Instagram is often associated with selfies, influencers, and pictures of avocado toast. But it’s so much more than that. Businesses around the world are using the platform to advertise, and they’re getting serious results. From major brands to family-run shops, anyone can advertise on Instagram and should, especially when you consider the numbers.
Instagram by the numbers:
Yes, is a powerful platform when it comes to driving awareness, increasing customers and sharing your brand story.
In the article below, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about Instagram ads, and how to get the maximum results for your ads.
Table of contents: Your ultimate guide to Instagram ads
Instagram ads show up on a user’s Instagram feed. The person or brand advertising pays to post the sponsored message, which appears in the form of a still image or video. The aim is to reach a specific audience of people, known as a target audience, and this group will be defined by you.
Interestingly, Instagram was bought by Facebook in 2012 and as a result, Instagram uses Facebook’s advertising platform to set up and run ads, so you will need to have a Facebook account to get started.
Anyone can create an Instagram ad. And while there are professional services you can enlist, doing it yourself means you’re in control and you get an understanding of how it all works. When making ads yourself, there are two key ways to buy, run and track ads on Instagram.
The easiest way to run ads is by promoting posts that you've shared on Instagram. Just select the post you want to promote, and then track how many people are seeing and interacting with your promoted post by tapping.
Image via Instagram. To create customized ad campaigns, Facebook’s Ads Manager is recommended, and what we’ll be focussing on in this article. Here, you can set up ads, publish ads, and see results for all your campaigns. If you’re serious about getting results, Ads Manager is essential.
There are multiple ad formats to choose from, and selecting the one that worlds best for you depends on your product or the type of content you have available. The great news is, whatever format you choose, there are templates available to help you achieve a high-quality look, even with video.
Get your message across in a clean and simple way. Your image can be either a square or landscape format.
Video ads can be up to 120 seconds long but to maintain interest, you may want to keep it short. They can be in landscape or square format and when viewed in the app, will play on an endless loop.
These are full-screen, vertical format ads appearing among other Instagram Stories. Though they have a “sponsored” tag, Story ads are meant to blend in.
With carousel ads, users swipe to view up to 10 photos or videos. This means you can highlight different products, focus on specific details of one product, or tell a story that develops on each swipe.
Collections are ad formats with a primary video or image accompanied by four smaller images below in a grid-like layout. Customers who tap your collection ad to are taken to a fast-loading visual post-click experience, all without leaving Instagram.
Explore is where users go to discover new content and expand their interests beyond the accounts they already follow. It’s a great opportunity to be part of what's culturally relevant and trending.
You can run ads on pretty much any budget, so it really depends on how much you want to spend. There is no set price per ad but before we get into figures, it helps to understand how ads are charged.
Each ad is purchased through an online auction, which determines the price. You set your budget, so you never spend more than you want to, and the platform will try to get as many results as possible for that amount.
Bids represent the maximum amount you’re willing to pay to achieve your desired result. This cost per result is part of your bid strategy and if you're not sure what to bid, it will be automatically done for you with the intent of spending your budget evenly throughout your ad's run time.
In terms of actual figures, the Influencer Marketing Hub reports, “you can expect to pay somewhere between 20 cents and $2 per click (CPC) on an Instagram campaign. If you prefer to run your ads on a cost per mille (CPM) basis, focusing on impressions, then you are likely to pay around $5 per 1,000 visitors on average.”
According to a Statista report, 13 percent of global active Instagram users are women between the ages of 18 and 24 years old, and more than half of the global Instagram population worldwide is aged 34 years or younger. But even if your product isn’t aimed at young adults, you can still find an older audience or niche audiences among the 1 billion users. While we can’t say definitely if it’s right for your business, you can test it out with a low advertising spend to see if it works for you.
Advertising on Instagram can seem overwhelming, so here’s a step-by-step guide to getting your first ad or campaign out there.
Before you can create ads, you first need a Facebook Page as well as a free Business Account on Instagram., which you can read about here.
Make sure you follow the steps to connect your business account to your Facebook Page, making it easier to use all of the features available for businesses across the Facebook family of apps. At this time, only one Facebook Page can be connected to your business account. Add details, like your business category and contact information. Tap ‘Done’.
For full control over your campaign, set your ad objectives, target audience, and ad formats. Ad Manager is also the place where you will monitor the success of your ads.
Ad Manager is accessed from your Facebook Page from the ‘Settings’ menu. When you first navigate to your Ads Manager settings, you'll be presented with the ad account setup.
Define your marketing objectives:
There are a few to choose from including photo ads, video ads, story ads, carousel ads, collection ads, or ads in Explore.
Decide how long your ads will run for and what budget you're comfortable with spending. As mentioned this is completely up to you.
When your ads are ready to go, click ‘Publish’. You'll receive a notification when your ads have been approved and they are ready to run.
As soon as your ad is up and running, you can monitor its performance to see if it is getting the results you want.
To view your ad metrics:
There are some things you can do to make your ad even more impactful.
Build a visually compelling campaign in line with your brand identity
All your ads must reference your brand and each other by using the same color palette, photographic style, or by utilizing the same design elements. You want to establish consistency between any kind of material you put out.
Use compelling calls-to-action (CTA)
A strong CTA helps the audience engage with your ad. They also pave the path for actions they can take and show clear avenues they can follow. Instagram lets you easily include CTAs— simply select the one that best aligns with your goals and what you wish viewers to do when they see your ad.
Include a hashtag
Hashtags make it easy for you to identify or categorize your product, making it extremely easy for your audience to share information or drive others to discover your product or brand. You can also take advantage of popular hashtags to insert yourself into popular feeds and increase brand awareness. Just be sure that the different associations around these hashtags match the ones you want to be associated with your brand.
Enable purchases directly from your ad
Customers can now shop directly from your Instagram ad. To enable the ability to feature products from the Instagram App:
If you don't see Shopping, your account is probably still under review or it hasn't been approved for Instagram Shopping. This review process can take up to a few days.