Instagram, once a simple photo-sharing platform that made everyone a photographer, has recently become a full-blown advertising platform with a position as one of the most valuable social channels on the web. Boasting just over 600 million monthly active users, Instagram is quickly blowing up into a convenient all-in-one platform that’s perfect for small businesses and startups.
One of the newest additions to this unique channel is social ads. Introduced via a self-service platform in 2015, Instagram advertising offers paid placements for all its users. And, if you’re like most brands, this is something well worth paying attention to.
5 Things to Know About Instagram Advertising
Instagram advertising is a bit different than the placements offered on platforms like Facebook. Here’s what you need to know about Instagram ads:
Instagram Offers Multiple Ad Formats
On Instagram, you can advertise via video, image, or carousel. If you select the video option, you’ll have 30 seconds to deliver your ad. Image ads allow image-dense brands to showcase a product or service and issue a CTA. Carousel ads allow advertisers to use multiple images to get their point across.
Instagram Ads Offer A Direct CTA Button
If you’ve advertised on social media before, you know that driving engagement is often the most difficult part. Luckily, Instagram resolves this by embedding Call To Action (CTA) buttons within the offers. CTA buttons are compatible with all three social media advertising formats and can help brands make the most of their Instagram placements.
Instagram Changed Its Algorithm To Favor Engagement
Once upon a time, Instagram’s algorithm displayed content on a chronological basis: newest first. Now, it has shifted to support engagement, which plays a significant role in how your ad displays to users. This means ads with higher engagement rates will rank better than low-engagement rate ads.
Instagram Allows Facebook-Level Targeting
If you’ve ever run ads on Facebook, you know its targeting options are highly accurate. Expect the same with Instagram. Today, you can target your Instagram ads according to gender, location, and age.
Instagram Ads Aren’t Only For Visual Brands
Even if your brand isn’t highly visual, Instagram ads may be right for you. In addition to the fact that Instagram drives more engagement than many other platforms, it’s also an excellent way to earn new traffic and expand your brand’s reach.
10 Steps to Using Instagram Ads
Instagram ads can be a virtual gold mine for almost any company or industry. Here’s how to use Instagram ads to your benefit:
Enable Facebook’s Business Manager On Your Page
Facebook owns Instagram, so you start the Instagram advertising process there. First, what you’ll want to do is connect your Facebook page to the Facebook Business Manager. This will allow you to manage your Instagram ads from the Facebook platform.
Social Media Examiner has an in-depth discussion about how to connect your Facebook page to Business Manager if you haven’t already. Once you’ve connected your Facebook page, you’ll also want to connect your Facebook ads account and add your Instagram account to the Business Manager dashboard, since this will allow you to manage your campaign.
Decide What You Want Your Ads To Do
You should never start an advertising campaign without understanding what you want your ads to do, and this is as true of Instagram as it is anywhere else. With this in mind, define an objective for your Instagram ads.
For example, you can use them to drive traffic to your site, boost your conversions, or encourage views on your videos. No matter what you chose to do, ensure that you’re defining an objective before you set out to advertise on the platform. Doing this will make all your advertising efforts more efficient.
Define Your Audience
Today, Instagram’s targeting capabilities are top-notch, and it’s easy to identify your audience very specifically. To make your ad go further, choose your audience according to location, age, gender, language, education, work, interests, behaviors, connections, and more. The more specific you can get with your audience, the more likely it is your ad will reach its intended target.
“Place” Your Ad
The next step is critical for good Instagram advertising. While your Business Manager dashboard will give you the option of placing your ad on your mobile news feed, desktop news feed, and right-hand desktop column, you’ll want only to select the box for Instagram. This will keep your ad targeted and focused; additionally, it will prevent your advertising budget from crossing into other display methods.
Define Your Budget
Setting your advertising budget helps you stay in-line with your marketing goals and prevent big billing surprises down the road. Instagram offers two primary budgeting options:
- Daily Budget. The daily budget allows you to run your ad continuously every day and paces your spending accordingly. Most people place ads at a daily budget of about $1.00, although that choice is up to you.
- Lifetime Budget. A lifetime budget goes hand-in-hand with an ad that’s set up to run for a predetermined period. The lifetime budget will be used throughout the duration of that campaign and will be paced accordingly.
Keep in mind that when you set your budget, you should also set a start and an end date for your Instagram campaign.
Design Your Ad
Next comes the fun part: creating your ad. When you use Instagram advertising, you’ll have the option of choosing between an image, video, or carousel ad. Bear in mind that each of these ad types can be very effective, so it depends only on your brand’s priority and focus. Once you’ve chosen an ad type, you’ll want to upload your media, add text captions, and add your website URL.
Select a CTA
One of the most unique features of Instagram ads is your CTA. After you’ve designed your ad, you’ll get to set the CTA you want it to display. Commonly, this CTA is something like “learn more,” “apply now,” “contact us,” or “sign up,” although Instagram offers many more options to choose from. Select the one that’s right for your brand and offer and apply it to your ad.
Activate the Ad
Once you’ve designed your ad, set a CTA, and selected your media, you’ll need to enable the ad. Be sure to double check your information before it goes live since even simple mistakes or misspelling can cost you conversions.
Check Your Ad’s Performance
As your ad starts running, check in frequently to figure out how well it’s performing. These results will be available in your Facebook Ad Messenger Dashboard, as well as in your marketing software if you’ve integrated it with your Instagram ads. While the metrics you choose to measure are up to you, you’ll have access to information regarding the ad’s performance, engagement, and clicks.
Alter the Ad As Needed
As your ad continues to run, change pieces of it as needed. This helps your ad stay relevant and ensures good performance down the road. Remember that if you’re going to change your ad, you only want to change one large thing at a time. This allows you to test the outcome of every change and know what’s working and what’s not.
Instagram Advertising Made Simple
If you’re interested in using Instagram Advertising, chances are the move would be a smart one. In addition to drawing more engagement than other social media platforms, Instagram also offers a unique opportunity for marketers to include CTAs with their ads and to target each offer to a very specific audience.
For help managing your Instagram advertising, or for more information about why placing ads on the platform is a good idea, contact Thrive Internet Marketing today.