Want to know how to advertise on Instagram?
You’re in luck! In this post, I’ll teach you the ins and outs of Instagram advertising.
You will learn what it’s all about, how much it costs, and how to set it up, as well as get some examples of Instagram ads done right.
What You’ll Learn:
- What Instagram advertising is
- Who should use Instagram to advertise
- How much Instagram advertising costs
- How to set up your ads on Instagram
- The different Instagram ad formats
- Examples of successful Instagram ads
So you’ve started advertising your brand online. Good!
You will be amazed at how much attention and engagement your business can get just putting a few ads out there.
However, as I’m sure you’ve discovered, some places and platforms are better than others. And while advertising on Facebook and Google can earn you a significant amount of growth, it’s vital to always look for new and better avenues of advertisement.
Which brings us to Instagram.
It may be one of the newest kids on the block when it comes to advertising, but don’t underestimate Instagram’s reach.
Because it’s owned by social giant Facebook, it’s quickly becoming one of the leading advertising platforms on the market. It’s not hard to see why; after all, six in ten online adults worldwide have an Instagram account.
Think about that potential reach!
What is Instagram Advertising?
The ability to advertise on Instagram began shortly after it was bought by Facebook in 2013, to a limited number of accounts.
In 2015, that changed drastically, allowing businesses and brands of all kind to advertise on the platform.
Since then, it has become a very effective way for just about anyone to pay for advertisements in the hopes of increasing their reach and brand exposure. And since Instagram is owned and operated through its parent company Facebook and is integrated with Facebook’s Ad Manager, it can be just as targeted in terms of audience. You can be as specific or as broad as you want.
Most Instagram ads are used to generate new leads, increase website traffic, grow brand exposure, and continue to move current leads closer to conversion.
However, because of the type of visual platform that it is, you won’t see a lot of text ads here.
Instead, images, videos, or a collection of pictures and videos are used to influence your intended audience, though text can certainly be added to these.
And the fact is that it works. According to Statista, Instagram has over 800 million active users, with over 15 million business profiles. That’s a lot of people.
And according to Instagram themselves, nearly 75% of those users have been inspired enough by posts they see to visit a website, call for information, get directions, subscribe, email, direct message, or make a purchase. Talk about a high success rate.
Also, nearly 60% say they have found new products on the platform.
Who Should Use Instagram to Advertise?
So, the question is: why should you use it? I mean Instagram is only used by a bunch of 20-somethings taking selfies, right?
Well, yes and no.
The platform does tend to lean towards a slightly younger crowd, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t reach older generations as well.
Nearly 55% of all Instagram users fall between the ages of 18-29. 30-49-year old’s make up about 28% of the user interface. Only about 11% of Instagrammers fall between 50 and 64 and only 4% are above age 65.
Additionally, most Instagram users (32%) are from an urban area, while 28% are found in suburban places, and 18% live in rural areas.
And while many may correctly assume that more women use the platform than men, the gap between the genders is not that much different.
With all that being said, there is a place for just about everyone on Instagram. The opportunities for growth are endless, and most brands should be seriously thinking about how to use the platform to grow and connect with their audience.
The longer it’s around, the chances of more and more users with differing demographics increase significantly. And don’t forget that, because Instagram uses Facebook’s massive user interface information, you can super specific in the audience that you target.
There is no limit to the type of businesses that can use Instagram. However, it is essential to remember that it’s a visual platform. So images or videos are a must. This also means that industries that thrive in a visual world, like restaurants, furniture stores, specialty crafts, and clothing, do exceptionally well.
However, that doesn’t mean that companies that don’t typically thrive on visuals can’t use it.
As long as you can provide some type of imagery or video that moves users towards your company, it will be well worth your while.
How Much Does Instagram Advertising Cost?
Like Facebook, Instagram does not precisely state how the cost of an advertising campaign is calculated.
However, the platform does indicate several factors that go into such a calculation such as your intended audience, amount of competition for that audience, ad feedback, time of day, day of week, current state of the auction, and even the time of year.
If you are familiar with how Facebook’s ad auction and cost per ad works, then understanding how Instagram formulates cost will be relatively simple. For those that are not aware, it is based on a cost-per-click (CPC) or cost-per-impression (CPM) model.
And while the cost to run your ad may vary a bit from those of some of your competitors, the average CPC Instagram ad costs around $0.70 to $0.80.
Also, just like with Facebook, you can choose to set either a daily or lifetime budget. If you select a daily budget, when that budget has been reached, your ad does not run for the remainder of the day.
However, if you choose a lifetime budget, you can choose to run your ad on your schedule.
For example, let’s say your target audience is more likely to be on Instagram during the afternoon; you can choose to have your ad run from 12-4pm.
How to Advertise on Instagram: Getting Started
While learning any new process can seem somewhat overwhelming at first, learning to how to advertise on Instagram can be done in six simple and easy to understand steps.
It gets even more comfortable if you are familiar with advertising on Facebook, as the two platforms both run ads through Facebook’s Ad Manager.
In either case, I will take you through those steps to make sure you are on your way to advertising on Instagram in no time at all.
It is important to note that there is also the option to run ads directly through the Instagram app. And for those who maybe a little bit more of a pro than most, Instagram ads can also be created through Power Editor or Facebook’s Marketing API.
Businesses on a larger scale may even want to try out Instagram Partners, which allows you to manage a large community, deliver content at scale, and buy and manage multiple ads.
But for the purposes of this post, we’re focusing on creating and running ads through Facebook Ad Manager, the most commonly used method of advertising on Instagram.
Step One: Open Facebook’s Ad Manager
This may be the most straightforward step of all, simply go to this link.
However, this does require that you already have Facebook business account. If you don’t, you will need to create one first. Once your account is created, you will then need to connect your Facebook Business account to your Instagram account.
To do this, go to your Facebook Business Manager. Click on Business Settings and choose Instagram Accounts from the menu. Then add your Instagram account.
Then you can go to Ads Manager.
Step Two: Choose Your Marketing Objective
Essentially, this is the goal of your marketing and is given to you in a list of possible options. Most are pretty self-explanatory. However, I will go into a few more details about each below and let you know if there are any extra steps involved.
Brand Awareness – This is one of the most basic. Simply put, your goal is to bring more awareness to your brand. Instagram can help do this by showing your ads to people who are likely to be interested in what you have to offer but have not heard of you yet.
Reach – This is the chosen goal for those who want their ad to be seen by as many people as possible. In this objective, you can choose to participate in their split testing feature. This allows you to take two ads and compare them to test which one has the farthest reach and the most installs. During set-up, you will need to input your Instagram account.
Traffic – For those whose primary goal is to get more traffic to your website or to the app store to check out and download your app, this is for you. However, you can only choose one of those two options, your website or your app, not both.
Engagement – Do you want more comments, likes, event responses, shares, and overall engagement with your brand? Then this is the goal for you. It is important to note that while Facebook lets you pay for “page engagement” and “event responses,” Instagram is only currently set up to use “post engagement.”
App Installs – Just like it sounds, this one is formatted to give you the maximum number of app installs possible. Just make sure to select your app during set-up.
Video Views – Also another straightforward goal, this one is all about getting your video in front of eyeballs. So if you have video ads that need to be seen, this just might be the goal for your campaign.
Lead Generation – This objective is for those that want to gather information about the people who are clicking on their ads. During set-up, you will need to create a lead form and asks about your lead’s email, full name, phone number, and gender.
Messages – Do you want more messages from those interested in your brand? Then this is the one for you.
Conversions – Who doesn’t want more conversions? This goal allows you to get more people to take action, purchase, or subscribe on your website or in your app. It will also track those conversions. During set up, you will choose to either configure an app event or Facebook pixel based on your website or an app you want to endorse.
Catalog Sales – This goal is for those who want to promote the products on your Facebook catalog.
Store Visits – Would you like to direct more people to your brick and mortar stores? Then this is what you need.
Step Three: Configure Your Target Audience
This is where you decide who you want to see your ads and where you can get as specific or as broad as you want. It also one of the best things about advertising on Instagram because it uses Facebook’s huge knowledge of demographics and places them at your fingertips.
So if you have created ads on Facebook, the process is pretty similar. For those who haven’t, prepare to get excited. This is one of the most precise targeting interfaces known to the advertising world. You can layer your audience to be exactly who you want them to be. Do you want to speak to people living in the women in the San Francisco Bay area, who work outside the home, enjoy coffee, music, and are between the ages of 25 and 55? With Instagram, you can.
Let’s go through some of the most important and well-used layers of your targeting options.
Location: allows you to choose from zip code, state, region, city, and country. It also lets you exclude places or include specific other sites.
Age: allows to you target any range of people between 13 and 65+
Gender: enables you to choose between male, female, or all
Languages: allows specifying languages. However, Facebook recommends leaving this blank unless you are targeting a language that is not commonly used in the targeted location.
Demographics: This is found under “Detailed Targeting” and is where you can get really specific. Under this section, you will find several sub-categories with more categories under those. This can include education, finances, parents, relationships, and politics, just to name a few.
Interests: allows you to choose specific interests people in your targeted audience are likely to have. You want to pin-point those who take yoga classes, like horror movies or enjoy farm-fresh foods.
Behaviors: allows you to choose from an endless list of behaviors your target audience may have, such as using coupons, giving to charity, and more.
Connections: allows you to target people based on their relationship to your app, page, or event.
Custom Audience: a Custom Audience allows you to upload your own list connections or contacts and create leads that you are already aware of.
Lookalike Audience: enables you to build off of your custom audience. When you have reached all of them, this setting lets you find people are very similar to them and have alike traits.
When are you have completed your target audience, Facebook will evaluate your input. It will give you an idea of just how specific or broad your audience is. This can help determine if you maybe need to be just a tad more precise or maybe loosen your parameters a bit.
After all, you want to reach the right amount of people but not have so many that the people are not as interested as they could be.
Step Four: Choose Your Placements
Your ad has the ability to placed in various locations on Instagram, Facebook, Messenger, and Ad Network, based on the objective or goal you choose.
When you are choosing ad placement, you have two options: Automatic Placements and Edit Placements.
“Automatic Placements” is the recommended Facebook setting and will allow the platform to put your ad wherever they think it is likely to get the most attention for your specific goal.
Under “Edit Placements,” you can limit those placements. This can come in handy for ads that have been specifically designed for Instagram and may not always convert well to other platforms. You can also notate whether your ad will be seen in the feed and/or stories of your audience.
Step Five: Choose Your Budget and Schedule
As with many other digital advertising platforms such as Facebook and AdWords, Instagram allows you to set a budget and a schedule for your campaign.
If you are familiar with Facebook or AdWords, this process will be effortless. If not, it may take some time before you find just the right ad spend for your Instagram campaigns. It’s a bit of a trial and error process.
However, you always have the option to stop or pause your campaign to change your allocated budget if you feel it isn’t working for you.
As I mentioned before, you can set a daily budget or a lifetime budget for an ad with set lifespan. With the latter option you can also choose to run your ad continuously over that period or only during certain hours of the day or even days of the week, say when your targeted audience is most likely to be active on Instagram.
Step Six: Create your Instagram Ad
Now it’s finally time to get creative and make your actual ad.
First, you will have to choose a Facebook page and Instagram account to connect the ad to. Next, you will select the type of format you would like to use. There are a few options for each objective or goal you chose earlier.
How to Advertise on Instagram: Ad Formats
Your choice of format can make all the difference. Let’s go through the available options.
1. Image Feed Ads
This is the most widely used format. It incorporates the use of a single image that appears in your audience’s feed. These are well-liked because they don’t feel like ads, rather than just a part of the feed.
2. Image Story Ads
Just like it sounds, these are ads that take place in Instagram stories instead of the feed. These are one image only.
3. Video Feed Ads
Do you have a video? Then you should use it to promote your brand. These ads involve a single video and are placed within the feed.
4. Video Story Ads
And just like above, these are single video ads that are placed in your story. These are perfect here as many users expect to see video in stories as opposed to feeds.
5. Carousel Feed Ads
These are ads found in a feed that use up to ten scrollable images. These are perfect for businesses in very visual industries like food, travel, or retail.
6. Canvas Story Ads
These are relatively new to Instagram ads but definitely worth your while if you want a more custom look. These ads allow you to take video, images, and carousel images and create a 360 view of them in a story. However, it’s important to note it is only available on mobile devices.
Once you have chosen your format, simply follow the instructions to add pictures, video, and/or text. And voila! You are done.
Examples of Successful Instagram Ads
1. Julie Solomon
Here, you see an example of a carousel feed ad.
Why does it work? It’s simple, classy, and has just the right touch of personality so that it’s relatable. You will notice that she has incorporated a “Learn More” CTA button as well.
What did we learn? Clean imaging and catchy text go a long way on Instagram. Also, make sure that all images you use in ads are on-brand. In this example, the image manages to catch a little of the quirk and playfulness associated with her brand.
So, think about it: what tone are you going for, and how can use images that represent it?
This is a single video feed ad from HP. It uses an interesting video that is relatable, a CTA button, and catchy text.
Why it works: Right off the bat, we’re curious. The line “Do your thing. Nobody’s watching,” is relatable enough that most viewers will want to know what, exactly, is being advertised here. The subtle insertion of the HP and Windows logos work well here too.
What did we learn? With video especially, your initial image or visual needs to be powerful. Even when using the video format, text can really aid in the overall intrigue of your ad. Go forth and use it wisely.
3. Pioneer Woman Mercantile
This is an example of a carousel story ad. It includes a series of videos and images, such as this one with eye-catching text.
Why it Works: For starters, it blends in.
Story ads can be particularly tricky to get right. Because of the skippable format, it’s easy to skip right through, and any ad runs the risk of disrupting the user experience as the leisurely look through their Stories.
This one works because it mimics the accepted Story format perfectly, with a big, bright image and the sticker-like text we’ve come to associate with Stories.
What did we learn? Act natural. Don’t be overly flashy or sales-y with your ads here. Instead, do your best to integrate your message in a conversational, casual way that won’t turn users off.
Wrapping Up How to Advertise on Instagram
Now that you better understand how to advertise on Instagram, it’s time to get out there and create some awe-inspiring ads for your brand. Remember, you have quite a few options, and some may work better for your brand than others.
The best thing to do is simply get in there and start experimenting. Chances are, your audience is already on Instagram. What better way to find them than through a little creative advertising?