Instagram advertising allows you to reach a large and targeted market, using a variety of media, and with options for calls to action and objectives.

There’s an initial, one-time, set up phase which takes considerable time and work.  This is a project for John!

First, you’ll get the opportunity to consider your objectives which is a great way to solidify your goals and help you set in stone what will make Instagram advertising a success for your business.  We’ll have you choose one objective from the choices below:

Instagram Ad Objectives

These objectives will allow Instagram to funnel you to the best ad choice for your business.

We’ll then ask you to go through the targeting list below to be sure you are not paying for ads for people out of your targeted market.

City, state, region, country? Age range? Gender? Language?

You’ll also be able to target with user interest keywords.  For example, this sample ad we are setting up is for a pickleball lifestyle products company, so we are targeting anyone who has shown a social media interest in pickleball.

You may also narrow down your targeting by selecting mobile or desktop devices or both if that’s relevant to your ad and/or business.

Then there’s some general book-keeping:

  • ad start and end date/time,
  • do you wish your ad to run all the time, or at just specific times each day,
  • how much do you wish to spend,
  • do you wish to be billed by impression or by click?

These are the ad options:
Instagram Ad Objectives

Carousel ads which scroll images or video upon which you may put a text caption.  We selected carousel for our pickleball client and that’s what’s shown in our header graphic.

Static, single image ads with text overlay.

Video ads, which can be a set of images with captions as a slideshow, or full video, up to 30 seconds.

Nearly done!

You’ll need a landing page.  We recommend a page on your web site which is customized to your Instagram ad.  It will be more effective and will allow you to better track your ROI.

What would you like your call to action to be? Apply Now, Book Now, Contact Us, Download, Learn More, Shop Now, Sign Up, Watch more?

Because Instagram is owned by Facebook, ads are actually set up through Facebook’s business portal.  You may also run these exact ads on Facebook which can be a big time-saver.

We’ll walk you through every step of the way.  We’ll also ask you how you would like to see reporting.


If you use Instagram to promote your business you can take advantage of new business-only features by converting your account. We are recommending that all our clients who have an Instagram presence do this.

instagram accounts for business

When you switch, you will have the following new features and tools:

  • A “Contact” button is automatically added to your public Instagram page. You can choose to provide a phone number, email link, business address or any combination of these.
  • You can connect your Instagram account directly to your business Facebook page and invite your Facebook friends to follow you on Instagram right from your Instagram account.
  • You can learn more about your followers and see how your posts are performing with Instagram’s metrics tool, “Business Insights”.
  • You can create promotions and ads to help grow your business.
  • Instagram is promising more features in the near future.

Upgrading to a Business Profile takes some effort, and requires connecting to your business page on Facebook. Please contact John if you would like us to upgrade your account.


Holiday Marketing

A gentle reminder from Rachel that now is the time to start thinking of the holiday season.

And then for those of you who like a heavier hand, here’s your “I told you so.” Every year, around September, we remind our clients to start prepping and ordering gift bags, greeting cards, holiday decor, gift certificates, gift tags, posters, etc, and plan your online marketing: e-mail campaigns, seasonal web site changes, and AdWords campaigns. And then each year in November and December we get a slew of last-minute projects for which clients end up paying rush shipping and printing rates. (Reminder of our rush project policy.)

Are you sending cards, party invitations, and/or gifts to your clients and partners this year?  Let’s get on that too!

Selling gifts?  Check your inventory and the lead times of items you wish to stock.  From October on-wards, order fulfillment and shipping from your vendors may take additional time.  Also, be sure you stock plenty of festive packaging and shipping supplies if you plan on mailing items.

No stress, added costs, and drama this year — let’s get started on marketing’s silly season work now! We’ve plenty of ideas and sources for product.

Here’s some key dates to keep in mind…


Halloween, Monday, 31th


Daylight Savings, Sunday, 6th

Veterans’ Day, Friday, 11th

Thanksgiving, Thursday, 24th

Black Friday, 25th

Cyber Monday, 28th


Pearl Harbor Remembrance, Wednesday, 7th

Green Monday, 12th

Festivus, Friday, 23rd

Hanukkah, Saturday, 24th through Sunday, January 1st

Christmas Day, Sunday, 25th

Boxing Day | Kwanzza, Monday, 26th

New Year’s Eve, Saturday, 31st












Who’s seen such a mix of shoes on a red carpet? Ever! This is the perfect photo to represent what a kooky and friendly party this was.

I had a fun evening shooting at the Real Housewives of Los Lomitas event, a fundraiser for the Las Lomitas Education Foundation.  I’ve never shot an event like this with so many nice people.

The album is on our portfolio on Smugmug.


Plus, I got to play with the starburst filter my brother bought me:





Here’s John, enjoying his clients’ AdWords reporting on a summer day in the garden.  He says this the new expanded text Google AdWords are a really big deal.

blog adwords

Expanded text AdWords ads are the next generation of text ads, designed for a mobile-first world.  They benefit users with more information before they click an ad and benefit advertisers by giving additional control over messaging.  This can mean higher quality clicks from users with keen interest in the subject while cutting down on lower quality clicks less likely to convert to a sale.  They are also better-designed for device responsiveness and display more clearly on devices from smartphone to desktop monitor.

More bang for your AdWords bucks!

This is all fairly new, but early reporting is showing expanded text ads are getting a 20% higher click through rate.  This is mostly because they are larger and stand out amongst the older, smaller ads.  Right now, we’re suggesting that we upgrade any old-style AdWords campaigns we have running for our clients.

There’s two main updates. The headline (purple text in the graphic below) can be 60 characters, rather than 25.  You can be more compelling and precise which leads to better quality clickers.  And, the ad display text (black text in the graphic below) has been expanded from two 35 character lines to a consolidated 80 character line.

This graphic shows how an expanded text ad will display on a smartphone vs. a monitor:



Summary – better quality clickers = better quality conversions.

Google AdWords is a specialty of John’s.  Contact him at or 408 252-8664 with any questions.









Happier By The Minute

Congratulation to Stacey on the launch of her new company.  Thank you from Rachel and John for hiring us for WordPress site customization and for some graphic design work.

Happier By The Minute is about giving us all the support we need – based upon Stacey’s experience and training in the field of positive psychology – to be happier.  All in one minute video sessions.

Stacey, and her Chief of Happier Operations, Kathleen, have done an amazing job dealing with all the intricacy of starting a new company.

Check it out at:  Or at Rachel’s favorite:  It’s a minute well spent!



Hawaii Island Energy Cooperative

Congratulations to our favorite Hawaiian client, Hawaiian Island Energy Cooperative – the Hawaiian Public Utilities Commission has voted to reject NextEra’s offer to acquire Hawaiian Electric Industries.  They’ve been working hard for a long time to achieve this result.

The Hawaii Island Energy Cooperative is a non-profit cooperative association formed by community and business leaders on Hawaii Island to explore the potential merits of a community-based, cooperative ownership structure for electric utility service on the Big Island. HIEC is also exploring how other energy sectors, such as transportation, can be transformed to be more sustainable and environmentally-friendly.