Instagram is on the rise in the Gulf region. While Whatsapp and Facebook remain on the top with the most users from the region, the rise of interest for Instagram means good news for business owners, as they have a new channel to promote their content.

Since its launch in May of 2010, Instagram took the world by storm. Today, Instagram welcomes 400 million visitors monthly.

According to Payfort’s insights on the shopping trends in the Middle East in 2016, the highest preference rates for Instagram are in UAE, Kuwait and Bahrain.

Almost one-third of social media users in the Arab world have a current subscription in Instagram. UAE social media users are the most users with the highest current subscription, followed by Morocco (according to the same report).

The predictions are that more and more people from the Middle East will use Instagram, especially in the countries where the least of total users prefer it, such as Libya and Syria.

Instagram offers sponsored posts that are set up in a similar way to Facebook ads. It is no wonder because Facebook acquired the platform in 2012. Brands like Taco Bell, Mercedes-Benz, Virgin America, American Express, Adidas, Burberry and many others use Instagram ads to run successful campaigns.

As you notice, these brands are all different, but Instagram ads are effective for them because they know how to use them. Follow these golden rules of Instagram advertising to promote your content like a professional.

  1. Tell a story

Just like Facebook, Instagram ads need a story. Your business Instagram account is a hub for visual stories that present your work. Whether your stories consist of a series of hourly photos that describe a product, or you take short video snips that share special insights, storytelling is what attracts people on Instagram.

The truth is, everyone loves a good story. If you engage your audience emotionally, photos will sell more effectively than words.

  1. Choose keywords and hashtags smartly

#hashtags are little keyword phrases that help users sort content according to their interest. Remember, hashtags are not reserved for Twitter. Instagram advertisers can add hashtags to make their content appear in specific searches. By tapping on the hashtag, users are able to see all images tagged with the same hashtag. So, think twice before you add a hashtag.

If you haven’t added hashtags before, go back and edit your old pictures to do it. Use relevant keywords for your brand and user interests when adding hashtags.

  1. Make Instagram ads follow your brand

Build your ads around your marketing strategy. Instagram ads should not be created randomly. Instead, make sure they follow your company’s brand strategy. Make sure your call to action looks natural and right for the brand.

You should also consider implementing Instagram ads into your other social media campaigns. Mercedes -Benz started a joint Instagram and Facebook campaign to launch its new SUV and earned a 580% increase in site visits.

How Mercedes turned a hashtag into a digital marketing success?
Mercedes-Benz was entering the compact SUV market for the first time with the release of the GLA. Their target market for the GLA was the Millennials (ages 18-34), and the most of them could be found on Instagram and Facebook. So Mercedes figured they may as well place their social media ads on both platforms. The company asked people “What would you pack in your GLA?” and they used hashtag #GLApacked.

  1. Make the images central to the campaign

The images are central to the call to action. Effective Instagram ads rely on a single image to lure people to respond.

Also, try using images specifically taken for Instagram campaigns. That means close crops, tight product shots and unusual angles that generate curiosity.

  1. Test your ad campaigns

Just like with any other social media ad campaigns, you can learn a lot from testing Instagram ads. After establishing a benchmark ad, run test ads against the benchmark and examine the results.

Use the standard A/B split test method to test one Instagram ad against the other. Use an ad with a known response rate as you benchmark and a new ad testing one element against it. According to Entrepreneur, it is best to use the ad data to refresh your campaign, continuing to test until you can’t move the response any higher.

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