dark·​room | \ ˈdärk-ˌrüm  , -ˌru̇m \



: A darkroom refers to a space where art and science come together to create something complete before premiering to the public. It’s where process and creativity combine to form a final product.


This is why we’ve chosen it as our name.

Creative Content Creation: How to Succeed With Targeted Instagram and Facebook Ads

Facebook and Instagram have been a part of successful marketing strategies for several years now — and that’s not going to change any time soon.
In the last year, spending on Facebook ads has increased by 40 percent, while Instagram ad spend has risen by a whopping 177 percent.
Those numbers are worth paying attention to, because if the competition is still flocking to these well-known platforms, it means that a lot of customers are paying attention to these ads.
Facebook and Instagram ad spending can generate a big return on investment for e-commerce brands, especially with the targeting options made available through these platforms. Here’s how you can improve targeting to succeed with your next campaign:

Get Personal With Things

Knowing your audience is key to successful branding on any platform. Facebook and Instagram are no different, and should serve as an extension of your current branding efforts.

The better you know your audience, the easier it will be to create high-quality content that appeals to their wants and interests. You can’t just say that you want to target “males between age 25 and 45.” You need to more narrowly define who your target audience is so you can understand what makes them tick.

Facebook and Instagram’s targeting options showcase just how important this is.

You don’t just have the option of targeting your ads by age or gender. You can dive deeper based on app usage, page engagement, other interests and hobbies or even the type of device they use.

Such insights should ultimately define everything that goes into your Facebook and Instagram ads. It will influence the type of images you choose, the tone of your text content and even hashtag curation as you strive to create compelling ads.

Find a Twin or ‘Lookalike,’ If You Will

Understanding who your primary target audience should be is one thing. But expanding your reach on social media can sometimes seem easier said than done.

One especially effective Facebook and Instagram targeting tactic is the use of lookalike audiences. Lookalike audiences essentially allow you to use your brand’s existing followers to automatically generate a new target audience for your campaign.

Plus, it saves you the effort of digging through this targeting minutiae on your own.

Lookalike audiences primarily use demographic information, shared interests and online behaviors to create a new target group that is similar to your current followers. Because of their shared interests and attributes, they are more likely to be interested in your product or service when exposed to your ad.

Remarket Your Way to Easier, More Reliable Sales

Remarketing is another effective targeting option for Facebook and Instagram ads. Facebook actually allows you to embed a “pixel” on your website that tracks the actions visitors take when they visit your site.

Using the information gathered from the pixel, you can then create custom audiences on Facebook and Instagram to target users who have visited your site. Further customization allows you to retarget users who have already made a purchase, or even to recapture visitors who abandoned their digital shopping cart.

Remember, the likelihood of someone buying your product or service the first time they come in contact with your brand is extremely rare. On average, most businesses require about seven “contacts” with a potential customer before a sale is made.

By putting your ads in front of people who have already visited your site, you greatly increase the likelihood of generating sales or at least moving potential leads farther along their buyer’s journey.

Go Organic

Social media marketers like to talk about “organic growth” — increases in their number of followers that come as a result of normal posts, rather than paid ads. Consistently creating engaging content is one of the best ways to build your following on Facebook and Instagram so you can eventually make a sale.

However, this idea of “great content” can be equally successful when applied to a paid ad. Just because you’re paying for the placement of the post, doesn’t mean it has to look like an advertisement.


Make some of your ads look like natural, organic content. This doesn’t mean you should stop creating promotional posts, but content that appears organic (even when it is part of a paid ad campaign) generally gets more likes and other forms of engagement than sponsored content.

Experiment With Different Formats

Successful Facebook and Instagram ad campaigns don’t merely rely on standard photo ads. Instead, they use a diverse mix of content to capture the attention of their target audience in new and interesting ways.

On Instagram, one of the most popular alternative ad methods involves working with influencers to create sponsored posts. We often think of people like the Kardashians as Instagram influencers, but in reality, even someone with 10,000 followers can provide a valuable influencer partnership for your niche.

For best results, you’ll want to find an influencer who has a similar following to your target audience, who posts regularly and receives a high level of engagement.

Check to make sure they actually work with brands to create sponsored posts. Look at their prior content (both sponsored and non-sponsored) to determine if they are a good fit for reaching your target audience.

You can also experiment through your own channels with carousel and video ads.

Carousel ads allow you to display multiple images in a single ad. Users can swipe through to view each image. Such ads are especially effective when displaying a new e-commerce product line-up, and have been found to be up to 10 times as effective as a standard Facebook ad.

Video ads have also proven to be a popular choice for more effective targeting on Facebook and Instagram — over half of all internet traffic is spent watching online videos. Instagram allows video ads of up to 60 seconds in length, giving you plenty of space to tell a story or share a behind-the-scenes look at your brand.

Targeting Success

What works for one brand on Instagram or Facebook won’t necessarily be the be-all end-all for successfully targeting your social media ads. To achieve lasting results, you need to stay true to your brand persona and create content that will appeal to your target audience.

However, by following these guidelines for social media targeting, you’ll be able to achieve your desired outcomes — whether you’re an electrical contractor or a clothing designer. When quality, relevant content is paired with proper targeting, you’ll be well on your way to increasing conversions and sales.

Before Hiring Any Kind of ‘SEO Expert’ for Your Company, Ask These Questions

These days, pretty much every business understands that SEO is important — that the higher you rank in Google search results, the more people will discover your business. In a time when most people go online to look for a business, the fact that 92 percent of clicks go to companies on the first page of Google search results (with nearly one-third of all clicks going to the top spot) cannot be ignored.

The problem, of course, is that understanding the importance of SEO and knowing how to improve your rankings can be two very different things. I’ve seen plenty of businesses fall behind their competition because they knew the why, but could never wrap themselves around the how of SEO implementation.

Because of this, most companies in need of SEO assistance will outsource the task of improving their web rankings to an advertising agency or a freelance marketing expert. The thing is, not all SEO experts are created equal.

By having at least some understanding of the SEO process before you make a hiring decision, you can be better informed and ask the right questions so you don’t accidentally get involved with someone who will use black hat schemes that ultimately tank your rankings.

Here are some key questions to consider when hiring an SEO expert:

How do you select keywords?

Keyword research is the basis for any SEO campaign. The right keyword variations need to be targeted in both your on-site content and in any articles you get published with third parties to help increase your relevance in targeted searches.

No two keyword sets are exactly alike — and even changing a single word could yield three times as many searches. Alternatively, a keyword with fewer overall searches may be better for your business, as it is used more frequently by your target niche.

A real SEO expert will use Google Analytics to research keywords related to your business to select the best options based on factors such as competition level, bid amounts, and brand relevance. Be wary of agencies that aren’t willing to take the time to better understand your own company’s operations, as this could completely throw off the keyword strategy.

What is the strategy for on-site optimization?

Quality SEO begins with improving your own website. This covers everything from updating meta descriptions and title tags to compressing images to improve site loading speed.

I’ve found that many SEO agencies almost entirely emphasize backlink generation, while on-site optimization gets completely ignored. The thing is, it isn’t enough to have a lot of links going to your site. You also have to provide high-quality, relevant content so that users don’t immediately click away when they arrive.

On-site SEO efforts should be designed to improve the site experience so you can lower your bounce rate — the percentage of visitors who click away after only viewing a single page. The more time users spend on your site and the more pages they visit, the more relevant Google will determine it to be.

Fine-tuning your current site experience is a great start, but a quality SEO expert will also ensure that you are consistently providing quality content by helping you produce a blog that addresses the interests and needs of your target audience.

What is the strategy for creating quality backlinks?

It’s not enough for an SEO agency to tell you they will “help you build backlinks.” After all, there’s a major difference between backlinks coming from the New York Times and a link from a low-authority blog that nobody actually reads.

Dig a little deeper when meeting with a prospective SEO agency …

Ask about which websites they use to generate backlinks for their clients, as well as how they obtain these links. Stay away from those who use shady practices like spamming forums or creating generic link pages. Make sure that they also take steps to enhance your local SEO by submitting your site to local business directories or helping you maintain an accurate My Google Business account.

Link-building is a never-ending process. As you continue to generate new quality links to your site, Google views your brand as an authority figure in its niche. However, getting backlinks from low-quality or spam websites could lower your domain authority instead.

Even after you’ve made a selection and hired an SEO expert, you should periodically ask to see the backlink profile for your site so you can have confidence that you are getting quality links to your site.

Can I get any references?

Depending on the type of business you do, you likely get asked this question by potential customers on a regular basis. It’s only natural that they would want to hear from a previous customer so they can have a better idea of what it’s like to work with you and if you deliver on your brand promises.

When it comes to your company’s marketing budget, you can’t afford to simply take a so-called expert’s word for it when they explain their services and how they will improve your SEO results.

You have to do some research on your own — this is what I expect of everyone who comes to me for marketing help, and it shouldn’t be a surprise to any legitimate SEO practitioner. Online reviews can be helpful, but you’ll get far more detailed information by reaching out via email or a phone call.

Be wary of SEO practitioners who are unable or unwilling to provide references, as this could indicate that they don’t have current or former clients who are satisfied with their work. Honest agencies have nothing to hide, and should be more than willing to refer you to case studies or former clients you can speak with.

Make the Right Decision the First Time Around

As with any other service you might hire to assist in your business endeavors, who you choose to help with your SEO will make all the difference for your results. SEO isn’t a quick fix — rather, it’s a long-term investment.

An SEO expert won’t necessarily get you to page one after only a few weeks. Instead, they will implement strategies that help you gradually build a legitimate web presence, so once you reach the top, you’ll stay there.

* Image Credit:

– Featured Image, Pexels