Make some magic this Mother’s Day with Instagram ads

10 min read
Amanda Schewaga

Mother’s day is often a major revenue booster for retail businesses. But with shops closed, many retailers are adding online ordering to meet customer needs. Meanwhile, homebound Canadians are hungry for any sort of normalcy. With a skillful use of Instagram ads, you can provide it for them.

Give sons and daughters across Canada an easy way to say ‘I love you, mom.’

We all know how active the Instagram community has become. Everyone from naturopaths to beauty gurus, travel agencies and horticulturalists use the platform to advertise their products.

And for good reason!

Instagram boasts nearly 1 billion active monthly users and one-third of those users have made a purchase through the platform.

Instagram Ads Bouquet of Flowers

To summarize? Instagram ads can expose millions of people to your business and products.

The catch?

You have to create eye-catching ads if you want to stand out from the ever-growing crowd of other brands that use it as a marketing tool.

But with so much information out there about Instagram ads, it can be difficult to know which tips to follow. Today, we’ll be discussing how to put together a super-charged, savvy Instagram campaign for Mother’s Day that will surpass your expectations.

And it all starts with choosing the right ad format.

Related: How to manage a business Instagram

Take these 5 Instagram tips to the bank

Now more than ever Canadians are craving any sense of normalcy. Give it to them by making it easy for them to find your Mother's Day gifts on Instagram:

  1. Identify your target audience.
  2. Show your product or service in action.
  3. Create your own Mother’s Day hashtag.
  4. Use social proof in your Instagram stories.
  5. Join forces with Momfluencers.

Let’s explain your ad options before sharing our tips.

Your Instagram ad options

Instagram Ads Photo Ad Example

The beauty of Instagram goes beyond the fact that it’s a visual app — which makes it perfect for showcasing gifts for sale. It also offers advertisers a raft of formats.

The first thing to know about how to advertise on instagram are the strengths and weaknesses of each type of ad:

Photo ads

The most common type of ad on Instagram, photo ads require a great pic of whatever you're selling.

The Pros:

  • Quick and simple setup
  • Includes a call-to-action (CTA) button that can link to a website, product page, app store, etc.
  • Comprehensive targeting abilities (location, age, gender, interests, etc.)
  • Customizable placement options
  • They appear in the newsfeed like a regular Instagram post so they’re not overtly sales-y
  • Require a single visual

The Cons:

  • Most commonly used Instagram ad format
  • Lower click through rate (CTR) than some other Instagram ad formats
  • Your success relies heavily on a single image

When a single photo or video isn't enough, consider a carousel ad. With these, viewers swipe through three or four images of the same product. These offer higher engagement rates than single-image Instagram ads.

The Pros:

  • Ability to show a single product from multiple angles or display multiple products
  • More engaging than single-image Instagram ads — people can’t resist swiping
  • Can be used to show the various stages of using a product or completing a process
  • Ability to create continuous ultra-wide displays (one landscape image broken into separate segments)
  • Works with both video and JPGs

The Cons:

  • Requires several high-quality images
  • Ads can easily become messy (too many elements, unclear CTA, etc.)
  • Potential information overwhelm for the viewer
  • Can have a higher cost per lead compared to other ad formats

Video ads

Great for engaging today’s video-loving users, these typically last 30 to 60 seconds.

The Pros:

  • High engagement rates
  • Several CTA buttons to choose from
  • Videos can be repurposed on YouTube channels or your website
  • Cost per click is often lower than a single-image or carousel ad

The Cons:

  • Many mobile users set their social accounts to automatically mute videos unless they are clicked on
  • Some users disable video unless they are connected to Wi-Fi
  • It costs money to conceptualize and film a high-quality video
  • Videos must be short (26 seconds or less is recommended)

Story ads

Typically appearing when Instagram users switch between the stories of different accounts, story ads are backlinked with a swipe up option.

The Pros:

  • Stories take up the entire screen of a mobile device, eliminating distractions
  • Instagram stories have a high completion rate (i.e. users watching all the way through)
  • Cheaper and more efficient than Facebook Story ads

The Cons:

  • The reach rate of Instagram story ads has been steadily declining
  • More expensive than single-image Instagram ads

Instagram TV (IGTV) ads

Instagram Ads Woman Taking Photo with Phone

These are good for video content that isn’t promotional but wouldn’t necessarily count as an ad. Businesses and influencers use Instagram TV ads to share video content like tutorials and real user reviews.

The Pros:

  • Videos can be any length
  • Ability to include links and hashtags within the caption
  • Followers receive notifications when a creator they follow has uploaded an IGTV video ad

The Cons:

  • Videos must be filmed in vertical format
  • Users can’t search IGTV videos — videos are displayed based on user interests
  • Only available on mobile iOS and Android devices

As you can see, Instagram offers an ad format for just about every need. Weigh the costs against the benefits to choose a format to experiment with.

Tips for promoting Mother’s Day gifts on Instagram

Advertising on Instagram is both an art and a science. Here are tips to give you a leg up.

1. Identify your target audience

The key to high-performing Instagram ads is making sure the right people see them. It’s a waste of money to show your ads to people who have no intention of buying Mother’s Day gifts.

You’ll want to start by asking “Who would be most likely to purchase this gift for their mom?” or “What type of mom would appreciate this gift?”

Let’s say you sell yoga equipment and you’re hoping to promote your yoga mat carrying case for Mother’s Day.

Your target audience would likely be moms between the ages of 25-45 who are interested in yoga and fitness. Why? Moms often let their families know about items they are interested in receiving as gifts, so speaking to them directly can be an effective strategy.

Alternatively, you might want to put your ad in front of young adults between the ages of 18 and 35 who are engaged shoppers and have expressed an interest in Mother’s Day.

When creating your custom target audience, always consider:

  • What geographic location you want to advertise to — do you ship your product nationally, internationally?
  • What common interests or behaviors your customers share
  • Whether or not you should be targeting individuals who follow your main competitor. These people could be swayed to try your product if it addresses a pain point and provides similar value.

The more accurately you can pinpoint your most likely customers, the better your results are likely to be.

2. Show your product or service in action

Video ads are perfect for showing potential customers what your product can do.

In order to produce a highly-engaging video ad, you’ll want to film with a high-quality camera and ensure there is adequate lighting. You’ll also want to film your product from multiple angles and have someone who fits your ideal customer persona demonstrate using or wearing the product.

For example:

If you offer a monthly flower delivery service, you may want to film a woman in her 30s opening her front door and smiling as one of your team members delivers her bouquet.

For best results, Instagram video ads should be no longer than 26 seconds.

You might also want to film the various sizes of bouquets available for order, get close-up footage of how vibrant the blossoms are and show viewers how luxurious your arrangements appear at close range.

3. Create your own Mother’s Day hashtag

Hashtags help small businesses increase the exposure of their Instagram ads organically (aka for free).

When you provide users with a unique hashtag to use in association with your Mother’s Day campaign, you make it easy for them to share photos of them buying or using your product. You also make it easier for people who are interested in your campaign to see more content related to your offer.

When creating a custom hashtag for your Mother’s Day campaign, be sure to:

  • Keep it as short as possible
  • Incorporate your brand
  • Make sure the hashtag isn’t already being used by another business
  • Check the hashtag isn’t already flooded with content due to the hashtag being too generic
  • Encourage people to use the hashtag by including it in your caption or an Instagram Story
Instagram Ads Instagram Ads Origins

The image above shows a branded hashtag used by Origins, a natural skin care brand, to promote their products.

4. Use social proof in your Instagram stories

It’s always a great idea to share reviews and testimonials from past customers who have been happy with your product. These are called social proof — because they provide objective “proof” that your product or service is good/reliable/effective.

92% of consumers trust non-paid recommendations more than any other type of advertising.

There are a few ways you can use social proof with Instagram Stories, including:

  • Reposting Instagram stories from your followers to your own Instagram story
  • Resharing Instagram posts from your followers to your Instagram story
  • Screenshotting reviews from Google, Facebook, etc. and sharing them on your Instagram story

Be sure to add your social proof stories to your highlights so they remain on your profile.You’ll also want to tag your followers in the posts you reshare to build brand loyalty and acknowledge their support.

5. Join forces with Momfluencers

There are a ton of moms on Instagram with massive, highly engaged followings. Teaming up with one of them and having her endorse your product is an excellent way to get your gifts in front of more buyers. It can also provide a far higher return on investment over Instagram ads.

Instagram Ads Mommy Shorts

Illana Wiles, aka @MommyShorts on Instagram, is a popular Momfluencer with more than 168,000 followers. Living in NYC, her posts are all related to the adventure of raising two young girls in the Big Apple.

Below are a few important factors to consider when searching for Momfluencers to collaborate with:

  • Expect to pay more for endorsements from influencers with more followers (i.e. than 100,000+).
  • Be sure to consider where the influencer is located. If you do not ship your product to the UK, for instance, a UK-based influencer isn’t the best fit.
  • Have a clear understanding of who your audience is. For example, if your followers are mostly vegan and environmentally-conscious, working with a Momfluencer who has a history of posing in fur jackets could backfire.
  • Always check who is following the influencer. Some influencers purchase fake followers to make their audience appear larger than it actually is. If you review their follower profiles and see a lot of blank or questionable profiles, stay away.
  • Try using Klear to find influencers that align with your business values. They analyze influencers to ensure they are legitimate.

For details on exactly how to find and reach out to the right influencer, read “Influencer marketing on a shoestring budget.”

Instagram ads could boost your sales

Hopefully you have a better idea now of how to advertise on instagram. By implementing these proven strategies, you can dramatically increase engagement rates and conversions (i.e. sales) for your Mother’s Day Instagram campaign — putting you ahead of last year’s sales.

Happy campaigning!