Social media advertising provides businesses with a variety of opportunities to reach new audiences, promote their products and services, and build brand loyalty.
While there are more than 100 social media sites in existence today, the truth is, there are only a select few that dominate in advertising.
One of these top platforms is Instagram.
Instagram is a popular image-sharing social media platform that gives users the ability to create, post, and share photo and video content with their followers.
Since Facebook purchased it in 2012, Instagram has amassed a high number of active users. Currently, more than 1 billion people use the platform every day and many more use it for advertising.
Whether it’s celebrities or small business owners, many people use Instagram for their own personal and professional reasons.
It makes sense for businesses, small and large, to take advantage of the many opportunities that advertising on Instagram provides for its users.
However, before you launch an Instagram advertising campaign, it’s important to understand the basics of advertising on the platform, the tools it features, and how to best use them to your advantage.
Here’s a quick guide on how to advertise on Instagram.
What is Instagram advertising?
Instagram isn’t just a platform for taking and sharing personal photos. It’s also a tool that allows you, as a business owner, to reach potential customers, build brand awareness, and promote your products and services.
And it’s very effective at helping you achieve your marketing objectives.
Because it works as a powerful tool for discovering new brands, Instagram also helps increase conversion rates. In fact, Hootsuite reports that 50 percent of users use Instagram to discover new products, services, and brands.
Another survey from Omnicore states that 50 percent have said they’ve purchased products and services after seeing them promoted on Instagram Stories.
Needless to say, there’s a world of opportunities with Instagram!
What are the different types of Instagram ads?
To create an effective social media campaign on Instagram, you need to produce organic content on your page that resonates with your audience.
You can then use Instagram ads to help your page increase its reach and engagement rate. This, in turn, can boost your conversion rates and ROI. Now, there are many different types of ads featured on Instagram.
Take some time to review each ad option and how you can optimize them to achieve your social media goals.
Influencer advertising is a unique form of Instagram advertising that involves paying social media influencers to promote your brand and product. These influencers aren’t your average celebrity or athlete—they’re regular people with a large following who post content within a specific niche.
Many businesses reach out to social media influencers who regularly post content, engage their audience in their posts, and have a large active following. And this number is expected to grow.
According to a report by Tinuiti, the number of marketing teams leveraging influencer marketing is expected to rise from 55% in 2019 to 72.5% in 2022.
Influencer marketing is a great way to promote your brand or product as many users are likely to make purchases from influencers they follow and trust. It also helps if you have a specific target audience in mind.
For example, if you own a restaurant, searching for food bloggers on Instagram will help introduce your business to hundreds of potential customers who will likely be searching for a new spot to eat.
Once you start running advertisements on Instagram, you will start to attract potential audiences to your page. Your organic posts make a huge difference in how you obtain and keep followers in the long run.
Your Instagram page should have fresh, original, and high-quality content that contains engaging and relevant captions that meet your target audience’s needs.
Remember: there are many types of content you can create on Instagram, such as carousels, stories, and Reels. Organic posts are the posts that help create trust, loyalty, brand awareness, and retention from your customers.
Introduce a mix of paid ads and organic posts as part of your strategy to maintain a sense of authenticity while you promote your brand.
Paid Instagram ads look just like other posts on the platform. However, ads usually contain a “Sponsored” label to differentiate them from other posts. Most paid ads contain a caption with a call-to-action (CTA) button to drive traffic to a post.
If your objective is to increase conversions, improve video views, or generate leads, a sponsored post allows you to target a specific demographic to the smallest detail and achieve the results you want.
To create an effective sponsored ad campaign, you will need to use Facebook’s Ad Manager to plan out which targeting criteria you choose and placement options. We will explain the ad creation process later in this blog.
Story ads are another unique way to advertise on Instagram. Since its launch in 2016, Instagram stories have been used by an average of 500 million people every day, giving you another opportunity to focus your advertising.
Organic stories are also useful in increasing engagement through interactive means. What makes story ads so popular is that they often look and feel very authentic. It’s this key feature that marketers must capture when creating their story ads.
You can also include a CTA as a swipe-up feature that takes the user’s direct to your website once you’ve reached 10K followers
How do you start advertising on Instagram?
To advertise on Instagram, there are a few steps you need to follow first to get started. Instagram does not have its own separate ad management system so the ad creation, scheduling, placement, and budgeting process is all done through Facebook Ads Manager.
You’ll need to create a Facebook business page to run ads on Instagram. If you’ve previously worked with Facebook for your business, you don’t need to create another ad account for your Instagram page.
If you’re a first-timer, here’s how to set up your ads on Instagram:
1. Create a new ad campaign.
On Facebook Business Suite, go with the ads manager and choose the option to create a new campaign. There are many different ways to create and run ads on Instagram but ads manager is the best tool to use for this purpose.
2. Select your campaign objective.
When you’re creating a new ad, the tool will ask you to determine what objective you want to achieve. Think carefully about your campaign goals.
While you can choose any of the options listed on the tool, you may want to choose one that you can track and measure on Instagram like brand awareness, traffic, engagement, and more.
After you select your campaign objective, give your campaign a name and any special attributes to help you differentiate it from other campaigns.
3. Choose your target audience.
The next step is to pick the right audience for your campaign. Make sure this audience segment aligns with your chosen campaign objective.
You can also create a Custom Audience or use Detailed Targeting to pick the best audience for your ad campaign on Instagram.
4. Add placement.
For this step, choose Instagram only and unselect all other options for placement. The tool will let you know what your potential reach is for your target audience on Instagram.
5. Select your budget and ad scheduling.
There are two types of budget you can choose from the ads manager: daily budget and lifetime budget.
Your daily budget is the average amount of daily spending for your ad. Your lifetime budget is the maximum amount of spending for the specific period your ad is run.
After you choose your budget, select the dates you would like for your ad to run. You will be given options to optimize your ad delivery, including link clicks, impressions, and page views. Pick the option that best fits your campaign objectives.
6. Choose an ad format.
Now it’s time to choose an ad format. Your ad format is the way you would like your advertisement to look. You have 4 ad format types to choose from, such as carousel, single image, single video, and collection.
Here’s a quick rundown of each ad format:
- Carousel Ads.
Carousel ads allow businesses to post up to 10 images and videos that users can look through. These types of ads are an opportunity to exhibit a flair of creativity as you tell a story about your brand and product. According to Hootsuite, they also outperform other types of ads when it comes to engagement and reach.
- Single-Image Ads.
This type of advertisement is simple and straightforward. It usually contains one image, a caption, and a call-to-action button. These types of newsfeed ads do not receive as much engagement as the others. However, you can create 6 different versions of an ad with different captions, images, and CTAs to A/B test the best performing assets.
- Video Ads.
It’s a no-brainer—videos receive more engagement than pictures on Instagram. This makes video ads one of the most effective ad options you can use in your strategy.
On Instagram, videos can be up to 1 minute long (60 seconds) so you must be able to capture your audience’s attention and motivate them to take the desired action within that time frame.
Creating a great video ad allows you to tell a captivating story about your brand that facilitates brand loyalty and drives engagement.
- Collection Ads.
Collection ads are a compilation of visual content like pictures and videos that exhibit your products or services to your audience. These ads also give users the chance to buy directly from the business by clicking the CTA and directing them to a page that displays products and services.
7. Connect your Facebook and Instagram pages.
Before you move forward, you need to connect your Facebook page and Instagram account. Of course, if you haven’t created an Instagram account, you can still run ads and track their performance through your Facebook page.
After you’ve completed this step, review your ads a few times to ensure the copy is clear and concise and that you’ve included the correct links so that your audience is directed to the right page when they click your ad.
8. Measure your performance.
Once you have your ad up and running, don’t forget to pay close attention to its metrics and overall performance. It’s important to track the effectiveness of your campaign.
And if you see any areas for improvement, you can tweak your ad by changing the image or updating the copy so that it performs better.
To see your ad’s performance, click on the “Columns: Performance” tab to review your ad metrics and customize reports to get a clearer picture of your campaign.
How much does it cost to advertise on Instagram?
Like all advertising, Instagram ads aren’t free of charge. It’s easy to rack up costs if you aren’t paying close attention so make sure you take note. In general, the average Instagram ad (in terms of cost-per-click) is around $0.50 – $1.00.
AdExpresso reported that the average Instagram ad costs $0.80 (cost-per-click). Some Instagram ads can even cost up to $3.00 per click.
Instagram ad costs vary depending on the following factors:
- Campaign objectives
- Audience demographics
- Ad duration
In some cases, you may need to pay more in highly competitive industries. Your audience demographics also play a huge role in the costs of your ads.
For example, Instagram CPC prices vary within certain age groups, and Kicksta found that older demographics (individuals aged between 65-74) are more likely to convert compared to younger users.
That doesn’t mean you need to throw in the towel just yet.
Older demographics with high CPC rates are 18-24, 25-34, and 35-44-year-olds. In contrast, younger demographics (13-17-year-olds) are lower-priced at 47 cents per click.
Depending on your target audience, you may need to adjust your marketing message so that it attracts your target audience.
What are some common advertising mistakes businesses make on Instagram?
Mistakes are an everyday part of life. And Instagram mistakes are no different. If you are advertising for the first time on the platform, here are some common blunders businesses make in their ad campaigns so that you can avoid them.
1. Not knowing your target audience.
Statista found that more than half of Instagram’s user population worldwide is younger than 34 years old. In the same report, around 17.9% of users are men aged 18-24 years old. It’s pretty clear that Instagram, like many other social media platforms, attracts a young audience, particularly teenagers and young adults.
Keep this in mind as you consider the target audience of your brand.
If your brand’s target audiences are an older demographic, think about advertising on social media platforms like Facebook, in which users aged 25–34 years are the largest demographic.
2. Using low-quality images or video.
One thing about Instagram is certain: images matter. Pictures and videos reign above everything else on Instagram. On top of this, the platform boasts over 1 billion users per month, which means there’s an incredible quantity of content that’s being created and vying for attention.
To make an impact with your Instagram ads, you need to invest time in creating high-quality images and videos that captivate your audience. Poor-quality images will only set your campaign back.
3. Lack of engaging captions.
You already know that Instagram is an image-heavy platform. However, that doesn’t mean that captions aren’t important.
Many advertising campaigns don’t perform well due to bad captions. What messages are you trying to tell your audiences? What action do you want them to take?
Great captions can enhance your photo or video’s engagement. They also add some context to the post. With the right captions, you can create interesting conversations and entice target users to take action that increases your sales or website traffic.
Now, here’s a little bit of controversy for you. There’s a hot debate about the right length of captions. Some businesses use shorter captions to convey a direct message to their target audience about their brand.
Many celebrities and influencers tend to get away with using a single emoji as their caption. For brands, however, the shift towards lengthier captions has increased.
According to Later, longer captions (but not novel-length) that champion story-telling and authenticity are usually the posts that are driving a ton of engagement. Of course, this also depends on your overall objectives and brand voice.
4. No consistent posting schedule.
You know how the saying goes, “out of sight, out of mind.” Well, this rings true when it comes to Instagram. If you aren’t posting often on the platforms, chances are your target audience isn’t going to remember your brand.
This doesn’t mean you need to post every single hour of each day. Posting a few times a week is usually enough to keep your Instagram page up-to-date so that target audiences can discover and explore what your business offers.
Make sure to align your posting schedule with the times and days your target audiences are most active. You can get this information from your post analytics.
5. Ignoring the data.
Tracking your ad’s performance is exhausting but it’s essential in growing and improving your future ad campaigns. Many businesses ignore analytics and hope for the best with their ads only to have it fall flat due to poor performance.
You should be tracking and measuring your ad’s performance to analyze trends, patterns, and areas for improvement. Having this information can help you avoid repeating mistakes and leverage the things you did right.
Instagram isn’t a platform that you ever pass up for your advertising efforts. Advertising on the platform is effective for all types of businesses (not just e-commerce!).
Once you know your audience and brand well, you’re ready to start advertising on Instagram! Just remember that, like other advertising strategies, some ads may work better than others to promote your brand and messages to your target audience.
Trial and error may work best to determine what engages your target audience and what doesn’t. Be ready to ask questions about your audience like what time of day they’re most active and how to best engage them with your ads.