Over the past few years, Instagram has made it more straightforward for brands to embed links to external landing pages, and therefore easier for customers to make quick, impulsive purchases.
Whilst it remains impossible to add functioning links to standard image captions, accounts can now introduce external links via shoppable posts, stories and feed ads. This is, of course, providing you have a business account with more than 10,000 followers. Those of us who are not Instagram famous will need to stick with the infuriating phrase ‘link in bio’ for now.
The use of dedicated landing pages has enabled some brands to optimise conversion rates via the platform, as well as better track those who are interacting with their Instagram content.
Ads placed within Instagram story feeds are particularly effective at driving traffic to an external source. In an experiment conducted by Agorapulse, an Instagram story ad reached 44% more users, had a 23% higher conversion rate and 78% more clicks than a near-identical in-feed ad they were running at the same time.
Whilst this does not lessen the value of other forms of advertising on the platform, story ads are continuing to kick up a storm. It is therefore important to make sure that landing pages can perform as effectively as possible to encourage impulse purchases. Let’s look at the benefits of using landing pages designed to be campaign specific.
Earlier this year, Patricio Robles wrote about the importance of personalising landing pages for shoppable posts, and a similar theory can be used when considering ads in the story feed.
“Unlike a product page, which uses a standard format and functions within the context of a retailer’s broader site, a product landing page can:
- Employ a unique design that is intended to wow the shopper and highlight the unique attributes of a single product.
- Contain content, such as video, above and beyond what is typically contained on a product page.
- Offer shoppers the ability to complete the purchase directly on the page through an embedded checkout form.”
Building a dedicated product landing page for an Instagram story ad enables you to personalise it to match both the theme of the advert and your Instagram audience which may, for example, be different from your Twitter audience. You may want to whittle down to specific colours and sizes (e.g. last few left in stock, swipe up to shop), or to show content emphasising certain product features.
Using a landing page means you can get creative with content and layout, shorten the customer journey (your customer has already expressed interest in that product) and continue to update it with fresh content to match your ongoing Instagram campaign.
Just remember to use visually similar imagery, colours and copy for each respective campaign so that the landing page feels like a seamless extension to your story ad, rather than a disjointed website redirect.
More than ever, brands are expected to update their social feeds with exciting new visuals, testimonials and products so as to remain at the forefront of their customers’ minds. Before Instagram was capable of integrating links in stories, brands suffered the unenviable task of updating their bio URLs to match their latest posts. Consequently, historic ‘link in bio’ posts became completely obsolete, resulting in numerous customers with disconnected experiences and/or searching frantically through google to find the product via another route.
No more. One simple swipe and the customer has been directed straight to a shiny dedicated landing page where they can buy the product in a few clicks. The key to effective UX is ease of use. Leave that bio alone!
Saving past stories in the highlights section means brands don’t have to worry about expiration either. It’s a great way of categorising content relating to best-selling products, without customers having to scroll through an entire Instagram feed of images. If, whilst viewing the highlights, they decide to purchase, they can swipe up and be taken to the landing page just as they would if the story had been recently uploaded. Likeable have compiled some additional reasons brands can benefit from Instagram highlights here.
By devoting each landing page to an Instagram campaign, brands will know exactly where that traffic came from. One simple way of tracking clicks from specific sources on Instagram (and other social platforms) is through UTM codes – SproutSocial and Hootsuite have handy guides on how to do this. By incorporating these codes into your links, conversions can be more precisely traced back to a story ad campaign, (or indeed organic post or bio link), rather than ‘Instagram’ as a simplified source.
Some retailers may have the option of creating dynamic landing pages, which change depending on the traffic source.
A few weeks ago I was served an ad in my Instagram stories by Avon UK which contained a short video promoting their new lip product ‘Lip Tattoo’. It piqued my interest.
I’m not one to make impulse purchases, so instead I followed Avon UK out of curiosity and took a look at their story, which featured the same ad, amongst other content. Then I slept on the decision whether to treat myself or not.
Needless to say I was still thinking about it by the next evening, so I went back onto Instagram to watch the video ad again and make a final decision, only it had disappeared from Avon’s story. Shortly afterwards I noticed they had saved the snippet in their ‘Lip Tattoo’ highlights category on their profile, which I was grateful to find. There were also some other great bits of related content I’d missed including a step-by-step tutorial and review of the product by an influencer. At this point I was totally convinced I needed it, so I swiped up.
I was then met with the following (image extended to show full length of page with scrolling):
Whilst there are messaging and design elements that match the Instagram ad, the layout left a lot to be desired:
- I was instantly met with a random line of code underneath the brand logo
- The navigation bar spills off the right-hand side of the page
- The content that is centrally aligned doesn’t fill the whole width of the screen, which was underwhelming to look at
- The feature video is misaligned and has not been reduced in size to fit the width of the screen
- There was copy covering the portion of the video I could see
- The titles of each shade overlap each other at the bottom of the page, making it difficult to click on the one I’d like to find more about
Some basic testing, layout realignment and optimisation for different screen widths would transform this into an impressive, seamless product showcase. One can assume the journey from the advert through to the landing page had not been tested prior to launch, and that the analytics Avon have in place have not been precise enough to flag up the issue.
Regardless, I was pretty determined to buy the lip stain, so I battled on and clicked on the colour I wanted to purchase… and was met with this:
Aside from the copious amount of white space, there was no indication of the usual elements you would find on a product page:
- The description was very difficult to find (all the way at the bottom)
- There were no alternative images for me to scroll through that demonstrated the colour I had chosen (and no way of zooming in on the one existing image)
- There was no title or description of the colour I’d just clicked on
- After much searching, I found the price hidden on the right hand edge of the page (requiring the user to scroll horizontally)
- Most importantly, there was no ‘add to basket’ button
Unfortunately this was where my customer journey ended, abruptly, and much to my frustration.
Up until this point Avon had ticked all the marketing ‘boxes’ – not only was I effectively targeted with the ad, but they had caused me to both follow their Instagram account and swipe up to make a purchase.
At a later date, I checked out their generic mobile website which seems to work pretty seamlessly. It therefore would have probably been better for conversions, at least in the short term, to direct customers to the generic ‘Lip Tattoo’ product page straight from Instagram, rather than the page I was met with.
Whilst creating a separate landing page per campaign can reward you with the many benefits listed above, the complexity of managing so many can create a disjointed customer journey if not tested thoroughly. It is more important to ensure that the passage between Instagram and checkout is as quick and easy as possible to capture those impulse buys.