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How to Create a Writing Style Guide [+Free Guide & Examples]

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A writing style guide is essential for any business — especially if there are multiple content writers on the team.

As you create more and more content on your website and blog, inconsistencies are bound to creep in. One reason? Lack of clarity about the style in which you’d like to write in. Disjointed communication across the multitude of content creators in your organization can be a culprit, too.

Either way, failure to decide upon accepted editorial guidelines is a recipe for inconsistent messaging. That’s why at some point, most companies will need to develop a writing style guide.

A writing style guide indicates the basic rules of writing everyone agrees to follow to ensure consistency across all content, like whether you should capitalize the “a” after the colon.

Note: If you write content for HubSpot, you should not capitalize the “a.”

But wait… if that’s the case, why would I capitalize the “If” in that last parenthetical? Because “If you write content for HubSpot, you should…” is a complete sentence, thus warranting the capital “If.”

These conventions are specified in our writing style guide.

If you found that train of thought terribly banal, you might think writing style guides are the most boring things in the world and have a burning desire to click away right about now. Au contraire, mon frère.

Why Writing Guides Are Important

A writing style guide saves you from finding yourself embroiled in a debate about whether there should be spaces before and after an ellipses, whether you capitalize “for” in a title, or when a number must be written out in full.

If the writing style guide bores you, just imagine how insipid that debate will be. The existence of a style guide means you can simply have the style guide handy as your little writing rulebook without having to sit through debates about blockquotes.

Both guides are different in content but the same in function. They play an important role in how potential consumers view, interact, and remember your company.

In an effort to help you get started with your own style guide, this blog post will walk you through how to create a writing style guide and which essential elements you’ll need to include.

Before we dive into the important elements you’ll need to include in your writing style guide, let’s talk through the steps of creating one. Your guide should reflect your business, its goals, and your target audience. To start, you’ll need to:

1. Review your brand’s mission and values.

Why did you start your business? What is its purpose? These are two important questions that you ask yourself when you start planning and building your company. If you didn’t, ask them now. Define your mission statement. Outline your brand’s core values. This information will guide how you form your connections with your audience. It will allow you to develop an idea for how you plan to communicate with them.

Your brand’s mission and values should guide your decisions and ensure that you’re actively working towards your goal. They define and influence company culture by guiding your business to make decisions that are beneficial to the company and your customers.

It is important to note that this information can change. In fact, it should. As time goes on and your company evolves, it is necessary to review and update your brand mission and values to accurately reflect your current business model and operations.

2. Create buyer personas for your target audience.

To create your writing style guide, you need to know who you’re talking to. Imagine having one conversation with a baby boomer and another with a millennial. The way you communicate with them will likely be different. Those nuances speak to the importance of creating buyer personas.

A buyer persona is a semi-fictional, research-based representation of your target customer. This information should come from market research as well as actual data from your existing customers. When creating your buyer personas, envision your ideal customer. What are their days like? How do they make decisions? What challenges do they face? Ultimately, your buyer persona should look at customer demographics, behavior patterns, motivations, and goals.

Once you identify your target audience and their buyer personas, you will have a better idea of how to approach communication.

3. Define your company’s voice and tone.

Establishing your company’s voice and tone can be challenging because the two concepts are easily confused.

Your company voice is how you want to be perceived by your audience. It encompasses how your brand messaging will be delivered. Do you want to come across as witty or friendly? For example, while Starbucks’ brand voice is expressive, Coca-Cola’s is positive. When defining your voice, remember that this will not change throughout your writing. If you establish your company as “friendly,” it should be incorporated into all of your messaging.

Although your brand voice should stay the same, your tone might change. The brand tone refers to how you plan to express your voice. The subtleties in tone lie completely with who your audience is. Imagine a friend asks if you want to join them for dinner, and you reply “Okay.” Cultural cues would likely have them thinking that you’re not too keen on attending. However, if you responded with “Definitely!” they might think you’re excited to go. Even though both responses show that you are willing to eat dinner with them, the connotation changes between words.

As you build your voice and tone, decide what emotion you want your writing to take on. Will it be positive, neutral, negative, or something in between? Again, your choice should mirror your target audience.

4. Outline branded words and phrases.

What are the keywords and phrases associated with your business? To keep consistency throughout your business, identify these words for your style guide. This should include specific spellings and capitalizations.

Take MSNBC for example. The cable channel has two logos, one with lowercase letters and another with capitalized letters. However, when the channel is written in copy form, it is always fully capitalized. This would be something to note in a writing style guide.

This should also carry into any slogans or phrases associated with your company. For their slogan “Betcha can’t eat just one,” Lay’s would need to make sure that their guide specifies the spelling of “Betcha” and that there is no ending punctuation. To look cohesive and professional, it is crucial to keep this consistency throughout all messaging.

5. Establish guidelines for formatting.

In addition to focusing on what is written in your style guide, you will also have to focus on how it is written. Your writing style guide should include guidelines for:

  • Headers
  • Hyperlinks
  • Bold, italicized, and regular text
  • Bullet points versus numbered lists

Formatting will allow your readers to skim and digest your content quickly. In addition, as they become acquainted with your style, they will come to expect your company’s organizational breakdown. Every business has the autonomy to choose how it formats its content. Make sure you develop a format that flows effectively for your readers.

6. Use a style guide template.

how to create a writing style guide: hubspot template

Download Your Free Starter Template

As you work through the above steps to build your writing style guide, you might draw a blank on how to format it. Use a template. Many companies have their style guides available to the public. Find a company that you’d like to emulate, use them as a starting point, and customize the guide until it becomes a representation of your business. See the “Writing Style Guide Examples” section below for style guides from companies like Mailchimp, Google, and NASA.

What to Include in Your Writing Style Guide

There are a few key sections to include in your style guide.

1. Style Manual

Style manuals are reference books that tell writers how to handle grammar, punctuation, and any special use cases. Most businesses adopt either the AP Stylebook or the Chicago Manual of Style. It’s up to you to decide which manual you’d like your company to follow.

what to include in writing style guide: style manual

You can purchase online subscriptions to these manuals for your employees to reference, the login for which you should also include in this section of the editorial style guide to make access simple. You might find employees are more likely to reference these tools when provided with an online subscription that contains a search function instead of a paper book through which they have to flip to find their answers.

While these style guides provide a good reference point for basic grammar rules, you’ll probably want to make some exceptions to the rules for the sake of branding, tone, and style.

Use this section of your editorial style guide to outline those exceptions and also to highlight some of the rules that commonly arise when writing for your company. Ideally, your writers would commit these rules to memory, regardless of whether it is aligned with or against house style. For example:

  • What do you capitalize? Do you capitalize the name of your product? Are there certain prepositions you want capitalized in your title despite your stylebook’s recommendations?
  • What do you abbreviate? How do you punctuate those abbreviations? Would you type “a.k.a.” or “aka”? “Okay” or “O.K.”? Or “OK”?
  • Do you use an Oxford comma?

Listing answers to common questions like these in the first part of your editorial style guide will give people an easy resource to reference that will save you time and encourage consistency. Feel free to continue adding to this list as more confusions arise and get resolved during the content creation process. You’re creating your own style guide, so feel free to borrow different rules from different style guides. The important thing is that you use the same rules consistently throughout all the content you create.

2. Commonly Troublesome Words

what to include in writing style guide: troublesome words

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Most companies have terminology that’s specific to their industry, and not all of those terminologies have a universally agreed-upon spelling. For instance, if you write a lot about digital marketing like we do here at HubSpot, you’ll find a lot of inconsistency around the spelling and capitalization of words like these:

  • ebook vs. Ebook vs. e-book
  • ecommerve vs. e-commerce
  • internet vs. Internet
  • website vs. web site
  • Facebook Like vs. Facebook like
  • Retweet vs. re-tweet vs. reTweet vs. ReTweet

Instead of debating how to spell, capitalize, or hyphenate these words, include a section in your style guide called “Commonly Troublesome Words” so writers can easily look up the proper spelling of these words according to your house style guide.

Advice for Global Companies

If you have global readership and create content for specific, same-language markets, you should include notes on whether you change spelling for those markets or retain your house style.

For example, if marketers from HubSpot’s Dublin office write a blog post, should American editors change their spelling of “favour” to “favor”? “Internationalise” to “Internationalize”? These questions should be answered in your style guide, and the “Commonly Troublesome Words” section is a logical location to do that.

Similarly, if you are creating content in various languages, style guides should be created for each language.

3. Voice and Tone

what to include in writing style guide: voice and toneImage Source

This section of the editorial style guide should address something less concrete than grammar rules but arguably more important, and that is how your content should sound to the reader.

Can writers use the first person? How do you feel about the use of industry jargon? Think about the words you would use to describe your content in an ideal world. Which adjectives do you want your content to evoke? Conversational, educational, academic, funny, controversial, or objective?

You might think you want your content to be all of the above, but force yourself to prioritize just a few. Explain why it’s important to achieve this style and tone in your content, and provide examples of content (excerpts are fine) that are successful in doing so, particularly if those excerpts exist on your own site already.

If there are stylistic characteristics your content absolutely should not have, include that information, too. Again, examples of what not to do are helpful here for the sake of comparative illustration.

When deciding on style and tone, be sure to consider your target audience and buyer personas in the process. Which style and tone would resonate best with them? This brings us to our next section.

4. Personas

what to include in a style guide: buyer personas

Buyer personas are inextricably tied to style and tone, so it’s important to include this section either before or after the “Style and Tone” section of your style guide. Why is it so important to include personas? Because the style and tone you adopt should be informed by your target audience, i.e. the people that will be reading all this stuff you’re writing.

That being said, the personas in your editorial style guide don’t need to go as in-depth as the personas created by your sales and marketing teams. (Those might include detailed information like objections that arise in the sales process and how to overcome them, or tips on identifying these personas “in the wild” or when you get them on the phone.)

The personas in your editorial style guide should be more brief, simply pulling out the highlights that concisely explain who your target audience is, their pain points, how they like to be communicated with, the value your company provides, and a picture to give writers a visual to keep in mind when creating content.

Including personas in your style guide really comes in handy when you’re working with freelance writers. If you’re doing a good job with freelance writer management, you’ll provide ample context to inform the content they’re writing. A persona, and how that informs tone and writing style, should always be included when kicking off a new freelance writer project.

5. Graphics and Formatting

what to include in writing style guide: formatting

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I know, I told you earlier not to get into the nitty-gritty with visual guidelines. This is still true. Your design team or agency should create a separate brand design style guide that addresses more nuanced visual things. (Can you tell I’m not a designer?)

You should, however, add a little information to your written style guide if your writers are ever responsible for creating visual assets and/or copyediting visual assets created by designers. Here are some common questions that may come up that will impact writers or editors:

  • Where can writers source images, and how do they properly attribute them?
  • When should images align to the right, to the left, or in the center?
  • Should text wrap around images?
  • What are the RGB and hex codes for your text and headers?
  • What typefaces can be used?
  • Can writers use italics, bold, or underlining? If so, is usage limited to certain occasions, like bolding headers and hyperlinks?
  • Which kind of bullets should be used (square, round, or other), and how should they align with the rest of the text?
  • How should numbered lists appear: “1”, “1.” or “1.)”?

Many of these graphical elements can be present in your content management system, but they can be easily overridden when writers copy and paste content from elsewhere with formatting attached, or by an overzealous writer with a flair for design. Outline these expectations in your editorial style guide, and refer those with more advanced needs to your brand style guide.

6. Approved and Unapproved Content

Great content often cites research and data from third party sources. Make your writer’s job easier by providing approved industry resources from which they can draw, and even more importantly, resources from which they cannot draw. Break up this section of your editorial style guide into two sections: recommended and approved industry resources, and “do not mention” resources.

The information in the “do not mention” section should include competitors and unreliable resources, and it should also mention controversial topics and opinions that should be avoided at all costs. For example, many companies strictly prohibit any mention of politics or religion in their content, or have provisions that explain when it is acceptable to include and how to frame the discussion. Similarly, many companies work within certain legal restrictions, in which case this section of the style guide might provide instructions for receiving legal approval before publishing a piece of content.

This is the section of your editorial style guide to explain the intricacies of such controversies as they relate to your brand so you can prevent reputation management catastrophes.

7. Sourcing

what to include in writing style guide: sourcing guidelines

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With great research comes great responsibility… and a lot of choices, unfortunately. Clear up the confusion around how to properly cite research by deciding on one methodology and documenting it in your editorial style guide. Explain how to create footnotes, references, links to external sites, or even bibliographies if they are relevant to your company.

This section of your editorial style guide doesn’t need to be long. Just write down the rules and provide some examples of proper citations so writers can easily attribute their sources properly.

8. Examples to Show What’s Right and Wrong

what to include in writing style guide: right vs wrong examplesImage Source

Every section of your editorial style guide can benefit from real life examples of the concepts you’re explaining, whether you include those examples on the same page or as an appendix at the end of the guide.

For example, when talking about proper formatting, include a visual example of a well-formatted blog post with callouts that detail why the elements are successful. If you’re discussing grammar usage, provide an incorrect example, and then mark it up to show how a writer could fix it to align with your editorial style guide.

Bridging your requirements with proper executions from your actual website will help illustrate these concepts more clearly and cut down on follow-up questions and instances of exceptions to the rules you’ve laid out.

What Not to Include In Your Style Guide

It can be tempting to create the most comprehensive style guide of all time. But when documents get incredibly long, it can become a little hard to use on a day-to-day basis. Aim for “comprehensive, yet usable” by intentionally cutting some sections. Common sections you should omit from your style guide include:

Content Operation Notes

While content operations are the backbone of your content creation process, detailed information on the processes should not be included in a writing style guide. The action of submitting content to your editorial team is an irreplaceable step in getting content published; however, this does not add value to the style your writers will use in creating. Additional content operation notes that can be left out of your style guide include requesting slots on the editorial calendar or revision cycles.

Minor Visual Style Recommendations

Many teams fail to realize that a brand’s logo can affect SEO. For those who know this information, you may be tempted to include rules around logo usage or other visual style guide elements in your writing style guide. Don’t. With some basic exceptions, these would be saved for a separate brand or visual style guide.

Design Elements

As previously mentioned, writing style guides have little to do with the visual design elements of the brand. They affect how the writing looks, but they don’t serve your writers as they create. The following design elements should be left out of your writing style guide.

Typography

This section lists the fonts your brand will use and where they can be accessed. Typography sections also provide detailed information on when and where to use different fonts, as well as acceptable sizes and variations.

Logo & Variations

As important as your logo is to your brand identity, it holds little to no importance in the eyes of your writers. Providing an image of your logo to your writers may help them connect with the look and feel of the brand; however, extra details about variations and when to use them on print or digital content is inconsequential.

Color Palette

When choosing brand colors, they typically align with the feel of the brand. Bright colors are used to symbolize ‘happy’ or ‘fresh’ brands, while darker colors can make a brand seem bolder and more daring. While the color palette can help solidify the tone of the brand to the writer, it is still unnecessary. Everything they need to know should be expressed when you define your company’s voice and tone.

Your editorial style guide will simply guide writers by providing a set of standards to which they must adhere when creating content for your website. It eliminates confusion, guesswork, and debates over what boils down to a matter of editorial opinion among grammar and content geeks.

If you’re ever unsure whether something should or should not exist in your written style guide, fall back on usage to inform your decision. If it’s too long to be usable, cut it down; if it’s too short to answer the most common questions, beef it up.

How to Get Others to Use Your Style Guide

If you put in all this work to create a comprehensive style guide, it’d be a real bummer if no one used it.

Here’s the truth: Some people just aren’t going to use it, no matter how easy you make it for them to do so. So, just accept that. But after you’re done grieving, there are a few things you can do to increase the likelihood of adoption:

1. Involve other people in its creation from the get-go.

Instead of mandating the rules your entire company must use when writing, get a few people together to help create the style guide as a group. Ideally, this little committee will span more than one department to increase the likelihood of widespread adoption.

2. Make it easy to find and use.

Our style guide is available on our internal repository, so it’s easy for people to find, bookmark, and Ctrl+F to get answers to questions quickly. Make yours similarly easy to access and use.

3. Keep updating it.

Your style guide is intended to be a living document. As new questions arise, make it easy for writers to ask questions about proper usage and get a resolution, and make sure that resolution is reflected in an updated version of the style guide.

Writing Style Guide Examples

If you want to see a writing style guide in action, check out the examples below from well-known companies like Apple, Shopify, and Intuit.

1. Google

writing style guide examples: google

In Google’s style guide, they are very explicit with its principle to create clear, accurate, concise text. The company offers clear directives to write simply and directly, address users clearly, and more.

They also skillfully demonstrate examples of what employees should and should not do. For example, instead of saying, “Consult the documentation that came with your phone for further instructions,” their writers should write something similar to “Read the instructions that came with your phone.” With this guide, Google ensures that its text is inclusive to anyone, regardless of their cultural or language differences.

2. Intuit

writing style guide examples: intuit

You likely recognize Intuit for programs like TurboTax and Quickbooks. While some companies have their writing style guide formatted as a formal document, Intuit takes a different approach. Their guide appears as a message board.

On one of their most recent updates, they shared new guidelines on when and how to celebrate customer wins. As you scroll through their guide, you will find voice and tone examples, word list updates, and principles on how to identify and replace harmful language.

3. Shopify

writing style guide examples: shopify

The eCommerce platform, Shopify, has an extensive content style guide that walks its writers through voice and tone, accessible and inclusive language, grammar and mechanics, and naming. As it elaborates on its voice guidelines, it reminds writers that when speaking as Shopify’s voice, they should “be real, but not too tough or overly familiar.”

It directs writers to be proactive without being pushy by offering their customers sincere encouragement and practical advice. In addition to these guidelines, Shopify has created a list of acceptable vocabulary and abbreviations to ensure its messaging is consistent and clear for its merchants.

4. Microsoft

writing style guide examples: microsoft

Warm and relaxed, crisp and clear, and ready to lend a hand: That is Microsoft’s approach to writing for its customers. Microsoft is another company with a different take on how it presents its writing style guide. With one webpage at the center, it links out to valuable information, including its “Top 10 tips for mastering Microsoft style and voice.”

The page lists other recommended content, such as information on bias-free communication and directives on how to write step-by-step instructions. Whether the content is for an app, website, or white paper, this guide keeps all Microsoft communication clear, concise, and consistent.

5. Apple

writing style guide examples: apple

In Apple’s writing style guide, they immediately express their mission. Reflecting on the diversity of its customers, they stress the purpose of the guide — to write consciously and inclusively.

The setup that Apple uses is also very on-brand. Its style guide has “previous’ and “next” buttons, which mimics a step-by-step tutorial that one is familiar with if they’re acquainted with Apple products. Apple also encourages its writers to return for updates. Writing changes over time, so its writers need to adapt to the changes Apple makes to its writing style guide as they happen.

6. Mailchimp

writing style guide examples: mailchimp

Writing copy for a brand can be confusing. As you switch between media, there are certain nuances that you might have to take into account. Mailchimp does a great job breaking down these components in its style guide. It includes principles for writing technical content, legal content, email newsletters, and social media.

To facilitate the process for its writers, the Mailchimp content style guide has a hyperlinked section that allows users to quickly navigate through the webpage.

7. NASA

writing style guide examples: nasa

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is known for the complexities of outer space. In its style guide, it mentions that its purpose is to be consistent in its writing style and usage, so its readers avoid distraction from confusing terms and concepts.

The guide directs its writers to use The Chicago Manual of Style but also provides specific topics, including an overview of their editorial style as well as sections on gender-specific language, abbreviations, and figures and tables.

8. Yokel Local

writing style guide examples: yokel local

This example comes from HubSpot Partner Yokel Local. Their writing style guide keeps both their in-house contributors and their freelancers on the same page when writing and editing marketing content for clients.

You’ll notice that they didn’t go too far in the weeds, either. The whole guide is 15 pages in large, attractive lettering, and anything not explicitly stated in the guide is left up to the AP Stylebook and the Merriam-Webster dictionary. The simplicity is effective, and they clearly had fun designing the document to be cohesive with their brand guidelines.

Polish Your Editorial and Content Style

When it comes to running your business, you might assume that your words hold little weight when compared to your products or services. You’d be mistaken. While your products are central to your business, how you share information — the words you use — is critical to gaining new customers and maintaining existing ones.

Consistency is an important factor in managing a successful business. With a writing style guide, you will decrease inconsistent content and communication. You will equip your team with the tools and resources to deliver a strong, cohesive message that draws in your target audience. As you work to create or polish your writing style guide, this article will serve as your guide to get there.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in May 2015 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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HubSpot to cut around 7% of workforce by end of Q1

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HubSpot to cut around 7% of workforce by end of Q1

This afternoon, HubSpot announced it would be making cuts in its workforce during Q1 2023. In a Securities and Exchange Commission filing it put the scale of the cuts at 7%. This would mean losing around 500 employees from its workforce of over 7,000.

The reasons cited were a downward trend in business and a “faster deceleration” than expected following positive growth during the pandemic.

Layoffs follow swift growth. Indeed, the layoffs need to be seen against the background of very rapid growth at the company. The size of the workforce at HubSpot grew over 40% between the end of 2020 and today.

In 2022 it announced a major expansion of its international presence with new operations in Spain and the Netherlands and a plan to expand its Canadian presence in 2023.

Why we care. The current cool down in the martech space, and in tech generally, does need to be seen in the context of startling leaps forward made under pandemic conditions. As the importance of digital marketing and the digital environment in general grew at an unprecedented rate, vendors saw opportunities for growth.

The world is re-adjusting. We may not be seeing a bubble burst, but we are seeing a bubble undergoing some slight but predictable deflation.


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About the author

Kim Davis

Kim Davis is the Editorial Director of MarTech. Born in London, but a New Yorker for over two decades, Kim started covering enterprise software ten years ago. His experience encompasses SaaS for the enterprise, digital- ad data-driven urban planning, and applications of SaaS, digital technology, and data in the marketing space.

He first wrote about marketing technology as editor of Haymarket’s The Hub, a dedicated marketing tech website, which subsequently became a channel on the established direct marketing brand DMN. Kim joined DMN proper in 2016, as a senior editor, becoming Executive Editor, then Editor-in-Chief a position he held until January 2020.

Prior to working in tech journalism, Kim was Associate Editor at a New York Times hyper-local news site, The Local: East Village, and has previously worked as an editor of an academic publication, and as a music journalist. He has written hundreds of New York restaurant reviews for a personal blog, and has been an occasional guest contributor to Eater.

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Advocate | DigitalMarketer

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Advocate | DigitalMarketer

Happy customers love to share their experience, but sometimes they need some encouragement to do so. The cool thing is, once they do, they become even more loyal to your brand.

So, at this stage of the Customer Value Journey, ask people to share their positive experience with your brand by writing a review or sharing a social media post.

Once you get to stage seven, the Customer Value Journey is going to get a whole lot easier for you. This stage is all about learning your customer’s experience, and building up your testimonial database. 

The most important part of this step is asking these four questions. 

What Was Your Life Like Before Finding Our Solutions? What Challenges Were You Facing That Caused You to Consider Us? 

These questions are great not only because it gives you some really good stories, but because it gives you some insight on how you can provide similar prospects with that AHA moment. Understanding the average day of your clients is important in reflecting on your Customer Value Journey, and helps you understand what really set you apart from your competitors.

What Key Features Had the Biggest and/or Fastest Impact?

Not only is this going to get you to really specific stories, you will understand the specific things you provided that gave the biggest impact. The answers to these questions will not only give you great insight and testimonials, it will provide you with ideas for new lead magnets. This part is a new Entry Point Offer goldmine! 

What Has Been the Impact or Results in Your Life or Business Since Using Our Product or Service? 

This is a fairly broad question, and that’s why we put it after the others. You will have already gotten all of the specifics out of the way with #1 & #2. But when you ask this question, this is where you get the most valuable stories. You can use this part as testimonials, as an order form, as a sales page, this part is testimonial gold. 

If You Were Asked to Justify this Purchase to Your Boss or a Friend, What Would You Say? 

This is our favorite question by far. If you had to go back in time and justify this purchase, what would you say? I promise you what we’re going to find is a lot of great ideas for the jobs that your product or service has done. You’ll get a lot of great ideas for your core message canvas. This question is about backfilling all of the assets that you may not have. Here you’re going directly to the customer who are already happy, and using their justifications to help you sell to new customers. 

Hopefully you now understand just how valuable the Advocate stage could be, as well as the key questions you need to ask to get your customers talking. Here’s how it works for our example companies.

When it comes to fashion we all love to show off our outfits. So a good example for Hazel & Hems would be to have customers write reviews for a discount code or points towards their next purchase. 

Better yet, follow up with the customers to ask them to share and tag themselves wearing the items in a social media post and providing them with something valuable as a reward.

For Cyrus & Clark Media, hopping on zoom meetings or a streaming service for live talks about them and their business could generate valuable awareness for them, and a live case study for the agency. They can use the questions Ryan provided during this lesson to conduct the interview.



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Drive Conversions and Generate Engagement With Instacart Promotions

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Drive Conversions and Generate Engagement With Instacart Promotions

Through deals and coupons, Instacart has saved consumers more than $700 million in 2022. As we dive into 2023, the leading grocery technology company in North America has big plans to help consumers save even more while also helping CPGs generate sales. Instacart recently announced an advertising solution that helps both sellers and consumers called Instacart Promotions. This exciting feature is designed to help drive conversions, boost sales, and generate overall engagement on the app.

Interested in this feature and how it can help your business on Instacart? Read on as we dive into everything you need to know about this ad solution including benefits, how to get started, and more.

 

What are Instacart Promotions?

 

Instacart Promotions is an advertising feature that’s now available to all brand partners, including emerging brands, within their open beta program. Promotions give CPGs the opportunity to offer new deal structures, promotions, and incentives with Instacart Ad campaigns. With this feature in place, consumers will have access to more promotions, coupons, and deals that are tailored to them within the Instacart Marketplace.

“With the launch of our new Instacart Promotions, all of our brand partners now have the ability to set up coupons and promotions that can drive meaningful business results while also passing on more savings opportunities to consumers. We’re proud to continue expanding our portfolio with additional self-service capabilities, ad formats that drive results, and measurement that brands need to understand the true impact of their campaigns on Instacart.”

 

– Ali Miller, VP of Ads Product at Instacart

 

Source: Instacart

 

How Do Instacart Promotions Work?

 

Promotions, now available in Ads Manager, gives consumers the ability to discover more promotions and savings opportunities within the Instacart app. These promotions now show up directly on product item cards before checkout for easy accessibility. Promotions allow advertisers to customize their campaigns to sync with their goals and objectives whether that be driving sales, building baskets, or boosting trials.

Instacart shared a recent example of a brand successfully utilizing Promotions… 

Athletic Brewing, General Mills, Sola Company, and Wells Enterprises (maker of Halo Top) are strengthening campaign performance by pairing Instacart Promotions with ad formats such as Sponsored Product and Display. Instacart Promotions include two new flexible and customizable structures: Coupons (“buy X units, save $Y”) and Stock Up & Save (“Spend $X, Save $Y”). 

According to Instacart, in the coming months, the company “will work to further enhance the new offering with new deal structures such as Free Gifts and Buy One, Get One (“BOGO”). The new deal structures will help brand partners run “Free Sample” programs that can win new customers and serve personalized discounts for different customer segments, such as “new to brand” and “new to category.”  

 

Example of Instacart Promotions

Source: Instacart

 

Instacart Promotions Benefits

 

Deliver Value and Savings to Consumers

 

With Instacart Promotions, you have the opportunity to deliver value and savings that will have consumers coming back for more. With this savings feature, your brand can stand out among the competition and offer a variety of deals to shoppers ie: “Buy X units, Save $Y”.

 

Hot tip: Ensure you are selecting products for your promotion that are well-stocked and widely available.  

 

Tailor Your Campaigns to Specific Objectives

 

With a variety of savings options available, your brand can structure deals to fit specific business goals and objectives. 

 

Hot tip: If you’re looking to drive visibility and awareness, try pairing promotions with Sponsored Product campaigns. 

 

Access Real-Time Performance Insights 

 

The Promotions beta program is live and can be accessed within Instacart Ads Manager. Within Ads Manager, advertisers can access real-time insights to maximize performance and adjust campaigns as needed.

 

Hot tip: Make sure your budget matches your discount and objectives.

 

“As an advertiser, Instacart’s unique offering to self-manage promotions is so exciting! Historically, making adjustments to offer values and other promotion parameters was a more manual process, but now we’ll be able to easily make optimizations in real-time based on redemption performance.”

Emily Choate

Emily Choate, Senior Specialist, Marketplace Search at Tinuiti

 

Interested in Instacart Promotions?

 

With Instacart Promotions, you have the opportunity to reach new customers, build bigger baskets, and drive sales. Interested in testing out the beta program or looking to get started with advertising on the app? Drop us a line – we’d love to help elevate your CPG brand on Instacart.

 

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