Instagram Advertising

Businesses love Instagram, why? Instagram, the photo and video-sharing social network, is simple, easy to use, and most importantly, fun for the user. How does this tie back into the business and their happiness? Because ultimately, money & ROI is what matters at the end of the day. As of 2019, Instagram has 1 billion monthly active users, 80% of which follow a business on Instagram. Tie that along with the 500+ million that use the Instagram story feature every day, Instagram offers a unique way for its users to connect to their friends, celebrities, influencers, sports teams, business, and more.

Not only are there 1 billion people using the social media platform a month, but the engagement numbers for Instagram are higher than its counterparts, Facebook and Twitter. With such high engagement rates, brands and advertisers have been drawn to utilize the platform for placing an advertising campaign. With Instagram, IG ads are a method of paying to post sponsored content on the platform to reach a targeted audience that may or may not be following your brand. These campaigns are most often utilized to grow brand exposure, website traffic, generate new leads, and move current leads down the funnel to hopefully convert to a purchase. However, Instagram is still a relatively new platform, compared to the other major social media platforms, with new updates rolling out often. Social Media Explorer, a community of industry professionals sharing and teaching resources on marketing and advertising, have identified 4 key points as to why you should utilize IG ads (summarized):

  1. Instagram is an Ever-Expanding Platform: Because there are people who create new accounts on Instagram literally every day, you can expect to reach a broad spectrum of customers. With 1 billion monthly users, there is an audience to reach out there, for each brand. It is important that you carefully target your specific audience in order to capitalize on each ad you launch. By making sure the ads are seen by people who are interested, you will ultimately see the greatest outcome. That’s where the Facebook algorithm comes in. Let the data do the work and use what’s collected to best launch your Instagram Ads.
  2. Facebook owns Instagram: Facebook bought Instagram in 2013 and then began offering limited ad services shortly after. In 2015 all brands and businesses could launch advertising of their choice. Facebook is known for having one of the most advanced social media advertising platforms. You can advertise to people by age, interests, behavior, and location on Facebook, which means you can now do the same on Instagram, as well as retarget.
  3. Increase Your Engagement: Statista projects Instagram to finish 2019 with a revenue of 14 billion.  This goes to show that ads are generating income and lots of traffic. Instagram is a visually stimulating platform that allows you to target your content directly to your audience. You can do this with so many different formats on Instagram, and even allow customers to purchase directly by clicking on the image in the post. Instagram is constantly adding new features like this to keep your viewers directly engaged.
  4. Great Formatting: While Instagram can be viewed on a desktop, its intended to be viewed as a mobile app. Instagram also offers several formats to choose from when launching an ad. This not only lets you convey your message clearly; it also declutters your page and increases aesthetic. You can also create clickable items within your posts so that customers can buy them directly. Instagram is very user friendly and therefore a highly engaging platform to use when advertising.

To utilize these ads properly, you need to know the various options that Instagram offers your brand/advertisers. The five options to choose from are stories ads, photo ads, video ads. Carousel ads, and last is the collection ads. Each of these ad formats will appear on the targeted users feed timeline or IG story, which will come across as organic and not disruptive. To best utilize these ad formats, Instagram offers various “call-to-actions” to go with your ads to help you gain for engagement and leads. Each of these ad formats, and their corresponding “call-to-actions” (CTA) have various features that can could help your brand:

  1. Stories Ads: A full screen ad that appears in the users’ Stories section. With Stories ads, you can target your audience and choose how often they see your ad. Stories expire after 24 hours, they’re the ideal format for sharing limited time offers and promotions. CTA = apply now, book now, contact us, call now (video only), download
  2. Photo Ads: These are the simplest of the adds to chose from. Photo ads allow your brand to showcase products and services through single images. CTA = apply now, book now, call now, contact us, get directions, learn more, get showtimes, download
  3. Video Ads: Time spent watching video on IG has increased more that 80% since 2017. You’re able to get the same quality as photo ads with the added power of sight, sound and motion. With recent updates you can share videos up to 60 seconds long in landscape or square format. CTA = apply now, book now, call now, contact us, download
  4. Carousel Ads: These ads let users swipe through a series of images or videos (like a carousel) with a call-to-action button to connect them directly to your website. Carousel ads let you highlight multiple products, share a story in pieces, or give a broad idea of a single service/product in 10 images or videos
  5. Collection Ads: Introduced in early-2018, Instagram Collection ads are a relatively new addition. When users see an ad from your brand, they’ll have the option to purchase products directly from the ad. CTA = learn more, purchase

Following your choice of the appropriate ad type for your campaign, there are two CRUCIAL steps you cannot take lightly, the campaign objectives and identifying your audience (targeting), and Facebook Ads Manager platform is one of the best in the industry. If either of these two steps are utilized incorrectly, it won’t matter how great your content is. For objectives, Instagram ads offer the following objectives to choose from:

  • Brand awareness. Puts your ad in front of customers who aren’t following you.
  • Reach. Shows your ad to as many people as possible.
  • Traffic. Clicks to your website or to the app store for your app.
  • App installs. Get the users to download your app when they see the ad.
  • Engagement. Increases the amount of comments, likes, shares, event responses, and offer claims you receive.
  • Video views. Increases the amount of views a video receives.
  • Lead generation. Allows you to gather lead data from users who click on the ad.
  • Messages. Get users to send a message to your brand.
  • Conversions. For sales and sign-up conversions on your website or app.
  • Catalog sales. Users see ads for products on your Facebook catalog.
  • Store visits. Helps direct users to brick-and-mortar stores you own.

Next is the targeting, and Facebook Ads Manager offers a large set of targeting options that are more in-depth than demographic information like age, gender, and location. You can also choose to narrow your audience, if they have taken the following actions towards your brand/product: engaged with any of the content, visited your brands website, followed a specific Facebook group or page, downloaded your app, watched any of your videos, or subscribed to your newsletter.

Instagram Ads are easy to use and have been proven to be successful, but they’re only successful when utilized correctly and for the right price. The average CPM for an Instagram Ad is around $6.70, but this is trending to go down as more companies utilize Instagram Ads into their advertising plans. Along with the price and objectives and targeting, you cannot forget about the content.

Your ad can reach exactly who you want, but you need appealing content to the user because the ads will be intertwined in the IG feed, you want your ad to look as real and appealing as possible. An ad that just promotes and has a simple call to action as “BUY THIS NOW” is going to come across to blunt and not organic to the rest of the content the user is seeing.

Two effective ways of advertising in addition to your ad campaign are using user generated content, and influencer marketing. These types of advertising will only help make your ad come across as more natural and not as salesy, which the users try to steer away from. Instagram Ads should be utilized in your brands future campaigns, but make sure you utilize them correctly.