How to Advertise on Instagram – Part 5 of 6

Advertise on InstagramIn the previous article I covered the basics of business marketing on Instagram. In this post I’ll go into detail about paid Instagram ads. You don’t need to buy ads on Instagram. In fact, I would recommend that you don’t shell out any money until you know what you’re doing on the platform.

Instagram is a visual medium. If you’re used to marketing as talking, it can take a while to make the mental switch to showing people what’s so great about your products or services.
To get the most out of your ads, you also need a very clear idea of who your target customers are and what they want, need and like.

Getting started

Getting startedThe first thing you need to do is connect your Instagram account to your Facebook account, since the ads use Facebook’s advertising platform. (Facebook is their parent company.)

From your Facebook account, go to Facebook’s Business Manager. Then add your Instagram account by entering your Instagram user name and password.

Okay, you’re in. Let’s get started.

1. Choose your ad campaign objective

campaign objectiveFacebook allows you to choose what you want to accomplish with your ad campaign. Which of the following goals are you going for?

  • Brand awareness
  • Reach
  • Traffic (for clicks to your website or to the app store for your app)
  • App installs
  • Engagement (reach as many people as possible)
  • Video views
  • Conversions (for conversions on your website or app)

If you need help making a choice, you can check out Facebook’s helpful guide.

2. Who is your audience?

audienceAfter you’ve decided on your goal for this ad, choose your audience for it. Facebook gives you a lot of options.

The basics:

  • Location
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Language

Narrowing your focus:

  • Detailed targeting – Look at people’s demographics, interests and behaviour to see if they should be included in the target audience for your ad.
  • Connections – Add or exclude people based on their connections to your pages, apps or events.
  • Custom audiences – You can create tailored audiences of people you already know. Either give Facebook the data you’ve gathered on your customers or use Facebook’s information instead.

3. Pick your ad placements

ad placementsWhere do you want your ads to appear? You can run them on both Facebook and Instagram, or just choose Instagram.


4. Select the budget and schedule for your ads

As of 2017 the average cost of an Instagram ad was about US$0.70–$0.80 (AU$0.96–$1.10) per click. It can be worth it, even on a small budget, because Instagram ads have such a high engagement rate.

If you target your ads properly you can see a good return on your investment.

Facebook lets you choose a budget for every day, every month or for the full lifetime of the ad. You can choose how your budget will be spent depending on the demographics you want to target and what your goals are.

When scheduling your ads, think about whether you want to run them several times a day, every day or only once a week.

What times of the day would be best? Prices will vary depending on popularity – for instance, Sundays are the most expensive day to advertise.

Create your ad

adsYou have a choice of five different types of Instagram ads:

  • Photos
  • Videos
  • Carousels
  • Canvas Story ads
  • Story ads

They all come with call-to-action buttons you can select that allow viewers to interact with the ad. The calls to action will be different depending on the type of ad you’re creating.

Here are some examples:

  • Apply Now
  • Book Now
  • Call Now
  • Contact Us
  • Get Directions
  • Learn More
  • Get Showtimes
  • Download

Photo ads

Photo ads give you the chance to share your photos with a wider audience. If you’ve built up your brand style and image (try to make your photo style instantly recognizable and associated with your brand) and target your ad carefully, these types of ads can be an excellent investment.

Video ads

Video ads are popular on Instagram and getting more so all the time. Videos let you showcase your service or product in a dynamic way that people really respond to. They can be up to 60 seconds long, but you don’t need to spend that much time to reach people. Sometimes short and sweet is better.

Make sure to feature your brand name and logo near the beginning of the video so people know who you are. (How many ads have you seen on TV where you have no idea of the product being advertised?)

Carousel ads

A carousel ad features a series of images the user swipe through to get an all-around view of your product. You can also use them to display different products or promote a narrative.

Stories ads

Instagram Stories ads are short-term, full page ads that show up when users browse Stories from the people they follow. They expire after 24 hours, so they’re perfect for limited-time promotions and sales.

Canvas Stories ads

These types of ads use the Facebook Canvas feature to create mobile-optimised full-screen videos for Instagram Stories. They take the Stories ads and do them one better.

Your Instagram ad campaign must look good, but it should have content, too. Before you create your ad, spend some time thinking about what you want to say and who you want to say it to.

Once the ads are running, keep an eye on them to see how well they’re doing. Try different approaches and see what works best for you. Tweak the copy and hashtags to see if you can improve customer engagement and click-through rates.

You can try out different call-to-action buttons, too. For instance, are your customers more responsive to ‘Call now’ or ‘Learn more’? Do certain topics or types of images do especially well?

If you want to get the most out of your Instagram ad, don’t just set it and forget it. Be responsive to your customer base and keep it fresh. Don’t forget, Instagram is a social media platform. Don’t just use it to broadcast ads, interact with your customers as well.

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