Instagram marketing

The exhaustive guide to excellent Instagram campaigns

  • 34 Minutes
Want to show ROI for your Insta activities? This is how you can set and hit targets worthy of showing off.

Are you generating tangible results from your Instagram activity? If not, it could be time to tap into the power of Instagram campaigns.

Unlike your regular brand-building content on Instagram, campaigns are designed to help you hit a specific, measurable target and work towards a tangible business goal.

Ultimately, Instagram campaigns are what will help you book out your client calendar, sell out your latest product release or significantly boost your Instagram followers.

But to make the most of your first (or next) Instagram campaign, you need a plan in place and a thorough understanding of what campaign type is right for your business. Luckily, we cover all of that (and so much more) in this ultimate guide to Instagram campaigns below.

What is an Instagram campaign?

When it comes to using Instagram for business, there are broadly two types of content you’ll be sharing: Instagram campaigns and business-as-usual (BAU) content.

You’re probably familiar with the latter, even if you haven’t come across this term before.

In a nutshell, BAU content are ongoing, brand-building Instagram posts that aim to foster awareness and trust with your audience. This content is designed to keep your brand top-of-mind with current and potential customers and are shared on a regular basis (whether that’s multiple posts per day or a handful of regular posts each week).

On the flipside, Instagram campaigns are specific marketing campaigns with a defined, singular goal. These campaigns run for a fixed period of time and have a clear, time-sensitive objective they are working to achieve. Plus, the goal of an Instagram campaign is targeted, specific and measurable, lending itself to driving conversion.

Let’s put this another way: if your Instagram activity were Olympic events, your BAU content would be the Marathon while your Instagram campaigns would be the 100m final.

When designing Instagram campaigns, it’s important to have a clear understanding of what action you’re encouraging users to take and how this will help you achieve a specific business goal.

Commonly, Instagram campaigns are focused on:

  • Launching a new product or service
  • Growing your mailing list
  • Driving new enquiries
  • Encouraging pre-orders
  • Boosting app downloads

Ultimately an effective Instagram marketing strategy will cover both categories of content. But, there are specific scenarios and reasons why you should be peppering Instagram campaigns into your social strategy, which we’ll dive into next.

What are the benefits of running an Instagram campaign?

Now, you’re probably wondering: if I’m already posting content regularly to Instagram, why the heck should I put more time, effort and money into running Instagram campaigns?

While BAU content is essential to building brand awareness and fostering trust with audiences, it’s unlikely to inspire conversion at scale.

Instead, Instagram campaigns complement your ongoing activity with highly targeted, goal-driven content designed to make a meaningful impact on your bottom line.

Let’s dive into five of the key benefits of running an Instagram campaign:

  • Instagram campaigns drive rapid progress towards your business goals: these campaigns allow you to set clear targets and timeframes to measure your success and hold your Instagram efforts accountable for performance.
  • Instagram campaigns are designed to inspire conversion: these targeted, goal-driven campaigns are perfect for boosting sales, lifting sign ups or enquiries, not just building awareness or encouraging passive engagement (such as likes and follows) on Instagram.
  • Instagram campaigns accelerate your BAU efforts: once you’ve built a loyal, engaged following on Instagram, Instagram campaigns can leverage the community you’ve built to drive conversions at scale.
  • Instagram campaigns are a cost effective way to impact your bottom line: these campaigns allow you to reach new audiences, nurture existing leads and convert customers without spending thousands on traditional marketing or advertising efforts.
  • Instagram campaigns let you target more specific audiences with paid activity: by boosting your efforts with paid budget, you can drill down into high value demographics of new and existing audiences, set clear campaign objectives and test a number of messages to see what resonates with your audience best.

If you’re looking to turn your Instagram marketing into a conversion driving machine, Instagram campaigns need to be a part of your overall strategy. These tailored, action-driven campaigns are what will turn your audience and followers into paying customers and allow you to show tangible ROI from your social media marketing efforts.

How do I know if an Instagram campaign is right for my business?

Like any marketing channel, Instagram campaigns aren’t right for every business.

But, for those brands that are targeting the demographics that are using Instagram on a daily basis, running Instagram campaigns can accelerate your chances of success on the platform.

Not sure if Instagram campaigns are right for your business? Let’s take a look at some of the key signs that indicate your brand may benefit from leveraging Instagram campaigns.

No matter what industry you’re working in, Instagram campaigns can help you tap into new, profitable opportunities on social media and show strong attribution from your social efforts to your businesses’ bottom line.

What types of Instagram campaigns exist?

As you’d expect, it’s important to tailor the type of Instagram campaign you run to your business goals.

Whether you have some marketing budget to leverage, want to grow your following or decide a contest is the way to go, here is a comprehensive list of the types of Instagram campaigns you can tap into.

Paid Instagram Campaigns

Want total control over exactly who your campaigns reach? If you’re looking to amplify your Instagram marketing efforts, paid Instagram campaigns can be the answer.

As the name suggests, paid campaigns dip into a portion of your marketing budget to serve Instagram ads and posts to specific Instagram users.

There are stacks of different ad placements and formats available to paid campaigns, including:

  • Stories ads use a full screen image or video (resized to 1080 x 1920 pixels) and are placed in between users’ organic Stories. This format is highly engaging as these assets cover the entire user’s screen and immerse them in your brand’s message. Plus, you can add a ‘swipe-up’ link at the bottom of the story to drive conversions, too.
  • Explore ads appear in the Explore tab of Instagram, an area of the app that more than 50% of Instagram users browse every month (making it perfect for increasing your brand’s exposure). These ads are displayed once a user clicks into a post in their Explore feed, allowing you to serve your ads to users already browsing through related topics on Instagram.
    • Image ads use a single image to promote your brand, product or service, and include a clickable CTA button that can drive users to buy a product, sign up to your mailing list, install your app or whatever action you’d like them to take.
  • Video ads are similar to image ads and allow you to use video content up to 60 seconds in length. However, short bite-sized video content tends to perform best on Instagram, so aim to get your key message across in the first three seconds of your video.
  • Collection ads allow you to promote products directly from your product catalog, and are best suited to eCommerce brands looking to drive sales from Instagram. When a user clicks ‘Shop Now’, they’re taken to Instagram’s Instant Experience Shopfront, where they can easily buy your products (without having to jump off to your website).
  • Carousel ads use a series of images and videos that users can swipe through, and are placed both on the feed and within Instagram Stories. This ad format is best for showcasing a series of related products, telling a multi-part story or showcasing your key message over multiple videos or images.
  • IGTV ads appear after a user watches a IGTV video from their feed. Your ads can be up to 15 seconds long and should be designed for vertical, full screen viewing (1080 x 1920 pixels).
  • Shopping ads are perfect for reaching the 130 million users tapping on Instagram shopping posts each month. Once you’ve set up your Instagram Shopping catalog, these ads take users directly to your products within the Instagram app and allow them to checkout in a few taps (if you have Instagram Checkout enabled).
  • Reels ads are a new ad placement that are similar to Stories ads, and can be up to 30 seconds in length. These ads should follow the same design principles of organic Reels, and be short, snappy and integrated with sound or music for maximum impact.

While paid posts look almost identical to organic posts, one of the tell-tale signs that a post is promoted is the “sponsored” label. Plus, ads give you the ability to use clickable links and call-to-action (CTA) buttons (whether that’s ‘Shop Now’, ‘Learn More’, ‘Sign Up’ or whatever action best aligns with the advertisers’ campaign).

How much does it cost to run a paid campaign on Instagram?

This figure really depends on a few things:

  • Who you’re targeting
  • How competitive it is to reach your ideal audience
  • Time of year (holiday shopping periods tend to be one of the most expensive times to advertise)
  • Ad placements

While there’s no exact cost benchmarks, one of the best ways to check how much you’d expect to spend is to set up your Instagram paid campaign in Facebook Ads Manager.

Once you’ve added in your target audience, objective, budget and ad schedule, check the graph labeled ‘Audience Definition’ and ‘Estimated Daily Reach’.

This will show you the potential reach of your entire campaign and can help you assess whether you need to increase or decrease your budget to hit your campaign goals.

How to create paid campaigns on Instagram

Ready to start leveraging paid campaigns on Instagram? You have a few different options to bring your paid promotions to life on the platform.

    • Promoting a post in-app: this is the simplest way to create a paid Instagram post (and is similar to Facebook’s Boost Post option). Simply tap the ‘Promote’ button on your post, follow the prompts to set your audience, budget and duration and hit ‘Create Promotion’.
  • Create a paid campaign using Facebook Ads Manager: if you’re looking to run a campaign using multiple ads, this is your best option. Facebook Ads Manager gives you more extensive and detailed targeting options and allows you to share multiple ads under one campaign budget.

Here’s a quick step-by-step guide to get you started:

  • Step 1: Choose your objective, which could include:
      • Brand awareness: boost your brand’s visibility with users who haven’t heard of you before.
      • Reach: push your campaign out to as many relevant users as possible.
      • Traffic: inspire users to click through to your website, app or landing page.
      • App installs: motivate users to download your app.
      • Engagement: boost the comments, likes, shares, saves, event responses and offer claims on your ad.
  • Video videos: increase the number of users who watch your video content.
    • Lead generation: gather personal data from high-intent users (such as email sign-ups).
    • Messages: inspire users to get in touch with you and send you a DM on Instagram.
    • Conversions: track sales or sign-ups on your website or app.
    • Catalog sales: boost the number of sales from your online store catalog.
    • Store traffic: increase the number of users visiting your physical stores.
  • Step 2: Set your campaign budget and schedule: this determines how much you’d like to spend on your campaign and how long these ads will run for.
    • Tip: for total control over your campaign spend, we recommend using the ‘Lifetime Budget’ option which allows you to cap how much you’re spending on this campaign over its entire lifetime.
  • Step 3: Clarify your audience: now, it’s time to select the demographic of users you’d like to target. Here you can define your audience based on age, location, interest and behaviours or upload your own audience data (such as website visitors or subscribers) to create your target audience.
  • Step 4: Choose your ad placements: this step is all about deciding what ad format best suits your campaign goals. Here you have two options:
    • Automatic placements: your ads will be shown to your audience where they’re likely to perform best.
    • Manual placements: you select the specific places where your ads will and won’t appear.
  • Step 5: Design and publish your ads: now it’s time to select the images, videos and copy that will best suit your campaign. Once you’re happy with the creative for each ad, hit ‘Confirm’ to launch your paid campaign.

As you can tell, there’s tonnes of powerful targeting opportunities with paid Instagram campaigns. That’s why more and more brands are opting to add paid spend behind their campaigns to supercharge their reach, boost conversions and drive powerful results.

Organic Instagram Campaigns

Any posts that your brand shares to Instagram (without having to put a budget behind it) is organic content. This free content (from photos to videos to memes, Stories, IGTV and Reels) allows you to reach new audiences without making a dent in your marketing budget.

When we talk about organic Instagram campaigns, we’re talking about a series of posts that are working towards a shared goal.

Some examples of organic Instagram campaigns include:

  • An Instagram Reels series promoting the launch of a new product or services.
  • A series of Instagram Feed posts building anticipation for a new product release.
  • A mix of photo, video and Stories posts that drive downloads of your app.

The challenge with organic Instagram campaigns is this: you have less control over who sees your content. Plus, without the ability to target specific audience demographics, the reach of your campaign is limited, too.

In fact, the success of your organic Instagram campaigns are heavily dictated by Instagram’s algorithm. In many cases, only a portion of your own followers will see every post you share, and your ability to reach new audiences is capped when using organic content alone.

That’s why a successful Instagram marketing strategy leverages both organic and paid activity to build a community of engaged followers and amplify the success of each piece of content with a paid budget.

Follower Instagram Campaigns

Building a thriving, engaged community on Instagram is what will help boost the results of all your Instagram effort. That’s why designing campaigns that boost brand awareness and grow your following need to be a top priority.

When it comes to growing your following on Instagram, reaching new high-value audiences is the name of the game. You need to have a clear strategy for the target market and demographics you’re looking to target, otherwise growing your Instagram follower count will simply become a vanity metric.

And here’s why: growing a large follower base of the wrong type of users (a.k.a. People who aren’t going to convert into paying customers) won’t provide any tangible results for your business.

Instead, you want to focus on drilling down into your customer personas, identifying their needs, goals, challenges and pain points and using this to inform every part of your Instagram follower campaign.

In practical terms, here are some the tactics an Instagram follower campaign might use to attract new, high-quality followers:

  • Designing a series of Instagram Reels that share your industry expertise, position you as a leader in your field and help you organically reach and grow your followers.
  • Producing an IGTV series that educates your audience about what you do best, answers their commonly asked questions and shares valuable insights that will inspire them to follow you to keep coming back for more.
  • Aligning your brand with micro influencers to promote your brand, products and services to a new pool of high-value users that have a strong chance of converting from followers into customers.
  • Experimenting with Instagram Lives and using this feature to team up with other related accounts, allowing you to tap into their audience base and convert them into followers.
  • Creating a new viral Instagram challenge or game and inspiring other high-profile accounts to jump on the trends (thereby raising the profile of your brand on Instagram with the goal of increasing your own followers).

By building an engaged follower base filled with the right kind of users, you can ensure the rest of your Instagram marketing efforts deliver tangible ROI and make a meaningful impact on your business, too.

Brand Awareness Campaigns

Did you know that Instagram campaigns generate an ad recall that’s 2.8x higher than other forms of online advertising?

This metric is all about raising the awareness of your brand with potential customers on Instagram. The more users remember your brand, the more likely they are to choose you when deciding where to make a purchase.

And Instagram is a powerful platform for inspiring purchasing habits. 75% of Instagram users take action after seeing a brand’s post (such as visiting their website), meaning the platform is designed to generate strong brand awareness.

What makes Instagram perfect for hosting brand awareness campaigns is this: the platform offers unique tools and features that allow you to reach and gain the attention of new audiences.

Some of Instagram’s top brand awareness tools and features include:

    • Instagram Reels: these short, punchy 15-second edited videos are offering powerful new organic reach and visibility opportunities for brands and can help your content get in front of new, valuable audiences on the Instagram Discover tab.
    • Branded hashtags: crafting a unique, memorable branded hashtag (and encouraging your customers to use it in their posts) is a strategic way to increase your brand’s reach and awareness on the platform.
    • User generated content: Instagram gives your followers the power to advocate for your products, services and brand in their own words. Thanks to user generated content, you can easily boost the awareness of your brand without having to invest thousands in traditional advertising.
  • Brand awareness paid ad campaigns: along with organic Instagram content, your brand can easily run paid ad campaigns that hit key objectives such as reach and brand awareness. These ad objectives give you greater control over who you target with your brand awareness campaigns and helps to generate meaningful actions from new audiences, such as visiting your Instagram profile or boosting the reach of your posts.

When it comes to running brand awareness campaigns on Instagram, your business has the ability to use both organic and paid activity to increase the visibility of your brand on the platform. These tools give the chance to connect with new audiences and showcase what makes your brand stand out against the competition.

Engagement Campaigns

Did you know that the average engagement rate on Instagram is 10x higher than Facebook? When it comes to driving meaningful action from your audience on social media, Instagram offers stacks of opportunities to leverage.

When we talk about engagement campaigns on Instagram, we’re referring to campaigns that inspire users to interact with your content on Instagram. It involves tracking key metrics such as:

  • Likes
  • Comments
  • Saves
  • Shares
  • Profile visits

The key to running a successful engagement campaign on Instagram is to understand what will motivate your audience to interact and engage with your brand.

To do this, you’ll need to regularly review your Instagram Insights and assess which content is inspiring the highest engagement rate from your followers. With this data on-hand, you’ll be able to design an inspiring engagement campaign that drives your audience to interact with your brand in meaningful ways.

In practical terms, that means:

  • Designing saveable content: turn thought-provoking stats, interesting tips or even an engaging tutorial into a save-worthy Instagram carousel. This metric is a key way of boosting your chances of organic visibility, reach and engagement on the platform (as it shows Instagram that your posts are relevant to your audience and worth prioritising in the algorithm).
  • Adding tailored call-to-actions to the end of your captions: be prescriptive about the action you want your audience to take in the final line of your captions. This could include asking an engaging question, prompting your audience to share your post with their followers or motivating them to tag a friend in the comments.
  • Using Instagram Stories stickers to inspire replies and DMs: aside from feed content, Instagram Stories are your next best bet for boosting engagement on Instagram. Find creative ways to leverage Instagram Stories stickers (such as polls, quizzes and questions) to give users a reason to interact with your content.
  • Experimenting with content formats, messages and creative: the best way to boost engagement on Instagram is to learn what content works best for your specific audience. When running an Instagram engagement campaign, make sure to use a mix of content formats (including videos, carousels, single images, Reels, IGTV and Instagram Stories) and track which posts deliver the best results. Plus, it’s worth experimenting with different captions, call-to-action messages and imagery to see if this has an impact on your engagement rates.

By running a campaign to boost your engagement on Instagram, you’ll be able to move your followers along in the buyer journey and prime them for conversion (whether that’s downloading your app, signing up for your newsletter or making a purchase).

Contests

Speaking of engagement, one of the most powerful ways to drive deep interactions and engagement from your audience is to run an Instagram contest.

Not only will this boost the visibility of your account and help you reach new audiences, but it can also help you grow your follower base at the same time.

However, before you get started it’s important to understand the strict guidelines that apply when running a contest on Instagram. First and foremost, you need to make it clear in all of your contest posts that Instagram is not involved in the competition.

This means Instagram is released of any responsibility or involvement in your competition. That also means that you’ll need to figure out all of the tech and processes needed to run the contest on Instagram (as the platform is unable to assist with the admin side of running this promotion).

Next up, you need to have a clear set of rules and guidelines for entrants to follow when taking part in your contest. This needs to cover:

  • What action you need them to take to enter: this needs to be a clear set of steps of actions that make them eligible for your contest.
  • What are the terms and eligibility requirements: this covers everything from how old entrants must be to what countries or regions are eligible to enter this contest.
  • What compliance steps need to be followed: this means reviewing any rules or regulations apply in your country and ensuring your contest (including the collection of data and prizes) follow these guidelines.

Need some creative inspiration to inspire your first (or next) Instagram content? Here are some of our favourite contents formats to try:

  • Like or comment to win: this is one of the most common competition formats as it’s the easiest way to boost entries and simple to moderate, too. However, having such a low barrier to entry can impact the quality of your entrants, so be mindful of this when designing your contest mechanisms.
  • Photo caption contest: as the name suggests, this competition is all about asking your followers to show off their sense of humor with an interactive contest format. To execute this format, simply upload an interesting photo to your Feed and ask your fans to caption it in the comments, with the most creative answer winning a prize.
  • Tag a friend: this contest mechanism is a great way to boost your accounts’ reach and exposure and potentially grow your following, too. Here’s how it works: simply ask users to tag a friend/s in the comments to go into the draw to win a prize.
  • Trivia or skill-based contest: want to test your follower’s creativity and skills? This contest mechanism is a great way to do just that. It involves quizzing your followers about how much they know about your brand or a subject related to your business, or even asking your followers to show off a talent they have to win a prize.
  • User generated content contest: want to boost your brand of high-value content while running a contest? That’s where a UGC competition comes in. This format allows you to set clear contest terms and rules about what content you want your followers to create (such as showing your product in a particular setting) to enter. Make sure to use a contest hashtag to collate entries and easily allow you to select the winner.

Now, you’re probably wondering: how do you run an Instagram contest? Here’s an easy-to-follow guide to everything you need to know about setting up your next Instagram competition:

  1. Set a clear goal for what you want to achieve: make sure you understand what results you’re looking to achieve (whether that’s follower growth, post engagements or the creation of UGC). Set clear benchmarks and KPIs to track your success along the way.
  2. Plan your contest in advance: the better prepared you are ahead of time, the better your contest results will be. That means understanding:
    • What do you want entrants to do? Make sure you match your contest format to your desired outcomes or results.
    • What are the rules of competition? These need to be easily accessible either in your post caption or comments or via a link in your Instagram bio.
    • How long will your contest run for? This allows you to set clear timings to create a sense of urgency to your campaign.
    • Will you use a campaign hashtag? This needs to be created in advance and shared with your followers to make sure they leverage it throughout their entries.
    • How will you pick and notify the winner? This means defining whether this is a game of chance or a game of skill, and having a process in place for getting in touch with the winning entrant.
  3. Make your contest easy to enter: by reducing the number of actions and steps users need to take to enter, you’ll be able to boost contest entries and drive stronger results.
  4. Offer an appropriate prize: to incentivise participation, you need to ensure you’re offering a reward that is lucrative to your audience and will inspire them to take action.
  5. Measure your results: make sure you have clear benchmarks and metrics to track your success, including:
    • Number of entrants
    • Engagement levels
    • Follower growth
    • Website or landing page traffic
    • Product trials or purchases
    • Overall brand sentiment

Sales or Promotions Campaigns

Looking to drive conversion from Instagram? That’s where this final Instagram campaign type comes in: sales or promotions campaigns.

Unlike brand awareness campaigns, sales campaigns have one goal in mind: conversions. The aim here is to drive bottom-of-the-funnel activity to impact your bottom line.

The key to running this type of campaign successfully is to ensure your audience is primed and ready to convert.

This means sales or promotions campaigns should be run after you’ve built a loyal, engaged following through a follower growth campaign. That will ensure your sales campaign doesn’t launch to crickets or lead to a low conversion rate.

So, how does a sales campaign work? Typically brands use this type of campaign to:

  • Launch a new product or service
  • Boost exposure for an existing product
  • Promote a sale or promotional discount

When it comes to executing a sales or promotional campaign, Instagram offers stacks of helpful features to streamline the path to purchase and help boost your conversion rate, including:

  • Instagram Shopfront: allow users to purchase your promoted products directly from the Instagram app with Instagram’s ecommerce features.
  • Instagram Collections: curate bespoke collections to align with your campaign and showcase new arrivals, gifts, seasonal trends and more.
  • Product Tags: turn every Instagram post into a shoppable experience with Product Tags that show the price of your products and allow users to add to cart in a few taps.
  • Ads with Product Tags: boost the reach and amplify the success of your sales campaign by promoting your posts featuring shoppable product tags.
  • Curated Shop Tab: once you have your ecommerce store set up in Instagram, your range will also appear in Instagram’s Shop tab to help new high-intent audiences discover and purchase from your brand.

Plus, aside from Instagram’s shoppable features, there are a stack of powerful ways to use the platform’s other features to leverage sales campaigns. These include:

  • Using Instagram Stories countdown stickers to build anticipation for product launches.
  • Hosting Instagram Live broadcasts to give followers a sneak preview of new products.
  • Leveraging Reels to build interest and expand the reach of your campaign to inspire conversions.

How to run an Instagram campaign

Now we’ve covered all the main types of Instagram campaigns (and how your business can leverage them), let’s walk you through how to execute your next Instagram campaign from start to finish.

Step 1: Establish your campaign goals

As we’ve discussed earlier, there are stacks of different campaign objectives you can choose to guide your Instagram campaign. Ultimately, these objectives will define the goals you’re striving to achieve and the targets you set for the campaign, too.

In broad terms, the main campaign objectives you can choose from include:

  • Brand awareness: boosting your brand’s profile, reputation and reach with potential customers on Instagram.
  • Sales/lead generation: converting followers into customers and inspiring them to make a sale, sign up to your newsletter, download your app or make an inquiry.
  • Engagement: inspiring users to interact with your content, including key metrics such as likes, comments, shares, saves and DMs.
  • Follower growth: strategically increasing your following on Instagram and boosting the number of users following your brand.
  • Website traffic: driving your followers off the Instagram platform and onto your own website.

And here’s why setting these campaign objectives and goals are important:

  • Objectives hold your campaign accountable and allow you to show tangible ROI from your paid or organic campaign efforts.
  • Objectives guide your camping budget and help you to assess how much spend you need to put behind your campaign to drive the results you want.
  • Objectives refine the data and metrics you’re tracking to ensure you’re measuring success in a tactical and meaningful way.

Once you’ve settled on the broad objective for your Instagram campaign, it’s now time to define what that means as a campaign goal. The SMART goal setting framework is one of the best ways to give your campaign objectives a clear focus and parameters to measure success.

Here’s what the SMART framework translates to:

  • Specific goals that are clear, simple and well defined.
  • Measurable goals that will be tracked using specific metrics.
  • Achievable goals that you can feasible reach with your available resources and budget.
  • Realistic goals that you can hit in the timeframes you’ve set for the campaign.
  • Time-sensitive goals that have milestones and end-dates to hit.

If you’re running a paid campaign, you’ll be able to select this objective at the start of your ad set up. However, if you’re running an organic campaign, this objective should be top-of-mind and used to set out the strategy and tactics you’ll use to hit your goals.

Step 2: Set clear campaign targets

With your overall campaign goals and objectives in place, it’s time to assign these goals tangible targets. And that’s where campaign metrics come in.

Each campaign objective has a key selection of metrics you should be tracking to determine whether you’re on or off target.

Here’s a definitive list of campaign objectives and the associated metrics you should be tracking:

  • Brand awareness campaigns: followers, impressions, traffic, and reach.
  • Conversion or sales campaigns: sales revenue, lead conversion rate, non-revenue conversions, email sign-ups.
  • Engagement campaigns: clicks, likes, shares, saves, and comments.
  • Follower growth campaigns: mentions, follower growth, share of voice, and engagement rate.
  • Web traffic campaigns: traffic, link clicks, conversions, email sign-ups and product trials.

Once you’ve narrowed down what metrics are aligned with your campaign objective, it’s time to set KPIs and targets to hit. The best campaigns have incremental targets that you’re working towards during your campaign as well as end of campaign KPIs that you’ll review in your post campaign report.

Again, make sure to give each target a defined goal, time frame and exact metric to track your success.

And if you’re not hitting these targets? Make adjustments to your campaign as you go (whether that’s changing budgets, the target audience or switching up the messages and creative used in your ads).

Step 3: Thoroughly plan and map out your campaign

Now, it’s time to get planning. With your objectives and targets in place, it’s time to map out what steps you need to take to bring your campaign to life.

You should set aside anywhere from a few weeks to a few months for the planning phase of your Instagram campaign to give yourself enough runway to put your ideas into action. The time it will take to plan your campaign ultimately depends on the complexity of your activity.

For example, if you’re planning to engage 20+ influencers to help drive sales for a new product launch, this will take significantly longer to plan than a simple email sign up campaign.

In general terms, some of the key steps you’ll need to take when planning your campaign include:

  • What content will you be sharing and who is creating this content? This could include producing video content, capturing bespoke photography, calling out to your community to produce UGC or working with influencers to create the campaign content.
  • Who will you need to engage to bring this campaign to life? This might mean hiring freelancers, consultants and agencies to help execute the campaign or engaging influencers to help bring your campaign to life.
  • What Instagram features will you leverage to execute this campaign? This means assessing with tools will help you hit your campaign goals, including Instagram Stories, Reels, IGTV, Instagram Live, shoppable Instagram features, as well as paid Instagram activity.
  • How much budget will you need to set aside for this campaign? If you’re running a paid campaign, this means mapping out what spend will be required to hit your desired KPIs and campaign targets (and allocating this from your marketing budget).
  • How long will this campaign run for and how will you seed out your content? This means mapping out the duration of your campaign, including start and end dates as well as key campaign milestones (such as new creative launches and the start of discount codes etc.).

The more time and energy you put into the planning stage of your campaign, the more effective it will be in hitting your desired goals and objectives.

Step 4: Create a campaign calendar

With your plan in place, it’s time to put your campaign into action with a campaign content calendar. This document will act as a guide to hold you accountable and explain what content is going to be published (and when).

To help you create your campaign calendar, here’s a guide to what kind of information it should include:

  • What dates will your campaign be running from and to? This should be shown as a calendar view and include spaces to map out each individual post you’ll be sharing across the campaign duration.
  • How many posts will you be sharing each day/week/month? Map this out on your calendar and explain exactly what each post will feature (including topic, asset, caption and hashtags).
  • What Instagram features will you be using? Your calendar should explain each post format and what platform featurings you’ll be using.
  • What time of day will each post be published? This should be based on your audience’s most active times to ensure your posts gain maximum engagement and exposure.
  • How much budget are you putting behind each post? This means assigning a paid budget to each of your posts to ensure you don’t overspend on one specific asset and spread your budget evenly across the entire campaign.

Make sure to schedule all of your campaign posts in advance to take the guesswork out of running your Instagram campaign. This will ensure you never miss a post or spend too much time manually publishing each post you’re planning to share.

Step 5: Conduct a post campaign review

Once your campaign has wrapped up, the work isn’t over. The best Instagram marketers understand the value of reviewing performance and tracking how your campaign measured up against your original goals and targets.

To conduct this post campaign review, here are a few key steps to follow:

  1. Review your goals and assess if your campaign hit those original KPIs: go back to your original list of metrics and benchmarks and compare how your final campaign results match up.
  2. Evaluate your best and worst performing pieces of content: take a look at which parts of your campaign were the strongest and weakest based on your goals and KPIs.
  3. Outline your campaign learnings: this means looking at what parts of the campaign taught you something valuable and noting this down as recommendations or insights for your future campaign activity.
  4. Identify areas of improvement: take those learnings and develop a set of key steps to follow next time to avoid those mistakes or harness new opportunities you’ve discovered during this campaign.

Step 6: Design a follow-up campaign to nurture warm leads

Last, but not least, is your post campaign activity. Once you’ve hit your goals (whether that’s driving new subscribers, sales or followers), it’s time to follow up with these users and inspire action from them.

Once your campaign has wrapped up, take some time to consider how you can make best use of these new leads for your business.

That might include:

  • Sending a bespoke EDM to your new subscribers offering them an exclusive discount code.
  • Rewarding new followers with an exclusive piece of content or sneak peek of a new product or service.
  • Inspiring loyalty from new customers by asking them to leave a review of the product they purchased.

The goal here is to continue the conversation with your new audience and keep your brand front-of-mind with them to inspire brand loyalty and even advocacy.

So, there you have it. Instagram campaigns have the ability to drive meaningful results for your business and turn your Instagram followers into paying customers. By understanding which campaign type is right for your business, planning your activity in advance and having clear benchmarks for success, you’ll be in the best position to generate tangible ROI from your first (or next) Instagram campaign.

Photo of Kyra GoodmanKyra Goodman

Kyra is a Junior Marketing Manager and "Spicy Meme Master" at Sked Social who loves to create content. Born and raised in Hawaii, her favorite things are traveling, yoga, beaching, coffee and baseball. Connect with her on twitter at @kyra_n_goodman.

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