Guide To Advertising On Instagram



There are so many reasons to get excited about the Instagram platform. It now has a billion active users and businesses of all kinds are seeing excellent results from setting up a profile and advertising with Instagram.

Instagram Ads are not the most expensive way to promote your business and brand but it is not a cheap option either, so you really need to get it right to see the highest returns. And this is what this guide is all about.

Many online marketers know about the power of Instagram and that it can be used to reach their target audience. But they don’t go about this in the right way and then end up claiming that advertising on Instagram doesn’t work. It does work - you just need to know what you are doing.

In this guide we will take you by the hand and guide you step by step through the process of creating successful Instagram Ads. We will show you how to identify your target audience correctly and explain how you can choose the right type of Instagram Ad to connect with them in the best way.

Engagement is the most important thing with social media and we will share with you how you can boost your engagement levels with all of your Instagram Ads. The harsh reality is that a lot of Instagram Ads get very few or no views and this is a situation that can be avoided with the right planning.

Use the techniques in this guide to create really successful Instagram Ads. Once you have achieved your first successful ad campaign you can go on to create many more and get a great return on your investment.



Chapter 1: Why Instagram Ads ?

Why should you consider using Instagram to market your brand and your business when there are other social media platforms available?

Well one of the main reasons is that there are more than one billion active users each month on Instagram. Every day there are more than 500 million users on Instagram. The platform has seen explosive growth since its launch in 2010.

Did you know that Facebook now owns Instagram? The CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, was quick to see the potential offered by Instagram and decided to buy it for $1 billion just 18 months after it launched.

More and more businesses have realized the power of Instagram. Most of the world’s top brands now have an Instagram account and it will not be too long until they all do. So surely it makes sense for you to use Instagram for your marketing?

Here are the major benefits of using Instagram for marketing a business:


1. More than a Third of Instagram Users have purchased through the Platform

The end game with any advertising is increased sales. Whether this is done by generating leads first doesn’t matter. You are looking for more sales in exchange for your advertising bucks. So will Instagram advertising help to increase your sales? Well here are a few facts about Instagram:


More than 33% of Instagram users have used it to make a purchase of a product online. This means that an Instagram user is 70% more likely to make a purchase than a non-Instagram user.

Think about the numbers here. With a billion active users this means that 33% is over 333,000,000 people that have made a purchase online through the platform. That’s a staggering amount of potential customers that could be interested in what you have to offer. A lot of these users have a history of buying from Instagram.

Another interesting fact is that around 75% of Instagram users will take action after viewing an Instagram advertising post. They will visit your website if that is what you want them to do. If you want them to click a “contact us” or “shop now” button they will do this too.

If an Instagram user does not take the action that you want them to then you have the capability to retarget them over and over again until they do take the required action. This is a powerful feature of the Instagram advertising service.


1.Very Advanced Social Media Targeting

 Instagram being owned by Facebook is a very good thing. It is well known that Facebook has very advanced targeting functionality and they have brought this to Instagram too. You can display your ads to a targeted audience such as:

·         A specific age group

·         People with specific interests

·         People from specific locations

·         People that exhibit specific behavior

Once you have specified your target audience in Instagram you have the ability to retarget them as we mentioned earlier. You can customize your retargeting to take into account engagement with Instagram posts, video views on Instagram, customer email lists and more. With this kind of targeting functionality you can take your marketing to the next level with Instagram. You can setup specific sales funnels for your Instagram ads that will achieve the results that you are looking for.

 2.   You can Track Sales and Leads

There is no point spending money on any form of advertising if you can’t measure the effectiveness of it. The good news is that Instagram has the same comprehensive tracking features that the Facebook platform has. You can track everything including clicks on links, leads generated and conversions. If you want to see the cost per result then this is also possible. It’s possible for you to measure just about everything. If you want to break down results further you can see where leads came from, what device they were using etc.

We would always recommend that you split test your ads and this is easy to track with Instagram Analytics. The metrics available with Instagram Ads are very comprehensive and provide advertisers with the feedback that they need.


3.   Tap into an Unreached Customer Base

Statistics show that 50% of people on Instagram will view the profile of businesses that they like on a daily basis. If you don’t have an Instagram account then you will miss out on this kind of action.

It is unlikely that you will be able to find the same level of customers using other advertising channels outside of Instagram. When you establish your Instagram presence you really will be able to tap into a market of potential customers that would be very difficult, if not impossible, to replicate elsewhere.

 4.   Build your Audience Organically

One advantage that Instagram has over Facebook is that you can build an audience organically that will stay in touch with your brand. You can create a natural relationship without using ads rather than have to force it with ads as you do on Facebook.

Once you start to get followers this will grow organically through word of mouth. When an Instagram user follows your business they decide that they want to see your posts on their timeline. This is great for developing initial interest which you can then build on.

 5.   You can make Relationships Stronger

Brand engagement on Instagram is 10 times higher than it is on Facebook, 54 times higher than on Pinterest and 84 times higher than on Twitter. With engagement rates on this scale you can expect more interaction with your posts organically.

If a user “likes” a post on Instagram this is archived in their personal “Posts You’ve Liked” section. This is a bank of images that they “liked” on the platform that they can access at any time. You can use this to stimulate conversations and comments with your followers.


6. Learn what your Audience Likes and Dislikes

You can learn a great deal about your audience with Instagram. How good would it be to know what they like and dislike? When you know this you can create specific ad campaigns around this information.

It is easy for you to see what kind of content your audience likes and the content that they don’t like. You can also see the kinds of Instagram accounts that they like to follow. All of this will help you to provide your audience with the content that they are really looking for.

7.   The Visual Advantage

If you didn’t already know, Instagram is a visual platform for images and videos. Text can be added but it is not mandatory. This is great because people are far more likely to remember what they see rather than what they hear or read. Videos are the best media for engagement on social media. Images will also outperform text only posts significantly. You can create videos and images that really make your business stand out for higher engagement and increase your chances of converting followers into customers.

Chapter 2: What Are Intagram Ads?


Instagram first offered ads back in 2013 but it wasn’t until 2015 that this was opened up to everyone. Once businesses started to use Instagram Ads they found them to be very effective. At the time of writing this guide the average cost per click of Instagram ads is about $0.70 to $0.80. This comes from an analysis of over $300 million in ad spend on the platform.

This is an average cost and it is possible that your Instagram Ads could cost considerably less depending on a number of different factors. The time of year the ads are placed affects the cost with the last quarter of the year having the highest average costs.

There are five different Instagram Ad formats which are:

1.      Stories

2.      Photos

3.      Videos

4.      Carousel

5.      Collection

Each one of these formats are interlaced with Instagram user feeds and stories ensuring that the Instagram user has a non-disruptive experience on the platform. There are also a number of different calls to action that you can use to generate more leads. You can see these as we explain each of the five formats.

Stories Ads

 With Instagram Stories Ads you can use the following call to action buttons:

·         Apply now

·         Book now

·         Contact us

·         Call now (only using video)

·         Download

 An Instagram Stories Ad is full screen and will appear between user’s stories. There are around 500 million users viewing stories each day so there is massive potential with this type of ad.

When you go for a Stories Ad you can specifically target your audience and decide on how often they will see the ad. All stories expire after 24 hours on Instagram so Stories Ads are best for limited time offers.

You can use a number of filters with your Stories Ads such as adding video effects, face filters and text. The idea here is to create a really fun ad. It is really important that your Stories Ad looks like a normal post for a consistent experience. Users will “swipe up” calls to action and then automatically visit your website.

Photos Ads (also known as Image Ads)

 You can use the following call to action buttons with Photos Ads:

·         Apply now

·         Book now

·         Call now

·         Contact us

·         Get directions

·         Learn more

·         Get show times

·         Download

 With Photo Ads you will be showcasing your products and services through engaging images. If you already use these kinds of images in your marketing then you can leverage the power of Instagram to share these with a larger audience. There have been a number of success stories using Photos Ads.

Video Ads

 Here are the call to action buttons you can use with Video Ads:

·         Apply now

·         Book now

·         Call now

·         Contact us

·         Download

Video is the favorite media choice of Instagram users. Time spent watching videos on Instagram has increased significantly (around 80% year on year). So Instagram have made it very easy for advertisers to run video ad campaigns. There have been some incredible success stories with Instagram Video Ads.

Carousel Ads

 With Carousel Ads you can use the following call to action buttons:

·         Apply now

·         Book now

·         Contact us

·         Call now

·         Download

 The idea with Carousel Ads is that users can swipe through a series of videos or images that all have a call to action button that will send them to your website. With a Carousel Ad you can:

·         Showcase multiple products

·         Share a story with multiple parts

·         Perform a deep dive into a single product with up to 10 videos or images

 If you want to show versatility then Carousel Ads are a good choice.

Collection Ads

 You can only use two call to action buttons with Collection Ads which are:

·         Learn more

·         Purchase

 Collection Ads have only been available since 2018 and the idea is pretty simple. When a user sees an ad from you they will be able to make a purchase directly from the ad. You can use the power of video and images in your Collection Ads. They can be a very cost effective way of increasing product sales.


Chapter3: Setting Goal And The Best Instagram Ad Format For Your Business


Before we get into choosing the best format of Instagram Ad for your business it is important that you understand the objectives that Instagram publish about their advertising solutions. At the time of writing this guide they could be summarized as follows:

·  To increase the number of clicks to the customer’s website – you can decide what section of your website you want the Instagram user to be directed to

·      Instagram Ads should lead to a higher number of conversions

·    The Ads can persuade people to take specific actions on your website

·   If you have a mobile app then you can use Instagram Ads to drive up the number of installs

·    You can use Instagram Ads to increase activity with your mobile phone app

·     You can use Instagram Ads to drive up video views

·         With Instagram Ads you can achieve predictable reach and have a greater level of control over message frequency

·    You can use Instagram Ads to drive page post engagement

·         You can use Instagram Ads to create mass awareness to a broad audience with guaranteed impressions

 It is very important that you decide on the best Instagram Ad format for your marketing campaigns. In order to make this decision the starting point is always the goal that you have in mind.

You need a social media goal. This will act as your guiding light when it comes to Instagram Ads. Your goal will help you to decide what you should pursue, and almost as importantly, what you shouldn’t pursue.

We highly recommend that every Instagram ad campaign that you run has its own goal. There are 3 main goal options when using Instagram Ads which are:

1.      Raising the awareness of your brand

2.      Finding potential customers

3.      Increasing sales or conversions

 When you are looking to increase your brand awareness ask yourself this question “what is your brand all about and why should anybody care?” You need to create Instagram Ads that will grab the attention of users.

Increasing brand awareness is the most popular ad campaign goal on Instagram so you need to be prepared for a fair amount of competition. It is really important that you focus on creating a memorable ad which stands out.

If your goal is to find more potential customers through lead generation to get them on your email marketing list for example you can do this by creating a lead centric ad. The aim here is to drive Instagram users to your website. You can also use this kind of ad to collect more potential customer details and to increase engagement through the use of messages.

What about if you want to increase sales or conversions with your Instagram Ads? An example of a conversion could be the downloading of your mobile app. You could also offer an incentive with your ad such as a discount coupon.

So as an example if increasing the awareness of your brand was one of your social goals then it would be better for you to choose a Photo Ad or a Video Ad rather than a Collections Ad. A Photo Ad or Video Ad allows you to drive traffic to your website whereas a Collections Ad is all about selling directly from the ad.

With a brand awareness campaign your aim is to provide the most captivating content to your audience as you can. If you have already established your brand and you just want to sell more products then a Collections Ad would be a good choice as Instagram users can make a purchase directly.

Maybe you want to showcase a number of new products that you are launching. In this case it is best to go for a Carousel Ad so that you can present your products with different images and videos to your audience.


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