instagram advertising

Instagram Advertising Guide

Instagram is now one of the main social media players, but one that some brands may still not be entirely familiar with.

In spite of the image-driven platform’s huge popularity, we still hear a lot more about Facebook and Twitter. For a lot of brands though, Instagram is a place you should definitely be.

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Why Brands Should Advertise on Instagram

If you’re not sure yet if Instagram is right for your brand, here are a few compelling reasons to consider it.

instagram usage statisticsInstagram’s audience is huge.

The company reported earlier this year that their numbers had grown to 700 million users. According to Pew Research, nearly a third of all internet users are on the platform. With numbers that big, the chances that someone in your target audience is on Instagram are significant.

Engagement on the platform is high.

While Facebook gets a lot of attention for being the social media site used by the most people, Instagram handily beats it in engagement. Brands see four times as much engagement on Instagram as on Facebook.

And while audience engagement is good for brands in general, the type on Instagram is especially valuable since it leads to action. 75% of Instagram users take some form of action in response to posts on the platform, whether that’s visiting a brand’s website, performing a search, buying a product, or recommending them to a friend.

It’s easy if you already use Facebook.

Since Instagram is owned by Facebook, both social media networks use the same ad platform. If you’re already advertising on Facebook, then getting started with Instagram won’t require learning much new.


What Businesses is Instagram Right For?

With so many different social media sites and advertising platforms, most businesses can’t afford to be everywhere. You have to figure out which platforms are right for your brand specifically. There are two main things to consider to determine if Instagram advertising is a must-have for your brand.

1. Your industry.

Instagram isn’t a platform people are likely to turn to when they’re researching the best productivity software for their business. For some B2B brands that create products that aren’t especially visual, the platform can potentially be useful, but it may not be essential.

On the other hand, there are a few industries that Instagram is essential for. If your products fall into any of the following categories, Instagram should be an important part of your social media strategy:

  •      Fashion
  •      Food
  •      Beauty
  •      Entertainment
  •      Design
  •      Music
  •      Crafting
  •      Photography
  •      Art
  •      Travel

Basically, anything that’s visual and/or relates to hobbies and interests people are likely to want to share pictures of is prime fodder for Instagram.

2. Your target audience.

We’ve already established that a huge number of people are on Instagram, but they generally skew pretty young. About 60% of adults under 30 use Instagram, while only a third of those from 30-49 and 8% of those 65 and older do. If seniors are your primary target audience, then Instagram is less likely to be important for you than if you’re selling products beloved by young adults.

In addition, the platform is more heavily used by women than men. 38% of women are on Instagram, while only 26% of men are. That probably doesn’t mean that a brand focused on men shouldn’t be on the platform at all, but more that those selling to women should make it a particular priority.


Types of Instagram Ads

There are four different types of Instagram ads brands can use.

1. Photo Ads

instagram ad typesJust like they sound, photo ads consist primarily of a photo that will show up in a user’s feed. You can include some simple text below the photo and a hyperlinked call-to-action (CTA) that drives people to your website.

2. Video Ads

Video ads can last up to 60 seconds and work a lot like photo ads, but with the added movement. You can still include a bit of text at the bottom and a linked CTA to drive traffic your way.

3. Carousel Ads

Carousel ads are similar to photo ads, but give you the chance to add several photos that customers can swipe to move between. You can add shots of your products from multiple angles or use them to illustrate a story. Like the other types of ads, you can include a hyperlinked CTA, along with some text at the bottom of the ad.

4. Instagram Stories Ads

The Instagram Stories feature gets used by around 250 million people a day. In addition to ads on the main feed, these photo or video ads will show up in between other users’ Instagram Stories.


Instagram Targeting

One of the great things about Instagram advertising being a part of Facebook’s platform is that they have a huge amount of data and impressive targeting options. You can focus your Instagram ads on specific audiences based on:

  • Geographic location – If your focus is local, you can just pay to show ads to those in your area.
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Language
  • Connections – You can nurture current relationships by focusing ads on those who have already interacted with your brand in some form – whether through likes, app use, event attendance, or simply following your account.
  • Education Level
  • Income level
  • Job/Industry
  • Race
  • Parental Status
  • Political Preferences
  • Interests – Between activities and profile information on both Facebook and Instagram, the company has a lot of data on what users are interested in.
  • Behavior – This is based on data for things like how often people click on ads and make purchases online, along with operating systems and devices commonly used.
  • Relationship Status

In addition to all these targeting options, you can also create a custom audience by uploading a list of customers or leads you already have or by allowing Facebook to access data on who has visited your website or interacted with your app.


How Much Does Instagram Advertising Cost?

As on other social media platforms, your cost will depend a lot on the particulars of your campaign. Your cost can change based on factors like your targeting, the day of the week your ad shows, and the type of ad you choose.  You can choose between paying on a cost-per-impression or cost-per-click basis, depending on whether your primary goal is awareness or conversion.

The average CPM (cost per thousand impressions) is $6.70, and the average CPC is between $0.70 and $1. As with most advertising platforms, you can set a maximum on your campaigns and bids to make sure you only pay as much as you’re comfortable with.


Instagram Analytics

As you could probably guess by this point in the post, Instagram Analytics go through the Facebook platform. You access them in the same place you check your Facebook ad analytics. Instagram provides metrics at the campaign, ad set, and individual ad levels. You can see your ad’s reach (how many people viewed it), engagement levels (clicks), and how that relates to the amount spent on it. You can also see how results break down by device type and demographics.


How to Get Started Advertising on Instagram

If you’re already advertising on Facebook, then head to your Facebook Ad Manager. If you’re not, click Create an Ad on Instagram’s business page, and you’ll be directed to Facebook’s Ad Manager (and pre-logged in, if you’re already logged into your Facebook account).

instagram create ad

Once there, your first step is to choose your objective from one of the options provided.

Facebook ads manager for instagram

Then you can name your campaign and start getting it set up.

instagram advertising goals

Choose your country, time zone, and currency.

instagram ad setup

On the next page, you can define your audience targeting, choose where you’d like your ads to be seen, and set your budget.

instagram ad targetinginstagram ad set budget
Finally, you can choose to create an ad anew, or select a post you’ve already shared to be turned into an ad.

instagram advertising choose ad type

Once you’ve started, do some testing to get a feel for which types of ads perform best. Pay attention to your analytics so you can tweak your approach as you go for better results. Even though the backend is just like Facebook, Instagram is a distinct platform that won’t work in quite the same way as any of your other advertising channels. So take some time to figure out what people respond to there so you can get the most out of it.

Kristen Hicks is an Austin-based freelance content writer and lifelong learner with an ongoing curiosity to learn new things. She uses that curiosity, combined with her experience as a freelance business owner, to write about subjects valuable to small business owners on the HostGator blog. You can find her on Twitter at @atxcopywriter.

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