7 minutes read

There are two essential attributes for a successful banner advertising campaign: creative and smart.

Creativity is all about design, how you create your banner ad, the colors you choose , the CTA button and so forth. Smart is all about the campaign, the targeting you use: search retargeting, facebook ads, retargeting.

Today I want to talk about the first category: Creativity and put it on the same page with Instagram. Exactly! Instagram + Creativity = Love.

Advertisers can learn a lot from instagrammers who share their world with people every day and create a beautiful platform.

I love spending time on Instagram and looking for interesting people to follow. Also I learned a lot from them and practice it on my daily job.

In this article, i’m going to walk you through 7 best practices advertises can learn from instagrammers:

  1. The huge power of visual content

  2. Create a community and connect with them

  3. Being constant with your work is good for your brand

  4. Publish your best work

  5. Frame mindset

  6. More story, less promotion in a picture

  7. Be different

Are you ready? Let’s get started:

1. The Huge Power of Visual

Here are some stats for visual content:

  • Photos Make Up 93% of The Most Engaging Posts on Facebook (bit.ly/1LCflwW)

  • Images and photos are the most important tactic in optimizing social media posts. (bit.ly/1BMQQNC)

  • 70% of marketers plan to increase their use of original visual assets in 2015. (bit.ly/1LorhnW)

  • The human brain processes visual information 60,000 faster than text.

  • 93% of human communication is visual. (bit.ly/1HeIIYv)

Now I want to show you some stats about Instagram:

  • 300 Million monthly active users

  • on average 70M photos are uploaded every day

  • More than 70% of the users are outside the USA

Source (bit.ly/1KdeRjF)

So what do these numbers mean? First, Instagram is a tremendous platform where visual content is uploaded, shared and commented on. Second, Instagram is a good place to see the huge impact of quality visual content on the community.  Also, if you follow the best instagrammers you will learn to create and share beautiful photos.

I like to call Instagram  “The Visual Emotion Generator Platform”.

*Take away for advertisers: Beautiful quality visual content is the key for engaging your audience and

2. Create community and connect with it

A tribe is a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea. For millions of years, human beings have been part of one tribe or another. A group needs only two things to be a tribe: a shared interest and a way to communicate ― Seth Godin, Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us

Instagram is less important without the community, the people who share their life and the professionals who create art.

I know you may have heard from a lot of marketing professionals: to grow your community you need to create content and engage with your audience. This is almost a cliché but let me tell you different.

Let’s take a look at Thomas Kakareko (@thomas_k), a photographer from Berlin who founded Visumate Instagram Agency. He started with his passion for photography,  kept it going with Instagram and now he connects with other influencers through his work, agency and projects. How does this happen? Because he created a community and his community follows him and pays attention to his photos. More, he passes on knowledge to his community and helps others gain more influence on Instagram. Also, Thomas is a very active user, uploading  not only his pictures but others’ work, allows them to comment and organizes instawalks.

If this doesn’t convince you that connecting with your community is rewarding, there are many other stories just like his. Although it might sound cliché, advertisers should not neglect their responsibility towards their community and constantly create content for it.

*Take away for advertisers: Before you start advertising for your brand think of your audience and how you will connect with your community.

3. Being constant in your work is good for your brand

Before I start following an instagrammer I look up his work by checking  his profile. Does he post every day? Does he connect with the community? Does he have his own style? What can I learn from him? And after I analyze, I hit the follow button and keep in mind that I’m testing him. Why? Because now I will follow his photos to see if I was right or not.

According to eMarketer Instagram users spend on average 21.2 minutes per day on Instagram. What does this mean? That an Instagram user is looking for photos, wants to create, edit and connect with his followers. But if he doesn’t find content from users that he is following, he will unfollow them as soon as he remembers. This is why influencers constantly share photos and videos.

*Take away for advertisers: Be constant with your work, your projects and your campaigns. Think about display advertising on the long run, not just a one time thing.  Be constant in everything you do and test your tools, your strategy and your skills.


4. Publish your best work

Until you know how to do it well, your advertising will be rubbish… Anything that’s rubbish will be forgotten, and anything that’s good will be picked up, and remembered, and a contribution to people’s life. (bit.ly/1HhwGf3)

I can’t agree more with David Troutt. If we, the advertising industry, start doing great advertising, even if it’s radio, TV, social media marketing campaigns, banner ads or whatever you can call it, we will conquer the world again.

Advertising should be 200% creative, entertain you through rough traffic. persuade you to try something new or make you smile for a few seconds.

Now back to the instagrammers. Right now I’m scrolling my instagram feed and @pketron came with an astonishing photo. Next, I’ll check her profile and look at her photos and everything she uploaded is beautiful, starting from landscape, moments, portrait or minimalist concept.

*Take away for advertisers: Publish your best work. If you are doing banner advertising, you should give it your best: Start with high quality images, strong call-to-action  and don’t forget branding elements (website, logo or your brand name)

5. Frame mindset

Because on Instagram you have only a 1:1 photo ratio, you must edit your photo aligned to that ratio. Now this is an interesting fact that advertisers can learn from the professional instagrammers.

Have you ever wondered why Instagram created the 1:1 photo ratio? Why didn’t they allow various  ratio photos to be uploaded? I think is all about attention users have on the social network. They clean up the feed so much that when you scroll, the biggest thing you can see and will attract your attention: the 1:1 photo.

Gary Vaynerchuk said

there is no social network in the world right now that has more of the user’s attention that Instagram  (bit.ly/1dgM3rX)

that’s because Instagram is all about the most creative, smart and compelling content  you can see on social media. With this, the platform catches users’ attention.

Take away for advertisers: Users’ attention is very important. Keep that in mind when you’re designing your ads.

6. More story, less promotion in one picture

I know that some instagrammers run campaigns for several brands because this is business. They have a community and their own style. Brands want to get into that community and reach users on Instagram. There is no sin over here and I love to see creative campaigns on Instagram. But the big responsibility is on the instagrammer shoulders, because they need to balance the promotional and story telling very well.

Let’s take a look at @jerm_cohen profile and see his last campaign for Mercedes. We can see that he is on a road with a CLA250 4MATIC exploring New York City on his way to the first stop of the #MBEvolutionTour. You will see photos with the beautiful red car along side photos about his life on his feed. Every picture gets its own story and sometimes there is a promotional hashtag or a brand tag. But this is advertising and you must combine the story with the promotional/branded point.

*Take away for advertisers: When you create a display ad think about story and promotion. What’s the ratio? If it’s too much story and less promotion, the users will see the ad, love it but won’t click it. And if it’s too much promotion and less story, then the user won’t see your ad because it’s too aggressive. Create a balance between story and promotional advertising!

7. Be different

Instagram is not only beautiful landscapes and portraits, it is also a network where the artist can express themselves and upload their photos. I love following users that are different from each other.

Let’s check out  @benedettodemaio who doesn’t consider himself a photographer, but rather an image craftsman. If you look at this photos you will see that he is different from the users I told you about above. He works with a dominating color and then creates  elements that help him stay in front of the creative road. I just love his work and his pictures.

So if you want to be different in your world, you should start using professional Instagram banner maker, such as Creatopy, Adobe Stock or Adobe Photoshop.

There are also users like @joselourenco who is a visual artist and photographer living in Lisbon, @jesuso_ortiz that is a minimalist colorful artist or @lucaslevitan that is a Brazilian artist based in London that invades art with his pictures.

Now you see why I said that Instagram can be more than landscapes or portraits. Instagram is about art, creativity and community. And this is why an advertiser needs to be different in a world where everybody is copying everybody. Trends are on the move and articles with “10 trends to follow in advertising” will always be booming at the end of the year.

*Take away for advertisers: The “be different” is another cliché theory to follow in industry? Maybe. But this is all you have, and a spot of creativity and smartness. So combine the “be different” with “creativity” and “smart” in your next campaign or strategy.


Instagram is more than simple social network. If we look closer we will see users and brands that are creating art from their work and having an impact worldwide with a 1:1 photo.

So start creating a community, connect with it, publish your best work and be different.

It’s not a success recipe but can help you in your next advertising campaign.


Robert Katai
Robert Katai is the Product Marketing Specialist at Creatopy. His work was featured on Adweek, Entrepreneur, Marketing Profs, Content Marketing Institute and other places.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

You may also like