This article first appeared on AdCombo blog.
At this point, practically everyone has recognized that social media can be a tremendous source of valuable traffic across nearly all verticals. While a lot of attention is being paid to Twitter, Facebook and YouTube — and these are certainly channels worth exploring — the level of user engagement on Instagram outstrips them all, according to Instagram, users like 4.2 billion posts daily. Instagram users are more likely to spend more time browsing around within the social platform and they are more likely to like and comment on posts. With an ever increasing flow of information, people lean to visual sources to grasp information quicker and be less stressed out. This is critical to understand for any affiliate marketer to succeed in a long run.
The challenge, then, is trying to figure out what would be the best way to tap into this user base and get them to convert on the offers you are trying to promote. While such thing as the perfect formula to fit all cases simply doesn’t exist, there are several guiding principles that you should keep in mind when promoting offers on Instagram.
Find the Right Offer
The first thing that you’ll need to recognize are the kinds of demographics that are typically attracted to Instagram. The user base tends to skew slightly younger, roughly the millennial generation, and some of the most popular topic areas include travel, food and beauty.
Given these basic facts, it makes sense that health and beauty offers are a good area to consider promoting through Instagram. For the purposes of this guide, we’ll focus on nutra offers (btw, you can find quality Nutra offers here), but of course there are other industry verticals that you can explore as well.
A great way to find the best offers to promote is to follow the AdCombo Blog, where we post top offers on a regular basis. You’ll also notice that many offers in the AdCombo inventory of geo-specific, so you will want to choose offers that best align with your core audience.
When choosing the right offer, don’t focus exclusively on the CPA rate or even the EPC. While these can provide some insight into the profitability of an offer, they are inherently incomplete. And remember that affiliates use different promotional techniques and some will be more successful than others, skewing the numbers accordingly.
AdCombo Instagram Offers
Preview the Landing/Prelanding Page(s)
A good choice from the top offers post referenced above is the EcoSlim offer targeted at Spain traffic. When you click through to the offer page, you’ll be presented with all the pertinent information you need. The easiest way to find the offer is with the offer ID, which will be indicated in the blog post. Alternatively, you can also search for related or other relevant offers through the affiliate dashboard as normal.
This is also the perfect opportunity for you to preview the available landing and prelanding pages, so you can decide which one(s) you want to send your traffic to. They can also provide added insight into how you can promote the offer, since you can glean additional information about the product and its benefits. Remember to focus on the benefits and not the features!
In this case, we can see that the main landing page is very colorful and is chock-full of useful information. The prelanding page is more like a blog post or authority article, going through specific case studies of how this product has worked for different people. Using the built-in translate tool in Google Chrome is useful if you’re not familiar with the offer language, but you have to ask whether your audience will encounter similar struggles and whether you should be picking a different offer to promote.
Instagram Ad Post Examples
Source Your Images
Instagram is necessarily a very visual medium, so it is important that you pick especially eye-catching images. It doesn’t matter how good your image caption is if everyone skims right past your post entirely. It starts with a great image!
There are several different ways you can go about doing this. If you want to keep as much on brand as possible, you can save or screenshot images from the landing or prelanding pages. Check with your affiliate manager beforehand to ensure you won’t run into any permission or copyright issues.
For instance, the prelanding page for the EcoSlim product has several tremendous “before and after” type images that are perfect for promoting the benefits associated with the product. They really capture the attention of the audience and draw them into reading more about it.
Another option to consider, which should be leveraged carefully, is stock image and royalty-free image sources. You can get free images, even for commercial use, through sites like Pexels and Unsplash, but recognize that because they are free, they are likely being used by other people on other sites and platforms too. The originality of Instagram can be lost, so you may want to alter or edit the images so they are more unique. You can also pay for stock images, which should reduce the number of people who are using them.
Ideally, you want to use your own unique images for posting on Instagram, but this may or may not always be possible. Again, there is no magic bullet for what is the “best” or most “viral” image for Instagram, so you will need to use your own best judgement and learn from experience.
Pexels Free Stock Photos Directory
Edit and Optimize Your Images
Sourcing your image is one thing. Editing and optimizing it is another thing altogether. As powerful as the innumerable mobile tools have become — VSCO is especially popular, for example — it is oftentimes better to rely on more robust image editing suites on your computer instead.
It was once the case that Instagram only allowed images that were in a square 1:1 format, but now you can upload images with all sorts of different aspect ratios. That doesn’t mean that you necessarily should. Your profile page will still display square-shaped thumbnails and using images of different shapes could crop out useful information.
Instagram is much more flexible that it once was and it is worth exploring some of the available options, like videos, collages and slideshows. Remember that you want your Instagram post to look organic and natural, as users can get discouraged by what appears to be a blatant advertisement.
Research Keywords and Hashtags
Having a great image with a great caption isn’t going to do you any good if it only reaches a dozen people. Growing your audience and expanding your reach on Instagram will be critical to your success. Hashtags can play a tremendous role in this, but how can you determine which hashtags you should use?
A great number of mobile apps are available specifically for this purpose. I personally prefer using LetsTag on Android. You start with one word that you think might be relevant, like “health” in this case, and the app will automatically display dozens of other relevant hashtags that are popular or trending on the social network.
Simply tap on the hashtags you wish to use, tap on the bottom of the screen to bring up your selected list, copy to your clipboard, and paste accordingly. A similar app for iOS devices is TagsForLikes. Browse around your respective app store to see what tools you’d like to use.
TagsForLikes Android App
Link to the Offer (At Least 2 Ways)
One of the challenges you will face with Instagram is that links, by default, are not “clickable” the way that they are on Twitter, Facebook, or any number of other social networks. So, how does this work from an affiliate marketing perspective? You have at least two main options.
First, if you are only promoting offers in a serial manner, focusing on one for an extended period of time, the best way to provide a link is to use the website field in your profile. This is the only “clickable” link. Even so, don’t use your tracking link directly out of the affiliate dashboard. Instead, use a redirect on your own domain or use a URL shortening service.
A great advantage that Tiny.cc has over some other similar redirection services is that you can define a custom URL, so long as it is not already taken. In the case of the EcoSlim offer, I was able to nab tiny.cc/ecoslim. This can be entered into the profile URL section and it looks reasonably natural. Using your domain is oftentimes preferable though.
The second method is to edit your image such that the shortened URL is in the Instagram post image itself. This is easy enough to do and it allows you to promote more than one offer at a time, but it does mean that the user will need to enter the URL manually into his or her web browser. This added friction point may have a detrimental effect on your visits and conversions.
Tiny URL Shorting Service
Keep Building Your Audience and Reach
As a general rule of thumb, fly by night operations just don’t work and this is especially true when you are pursuing social media marketing. It can be a lot of tough work to grow your audience and expand your reach when you are performing all of these actions manually.
While it is always advisable to be as organic as possible on social media, fostering trust among your followers, the time investment can sometimes be too much. There are automated tools for helping to grow your presence on Instagram though.
When you are promoting Nutra offers on Instagram (you can find HQ Nutra offers here) or approaching just about any other vertical, tools like this can prove invaluable for expanding your organic reach and consequently improving your affiliate marketing performance.