XX min read

Creating Shopify Instagram Ads that Drive Sales

Published on
August 27, 2022
If you have a Shopify store, it pays to make the most of Instagram's massive user base. Learn how to create Shopify Instagram ads that pop here.

Shopify is one of the most widely-used e-commerce platforms today. It allows retail businesses to set up their online stores, providing customers with a convenient shopping experience. It also gives companies the capability to manage inventory, payments, shipping, and marketing in one place.

However, setting up your Shopify store is only one part of the equation. To get a constant stream of customers, your business needs to utilize various marketing channels, such as Instagram and other social media.

With over 1.2 billion active users monthly, Instagram is currently the fourth most popular social media platform.  Aside from its massive user base, the platform is a darling among digital marketers for its many business-friendly features, including Instagram Ads and Instagram Shopping.

When used within a well-planned social media marketing strategy, Instagram could help you grow your audience and drive sales to your Shopify store.

In this post, we’ll show you how you could make the most out of your Instagram business account and create ads that bring more traffic and conversions to your Shopify storefront.

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Know the Different Types of Instagram Ads

You could utilize several types of ads on Instagram. These offer business owners great flexibility in creating their strategies. Each ad type has a distinct look that makes them suitable for achieving different marketing goals.

Image Ads

Image ads consist of single images with a call-to-action button to help advertise your brand, product, or service. These images will often show up on the feeds of your target audience.

If you plan to use image ads, make sure you have compelling static visual content on hand, such as a high-quality photograph or illustration. You could also opt to add text, although it’s best to keep it minimal to ensure legibility and visual impact.

Image ads improve reach and brand awareness, boost account and store traffic, and get more app installations, sales, messages, or conversions.

Stories Ads

Instagram Stories are one of Instagram’s most popular features. Over 500 million Instagram accounts use it daily, with one billion individual Stories shared across the Facebook family of apps.

Stories are full-screen photos or video content that automatically expire after 24 hours. Any Instagram account has this feature. Users could tap and view other people’s Stories on the top portion of their Instagram home page.

Due to their full-screen presence, Instagram Stories ads could be perceived as more impactful. They also appear between regular IG Stories, making it easier for them to blend in. Over four million businesses use Stories ads every month.

The best Stories ads appear like regular Stories but are still produced well enough to stand out.

Vertical photos, carousels, and videos work best for this type of ad. The call to action comes as a swipe-up option to go to your link of choice. You could also use interactive stickers, gifs, filters, and text to make your Stories ads more engaging to viewers.

Reel Ads

In 2022, Instagram shifted its focus to video through numerous feed updates. Instead of having three different types of videos to upload—regular video, IGTV, and Reels—all video content is now being uploaded as Reels as of the latest update.

Instagram Reels are full-screen, highly-customizable video content that users can create within the app. Users and brands could set these videos to existing songs in the Instagram library or use their own audio.

Due to the popularity of short-form videos, Reel ads are an excellent way to boost your engagement and expand your account reach, especially as the Instagram algorithm pushes attention towards video content.

Carousel Ads

Carousel ads consist of a series of photos or videos that users could swipe through, similar to carousel posts by regular users.

This type of Instagram ad works best if you incorporate content that features a series of related photos or videos to project a more cohesive message or even tell a story.

Carousel ads could appear on users’ regular feeds or between Instagram stories with a call-to-action button or a swipe-up feature allowing you to link to your desired landing page or website.

Shopping Ads

Instagram has taken significant leaps to make the platform more friendly to businesses, particularly those dealing in retail. They launched Instagram Shopping in 2020, which enabled users to check out products for sale by linking to sellers’ Shopify or WooCommerce stores.

Shopping ads allow you to tag products in your Instagram Shopping catalog in a photo, video, or carousel post. Through these shoppable ads, your audience could directly purchase your products within the app, shortening the customer journey and increasing sales.

Collection Ads

Collection ads combine carousel and shopping ads, which may appear like collages on your target audience’s Instagram feed.

Like shopping ads, businesses could tag their products directly on each photo or video, allowing users to make a purchase directly from the Instagram app. The carousel feature will enable businesses to upload multiple images or videos and tag various products.

This ad type is perfect for e-commerce businesses, particularly those with a Shopify or WooCommerce-hosted online store.

Explore Ads

Explore ads are photo or video ads that appear on Instagram’s explore page, where users can see content recommendations relevant to their interests. These ads could be photos, videos, or carousels.

This type of ad isn’t necessarily format-based. It could still fall under the other ad types we previously discussed. However, what makes it different is that it appears once a user taps on a post on their explore page and starts scrolling.

The Instagram explore page changes frequently, allowing businesses to show their ads alongside relevant content and reach their target audience more effectively.

Test Different Formats

There are so many different Instagram ad formats available that it could be challenging to decide which one to use. After all, you are paying for this service, and it’s vital to get a good return on investment for your marketing efforts.

You can test out each ad type to get a firsthand look at how it works for your brand or consider the following factors to help you decide which would work best for your campaign:

Ad Goals

The first question you should answer when crafting any social media marketing campaign is, “What is my goal?”

The answer will then apply to every aspect of your campaign, from the content you produce to the formats and platforms you utilize.

Is your goal to get more Shopify sales or app installs? Are you establishing a new e-commerce store and want to create more brand awareness? Do you want more website traffic?

You can then select the type of ad campaign you want to launch according to these goals and the unique features of each ad type.

For example, if you want to drive more e-commerce purchases, it’s best to use Shopping or Collection ads. Reel ads would be a good way to go if you want more video views and engagement.

Target Audience

When choosing what ad format to use, consider your target audience. What types of content does your audience usually engage with or enjoy?

Does your target prefer watching reels and videos? Do they do a lot of online shopping? Do they spend time scrolling through their feed or browsing new content via the Explore page?

Familiarizing yourself with your audience’s preferences and behaviors will help you create ads and other marketing content that resonates with existing and potential customers and lead to higher conversion rates.

Image source: Unsplash

Organic Account Performance

Your existing organic audience will likely have similar preferences to the demographic you plan to target with your ads.

Try checking your analytics page and observing what types of content perform best organically. Which posts of yours have gained the most organic traffic and engagement?

The types of content that already perform well could give you a good idea of what attracts people to your brand and help you choose an ad type that caters to these preferences.

Choose an Objective for Your Ad Campaign

To start an Instagram ad campaign for your Shopify store, you first need to choose an objective. Make sure to select the appropriate objective, as it will inform how Instagram optimizes your ad content and how much you need to pay for them.

Instagram offers the following objectives that help create a customized campaign for your brand.

  • Brand Awareness. This objective helps drive awareness of your brand, product, service, app, or business, particularly from people or accounts that may not have yet seen or heard from you.
  • Reach. The Reach objective is similar to the Brand Awareness objective in that it allows you to reach a wider audience. However, Brand Awareness is more targeted to accounts that are more likely to recall or engage with your brand.
  • Traffic. This ad objective helps drive traffic to your online location of choice—it could be your website, online shop, app page, or any other page. It utilizes a call-to-action button to lead your audience to your preferred site.
  • Engagement. If you pick the Engagement objective, Instagram’s optimization will bring more likes, comments, shares, and event responses to your ad.  
  • App Installs. As the name suggests, this ad objective is suited for brands with an existing app that they want audiences to install.
  • Video Views. This objective is beneficial for video ads such as Reels, video Stories, or carousel videos.
  • Lead Generation. This ad objective helps you get more information from your audience, like their email address. These leads allow you to market to your audience in the future.
  • Messages. This ad objective encourages users to message your account for inquiries, bookings, or purchases.
  • Conversions. The Conversions objective informs Instagram to encourage your targets to complete specific actions, like signing up or making a purchase.
  • Catalog Sales. For accounts with an existing Instagram shop, this objective will promote products from your catalog.
  • Store Traffic. This ad objective will promote in-person visits to your physical store.

After choosing an objective, Instagram will ask you to name your campaign. For official purposes, it’s best to create a straightforward and specific campaign name format to help you keep track of each one.

Create an Engaging Shopify Instagram Ad

Social media algorithms often reward engaging content with even more engagement and a higher audience reach.

Ads and paid promotions will only help show your brand to more people. However, genuine and effective engagement primarily comes from producing high-quality content that users want to interact with.

When creating your ad content, it’s crucial to prioritize engagement and interactivity. Below are three tips for creating ad content that sparks conversations and encourages interaction.

  • Use interactive stickers. Instagram Stories ads are an excellent venue to boost interactions and engagement through story stickers. You could create polls and quizzes, ask questions, or add links that audiences could interact with.
  • Create high-quality videos. Short-form videos reign supreme this year, especially on Instagram. Make sure to produce short yet impactful, aesthetically pleasing videos which project your distinct brand voice.
  • Create relevant, saveable content. Ad content that contains valuable information on current events or your area of expertise gains a lot of traction. People want to learn more about topics they care about and are willing to share these posts with their networks.
Image source: Unsplash

Work With an Influencer

Consumers are likelier to trust product or brand recommendations from people they know and admire. This makes influencer marketing so successful, with over 75 percent of marketers planning to set a dedicated budget for it this year.

Social media influencers are people that often have large follower counts and influence people’s purchasing decisions.

They fall into various niches, appealing to people due to their lifestyle, expertise on certain topics, or special interests. They post content that is often aspirational, relatable, or entertaining to the regular consumer, which helps them build strong relationships with their followers.

Partnering with an influencer could significantly boost your account and your Shopify store, especially if your brand is newly established. Their loyal followers often see them as lifestyle authorities whose decisions and recommendations they could trust.

Aside from choosing influencers with a significant follower count, it’s also essential to consider their niche and audience demographics. Pick an influencer that performs well within your target market and aligns with your company values to help you achieve your campaign targets better.

Create Themes for Your Products

Old, physical catalogs might seem like a thing of the past, but they still evoke a sense of nostalgia that could be charming by today’s standards. The principles of storytelling and setting a cohesive theme still apply to online channels like Instagram.

You could recreate this experience through carousel posts and ads. A single photo or video could sometimes be limiting. Carousel posts allow you to use multiple images, videos, or a combination of both to tell a story.

According to a study by SocialInsider, carousels inherently bring more engagement than single photos and videos. Engagements increase even more when you use all ten carousel slides and post a mix of image and video content. They also perform better when partnered with a strong call-to-action or instructions on how to proceed.

You could use carousel ads to promote your e-commerce catalog by combining products that fit a similar theme.

For example, you could create a carousel ad for mother’s day featuring gift ideas for moms. Through the Instagram shopping feature, you could tag your products directly on the post to lead customers directly to each product page.

Add Product Tags

Instagram has made it easier for e-commerce businesses to market their products and process sales within the same app.

The launch of Instagram Shopping in 2020 allowed businesses to use Instagram more closely with their preferred e-commerce platform. Businesses could link their Shopify and WooCommerce stores to create Instagram Shops that users could directly buy from.

You could incorporate product tags in your ad campaigns to make it easier for your target audience to find your products. Users could then easily buy from your selections upon seeing the ad.

Audiences often hesitate to click on ads since they usually take them out of the app. However, product tags help them learn more about your product and brand within the Instagram app for a smoother browsing experience.

Product tags are also a great way to distinguish yourself as a business. The average Instagram user likely follows several accounts, with no way to immediately determine which ones are businesses they could buy from.

Find the Right Hashtags

When used properly, hashtags are a good way to reach new audiences and gain attention.

Using hashtags strategically could be highly beneficial to your brand, but using them the wrong way could annoy potential customers or leave your posts with little to no engagement.

You could use popular hashtags like #love, #design, or #inspiration to get more eyes on your posts. However, these hashtags could be too generic to attract people from your target demographic.

An intelligent way to use hashtags is by combining some top hashtags with ones that are relevant to your industry or niche. This helps ensure that your ads and posts reach people that could potentially be interested in your brand.

Users could add a maximum of 30 hashtags per post, but using too many could be annoying. It’s best to use less than 10, though you could also experiment to find what works for your business.

Reel Them In With Your Caption

Your caption holds equal weight as the rest of your ad. You could have a compelling image or video, but a weak caption could affect your ad’s overall performance.

A good caption should be able to do the following: relate to your product and audience, and provide a strong call-to-action.

Your caption should provide additional context to your posted image or video, explaining why your ad is relevant to your audience. Keep it short and sweet, so your audience reads through the whole thing.

Aside from relatability, tell your audience what to do next. This doesn’t mean that every caption should contain product placement. You could encourage them to share your ad, sign up for email marketing, or type a response to a question.

Did you know? “Social media users aged 16 to 24 prefer Instagram among other social media platforms, making it the most popular for this age range. It’s the platform you can use to advertise for brands targeting Gen Z users.”

Increase Engagement With Archive

With its massive user base and business-friendly features, Instagram is one of the best places to promote your Shopify store. It offers highly-customizable ad campaigns with objectives to help you fine-tune the different ways in which your business can grow.

One characteristic of a high-quality Instagram ad is authenticity. You could find it in user-generated content like Instagram stories your customers tag you in.

You monitor these types of content and use them to create ads that engage and attract new customers with Archive app. Check it out today.

Archive app makes it easier to see how your community views your brand. Contact us if you have any questions or want to learn more about how our app can help your e-commerce brand on Shopify and Instagram.

FAQs on Creating Shopify Instagram Ads That Drive Sales

Should I run ads on Instagram, Facebook, or both?

It depends on your company’s budget and marketing goals. Both social media platforms offer marketing advantages. The best way to know is to test-run campaigns on both platforms and find what works best for your business.

What are the advantages of Instagram-Shopify integration?

Below are some key advantages of integrating your Instagram account and your Shopify store:

  • Users could shop directly from your Instagram posts or account through product tags.
  • People could follow your Instagram account via your Shopify store.
  • You could incorporate Instagram galleries into your Shopify store, allowing you to show off more user-generated content.

Can paid Instagram ads or sponsored content be seen on a laptop or desktop computer?

No. Paid Instagram ads or sponsored content are only visible on the mobile app. If you want ads people can view on laptops or desktops, you could consider using Facebook ads.

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