Affiliate Marketing with Instagram

A step-by-step guide on how to run affiliate marketing campaigns with Instagram

Instagram is quickly becoming a popular channel to generate income with affiliate marketing. In recent years, many publishers have run successful campaigns and monetized this channel using different techniques, which we are going to dive into in this article. Below, you’ll get an overview of what’s being done and discover what the best practices are that other publishers are adopting in order to monetize their content, lead extra traffic to their websites and blogs, or promote and sell products for brands.

 

Why Instagram is like a holy grail to affiliates

It’s no secret that Instagram is the biggest social media network at the moment, with over 1 billion users worldwide and the average person spending 58 minutes each day on the app

These numbers are sure to guarantee an active audience for every niche or Instagram affiliate program you want to promote! Instagram claims to help 80% of its users in their purchase decisions through influencer marketing and Instagram ads. 

Compared with Facebook users, the users on Instagram generate 4 times more interactions. With numbers like that, we decided it’s time we share some of our experience with publishers about this relatively new and promising channel.

In this guide on how to start and scale up your affiliate marketing performance in Instagram, we are going to dive into the following:

 

 

How to promote affiliate links in Instagram (Free and Paid)

Despite the lack of flexibility Instagram has in terms of link placement, there are several ways you can promote affiliate links and generate traffic and sales from them. If you have an account with enough followers, you can start placing affiliate links on your account, profile, stories and pictures. 

In case you don’t have an account that will generate enough traffic you can work with Instagram ads and reach an even bigger audience for your promotion. The best methods being used across the platform are:

 

Swipe Up: If your profile is verified or you have over 10k followers, you can make use of the swipe up feature on your Instagram stories, thus linking to any landing page of your choice with your affiliate links. 

Instagram Bio: A popular option is adding the affiliate link on your Instagram Bio, you can place only one link and that does not allow for a lot of flexibility, however there are tools like Geniuslink or Linktree that can create a landing page with additional links.

Promote Exclusive Coupons: In this option, you will not need to use a link. However, these are most commonly used with influencers and not affiliate publishers.

Instagram Ads: You can easily create and manage them with Facebook Ads Manager targeting Instagram placements. Tracking and integration for your conversions are available with our tool.

 

 

Step-by-step: Instagram Linktree vs Geniuslink

There are a few online tools that make it possible to create a landing page and list all the links you wish on it. If you run several affiliate websites/blogs or other types of affiliate promotion, you’ll be able to connect them all in one clean and well-designed landing page

Two of the most often used tools to accomplish this are Linktree and Geniuslink. 

We created a comparison and step-by-step guide where you can find how to open your account and what the major differences between Linktree and Geniuslink are.

 

Linktree

  • Go to Linktree and register to start opening your account.

 

  • During registration you can choose between the Free and Pro account plan. The free version already gives you access to unlimited links but with a limited landing page theme customization. If you want to use the link scheduling possibilities, analytics features and custom made landing pages you can opt in for a paid version. Find out all about Linktree pricing here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • After creating your Linktree account and verifying your email address, you can start adding links.
  • Click the purple ‘Add New Link’ button on the home screen and you will be able to add a title, a URL and a thumbnail to your link.

 

 

  • You can add any image you want to make your page more attractive or use the icon library that’s available. As you keep adding more links you’ll see them all on the right side of your linktree dashboard 
  • Customize the design and appearance of your Linktree landing page. After you are done adding your links, you can customize the landing page theme, there’s several free versions and the pro version will give you the flexibility to come up with your own theme.

 

Geniuslink

  • Go to Geniuslink and register to start opening your account
  • You can select the “Earning commissions” option and your account will be focused on affiliate publisher links.

 

  • Geniuslink does not offer a free plan, however they allow you to use their tool for a 14 days free trial. You should add your payment info but before that you have access to your account and can prepare/test some links. You can find the pricing here.
  • If you select a new link you will have several options: 
    • Simple link 
    • Choice Page 
    • A/B Split locations 
    • Advanced links.  

    For more information on what the difference is between the options available and how to best apply them to your needs, please refer here

 

  • After you’ve tested how to create your first links, you should have a look at the “Affiliate” section on the dashboard. Geniuslink has some cool features that allow you to easily connect to a network like Sovrn or Skimlinks or even add your affiliate programs directly. 

 

 

Conclusion Linktree vs Geniuslink

Linktree provides a user-friendly interface, making it fast and easy to create all your links and add your Linktree to your profile in a very short time. They also offer a free plan, which is great for new users to explore their tools and features. 

Geniuslink is a powerful option for more experienced publishers. They offer some great features that can help take your instagram affiliate marketing to the next level. Pricing is based on performance and the number of clicks you generate which we find is a fitting model for our industry. In addition to this they also offer a knowledge base on their YouTube channel with step-by-step guides on all their major features.

 

 

Introduction to Ad Network Policies and Affiliate Marketing

For the next part of our guide, we’d like to bring attention to a topic of discussion among publishers. Are they allowed to use Ad networks like Google Ads, Facebook and Instagram Ads as an affiliate marketer? 

To clarify that discussion, while all platforms have ad policies we need to follow and consider, affiliate marketers can of course still make use of ads. And should, if they want to get visitors to re-engage with their content, promote attractive offers, or boost sales to their best-converting partners. One very important ad policy is that you are often not allowed to place the affiliate links directly in your ads, but you can advertise to lead users to a landing page that contains all your affiliate links.

There are some other rules you will have to follow, but these are defined by the advertisers and affiliate networks rather than by Ad platforms. So make sure you read up on the SEA and PPC policies within the affiliate networks, or just get in contact with your merchants to clear things up

 

 

Instagram Affiliate Marketing and Facebook Ads Manager 

Running ads is probably the best way for a publisher to approach affiliate marketing on Instagram. We recommend you use Facebook Ads manager to create, monitor and run all your Instagram ads. The platform provides a lot of functionalities to control your campaigns so you can promote your products in the right places and for the right audiences. 

You can narrow down your target audience in order to merely deliver ads to people actually interested in your niche. For example you can show your ads solely to women between the ages of 18 to 40 if you are promoting women’s fashion products with that target group and age. 

With ads you don’t need to have a Facebook or Instagram group or page around your targeted audience, you can start promoting and target potential customers right away by using dedicated landing pages and other strategies. No matter what you choose to promote, targeting precisely and narrowing down your audiences are the best way to achieve the best ROAS.

Facebook and Instagram don’t allow the use of affiliate links in ads, but they can be placed on your landing pages where you lead the users from your ad campaign. Here are a few things you should consider when running campaigns via Facebook Ads:

 

  1. Don’t advertise your affiliate link directly. Instead send the users to a landing page, bridge page, funnel or something similar.
  2. Read up on Advertising policies before you start your ads, because there are several niches/products that are not allowed. This way you will prevent your ads from being disapproved, or, in more extreme cases, your ad account from being temporarily or permanently blocked.
  3. A/B test ads and audiences and select conversion goals for your campaign. With our integration feature you can select “Purchase events” for optimisation and thus use Facebook’s machine learning in order to get the best ROI for your campaigns. This can be a powerful tool since Facebook will automatically try to optimise your campaigns based on sales data.
  4. Keep an eye on relevance scores to ensure lower costs. Make sure the landing page you send traffic to suits the content of your ads and your relevance score should be fine.

 

Facebook Pixel and We Can Track integration

Before you start your campaign please set up or test your Facebook Pixel, since that’s the first step in order for you to use our Facebook Ads Integration. When you place the code on your website and connect your pixel to your We Can Track account, we will track important session and user data of the visitors/clicks from your ads

This will enable us to match your affiliate conversions to the correct sessions and users and feed those data back to the Facebook Pixel via a Postback or API call. Facebook will then attribute that conversion data to the right campaigns within the Ad Manager. If you’re not sure how our Facebook Ads integration works, please follow this link

Below you can see a screenshot from a case study of one of our clients, who started using our Facebook integration to track conversion data in Facebook ads manager accounts. Our client experienced a sales growth of 900% in less than 30 days.

 

 

If you want to find out more about our Facebook Ads integration and how to track affiliate sales, please continue to this page

 

 

How to use Facebook Ads Manager to create Instagram affiliate ads 

Facebook Ads Manager is an important tool for marketers when it comes to creating and managing instagram affiliate ads. We compiled the most important steps you need to consider during the process of creating your campaigns:

Step1: When you start a new campaign you can choose from various campaign objectives that match your advertising goals. We recommend all affiliate publishers to select conversions if they want to generate more leads and sales.

Our Facebook Integration feature will integrate your conversion data with your Facebook Pixel and Ads Manager, thus opening the door for Facebook’s machine learning to optimize your campaigns based on actual conversions and revenue data.

 

 

Step 2: Correctly select your placements to exclude Facebook and only place your ads in Instagram. Available placements on this channel are Instagram stories, feed and explorer. If you’re using video ads you’ll be able to also place it in reels.

 

 

Step 3 – Make sure you select purchase as your conversion event. This will allow us to push the conversion data to Facebook Ads every time a conversion happens.

 

 

Step 4: Add URL Parameters in order to properly track your different Ads and Ad set performance on your Google Analytics account. Facebook offers the option where you can easily add the relevant UTM’s to your link and use the predefined parameters they offer.

Apart from the predefined parameters, you can also add your own UTM’s or append/prepend extra information to them. For example, in the campaign medium field we added the word “CPC_” before the predefined variable parameter {{placement}}.

 

 

For Campaign name and Campaign content you can use either “id” (screenshot above) or “name” variables, which would then look like this: utm_source={{site_source_name}}&utm_medium=CPC_{{placement}}&utm_campaign={{campaign.name}}&utm_content=&utm_content={{adset.name}}{{ad.name}}

Important information when using URL name based parameters. Name-based URL parameters will be set to the names provided for your campaign, ad set or ad when they are first published. Facebook Ads manager will use those names as the parameter values when they are replaced. You can still edit your URL and campaign, ad set or ad names, but the parameters will always refer to the original names.

 

By following our instructions you should be able to easily monitor the conversion performance of your campaigns and use Facebook’s machine learning to optimise your campaigns based on conversions. In case you have any questions feel free to reach out to us.

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