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Visually Advertising on Pinterest & Instagram

Luckily for grocery retailers and brands, food is visual, and people on social media are passionate about capturing it.

Consumers enjoy posting their own food photos, while also looking at those of others, including brands, for recipe ideas and inspiration. Retailers can amplify their own food photo reach through social media advertising.

We’ve talked about paid advertising on Facebook and Twitter in the past, but what about other popular social media networks like Pinterest and Instagram? These sites have grown enormously in the past several years and play a pivotal role in the foodie culture. I’ve recently been researching the opportunities grocery retailers and brands have available for advertising on these visually heavy sites that are already loaded with food photos.

Let’s start with Pinterest

During a recent #CoffeewithCART call, my attention was drawn to an article that was shared about Pinterest’s new ad-targeting tools that CPG and retail brands (including grocers) are utilizing. Pinterest’s advertising platform is now open to all brands, not just large partners like in the past, which means smaller businesses can dive into this advertising method.

As the article notes, the new Pinterest ad platform is quite robust making consumer targeting more accurate. It also has a reporting feature that helps brands’ test and analyze the effectiveness of their ads.

“[Pinterest] claims that brands that have spent $1 a day or more in advertising typically experience a 20% uptick in clicks on their posts,” writes Alex Samuely of Mobile Marketer.

When looking at ROI of these Pinterest ads, clicks take consumers to grocers’ websites, which can turn into online shopping, ad viewing, grocery list creation and/or a trip to the store to buy the products in the photo that they saw on the social media site.

Now, a look at Instagram

Instagram advertising is easy to use. The social network is owned by Facebook, which means brands can build their ads in the Facebook platform and utilize the same targeting capabilities that Facebook has developed.

Instagram is unique from many other social media platforms, because users only look at one photo at a time. This is good news for brands, because it means when a user is looking at an organic post or advertisement, the user’s entire attention is dedicated to that single post. This, in turn, makes the message more memorable.

Instagram recently rolled out a feed algorithm, much like Facebook and other platforms. This means, a brand’s post is not always guaranteed to reach its followers. With the help of advertising, brands’ posts are guaranteed to reach more of its current and potential followers.

I recently joined in on a webinar hosted by AdRoll and bitly, which covered best practices of Instagram advertising. The image below shows the anatomy of an Instagram ad. You’ll notice that the ad is almost identical to an organic post, with the simple addition of the “sponsored” designation at the top. Instagram ads also allow brands to drive traffic directly to their websites by clicking on the picture or on a call-to-action button, which is not available in organic posts. These are all advantages of using Instagram advertising in addition to the amplified reach.

Photo courtesy AdRoll & bitly - #instaMarketing webinar January 2016

Photo courtesy AdRoll & bitly – #instaMarketing webinar January 2016


Ready to start advertising? Here are a few tips from the webinar to make your ads effective:

  1. Make sure your destination page is mobile friendly. Instagram is primarily a mobile-only app, so people will be following links on a phone.
  2. Use a call-to-action button so consumers know what you want them to do.
  3. Ensure that your ads are branded to match your company.
  4. Refresh your creative. Since Instagram is such an intimate experience, consumers will get tired of seeing the same images over and over.
  5. Capture them with a caption. Although the focus of Instagram is the photo, catchy captions seal the deal. Use hashtags wisely to compliment the rest of your post.



Why do I work at AWG? “I work with an amazing team that values creativity and innovation. I enjoy tackling new opportunities and challenges each day that, of course, always involve food!” -Cara