Succeeding with sponsored content in the #instaworld is no easy feat. Millennials scrolling through Instagram is today’s equivalent of the middle-aged man flipping through the channels on his outdated cable TV: they won’t stay long, so you’ve got to make your Instagram ads engaging enough to make them stop.

Yet Instagram ads offers a massive opportunity to reach a diverse audience and capitalize on mobile:

1. Instagram has over 400 million users daily.

2. 51% of digital media time is spent on mobile, and Instagram is all about mobile.

3. Consumers are increasingly more likely to make purchases on mobile, and Instagram advertising makes it that much easier. Instagram is no Facebook (even though they’re technically owned by Facebook). You’re going to need to adjust your marketing strategy to fit into the Instagram environment, without being branded as an imposter.

Here are 3 tips (three “be’s”) to help you build your sponsored Instagram advertising.

1. Be authentic

Instagram by design is about being authentic. From not allowing Instagram stories to be from images older than 24 hours, to not allowing social media tools like Buffer or Hootsuite to make scheduled posts for you, Instagram works to promote a culture of authenticity.

Be sure your Instagram ads are cohesive with your brand and your offering. While lifestyle images are among the most performant on Instagram, it may not work with your brand.

For example, while an image of friends laughing and sitting on a park bench may be a very attractive image by itself, it may not be the best fit for a SaaS company.

2. Be native

Instagram ads are a form of native advertising, and people are often very skeptical about native advertising. To us, native advertising seems like a seedy way for brands to sneak their offering in front of us, trying to “trick us” into buying a product. 

To avoid being treated as spammy and getting scanned over by your intended audience, you need to look like you belong. Millennials are great at spotting phonies. By looking like you belong, you’re less likely to annoy a potential customer. Know your audience, know what the content they like looks like, and replicate that (without being fake).

3. Be strategic

You have less than a second to grab your potential customer before they keep scrolling. You want to stop that thumb for enough time for the viewer to engage with your content, increasing brand awareness and directing them towards your call to action button.

Focus on design that makes people stop. Make your offering clear, either in the image itself (without being too chatty) or in the caption, and direct people to your call to action.

Tapping into the Instagram sponsored content world is going to be a new challenge for your marketing team. But when done correctly, you’ll look like you belong there. And it will propel your sales to the next level.