilizing social media in your advertising.

I’d venture to guess you’re probably already advertising on Facebook, which inherently means you have the capability to advertise on Instagram as well. If you’re not familiar, Instagram is a social app that allows users to share photo and video content to their followers. This wildly popular app just recently hit 700 million users and continues to grow every day.

When it comes to advertising on Instagram there are many different creative options. The first option is traditional photo ads. These are simply images that show up in an Instagram users feed alongside the other accounts they follow, the only difference being the word sponsored in the right hand corner. Similar to photos, video ads can be posted to show up within a user’s feed as well. The second option is a Carousel Ad in which a series of photos are streamed together in one post in which the user can swipe through and few them all. The third option is a Stories ad. The stories feature includes photos, videos, and looping videos called Boomerangs. Stories are unique because they disappear after 24 hours. With each of these creative options the most important thing to keep in mind are the rules of Instagram.

You may be thinking, what in the world are the rules of Instagram. No, I don’t mean the rules you probably didn’t read in the terms and conditions, but rather the rules Millennials have subconsciously put in place when it comes to advertisements showing up on social media.

1. Keep It Natural

If an ad doesn’t appear like it belongs on Instagram (think something extremely text heavy) there’s a good chance your Millennial target audience is going to ignore it entirely. These consumers have grown up in a world where consuming over 70 ads per day is the average. They know when someone is trying to sell them something and if they’re not interested they won’t bite.

2. Keep It Authentic

If you’re posting an ad on social media, be authentic to your brand. Using terms or references specifically to relate to Millennials, even if they don’t mix well with your brand, isn’t going to appear authentic. If there’s one thing Millennials don’t like, it’s someone who’s trying too hard.

3. Think Strategically

With a variety of different ad types, think strategically when you decide which type of creative you want to run. Keep in mind your campaign goal. If you’re looking to drive awareness for a business, product, app, or service, a photo or video would likely suffice. If you’re looking to increase views, reach, and frequency, getting potential customers to learn more about your products or services, Stories is the avenue for you. When it comes to reaching conversion goals, carousel ads allow for multiple pictures to be displayed within an ad, with clickable tags and calls-to-action that can lead to product sales, app downloads, or visitors to your website.

The trick with Instagram advertising is to ensure your post fits naturally into the feed of your target audience. The app is image based, so it’s clear when a text heavy image comes through that it doesn’t really belong. The same thing happens when it comes to stories. These stories consist of a combination of pictures, videos, and boomerangs that come together to create something fun and entertaining. They tend to be short and sweet, long commercials do not fit here. Determining your business goals and the types of advertisement you want to run will help you to create and implement ads that will actually be considered by your target audience.

While it may seem overwhelming at first, Instagram is worth your time and effort when it comes to the younger demographics. On average, users spend at least 15 minutes a day on Instagram, often checking their social platforms multiple times per day. Think about it this way, you can spend thousands of dollars on a television commercial, or you can spend significantly less, advertising on the app Millennials are probably on during your commercial anyway. It’s the Millennial’s world and everyone else is just living in it. It’s time to get on board, and get on Instagram.

Millennials, Instagram, and Your Business

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