Currently, Instagram advertising is a substantial and popular topic, drawing the interest of many people.
Instagram, with over 1 billion daily active users, stands as the leading social network for visual content. This presents digital marketers with an excellent opportunity to reach their target audience.
As we already approach the way we consume content differently – prioritizing #picturesFirst – we are on the brink of changing how we advertise our businesses.
I’ve outlined a quick step-by-step guide to advertising on Instagram. Whether you’ve already utilized Instagram influencers or are considering exploring a new marketing channel but don’t quite know where to begin, this guide can be helpful.
Table of Contents
Why Advertise on Instagram?
Instagram and eCommerce are both visually driven and designed for audiences with short attention spans, making them a natural fit. A high-quality product image is crucial for converting visitors into buyers. Repurposing these high-converting images and learning how to advertise on Instagram, especially on a photo-sharing platform, makes sense.
Furthermore, Instagram advertising gives you control over where and who sees your ads. Unlike paid partnerships, you have complete control. You only need to decide how much you want to spend on ads, where to redirect people who click on them, and who you want to reach.
Your business can benefit from Instagram ads in the following ways:
- A user-friendly platform
- Scalable pricing
- A robust reporting system for continuous improvement
Advertising on Instagram has the advantage of reaching thousands of engaged users without interfering with their browsing experience. Instagram ads closely resemble the posts users share on the platform. User interactions with native ads are 40% higher than those with display ads, according to the Mobile Marketing Association. This statistic is eye-opening for those considering investing in new advertising channels.
Cost of Advertising on Instagram
So, how much does it cost to place ads on Instagram? What is the click or conversion cost, and how does it affect my ROI (Return on Investment)?
The simple answer to the question is that the CPC (Cost Per Click) on Instagram is approximately $0.70 to $1.00. In more competitive industries, like apparel, the cost for ads can go as high as $3.00 per click. There are ways to keep your costs low.
However, it’s not that simple. Different demographics garner higher CPC rates. The age groups of 18-24 and 35-44 are the most valuable when it comes to marketing on Instagram.
Additionally, the ad costs for brands on Facebook are higher when brands target women. On Instagram, the male presence is not as strong as females, so you won’t see as many clicks from men.
However, on ROI (rate of return) ads on Instagram have the highest rate of engagement of all the digital ad positionings. What this means is that sometimes you pay a bit more for the click or 1,000 impressions and still be a winner.
Research has shown that users who are on Instagram are inclined to spend $65 per sale, while users on Facebook spend $55 and only $46 is spent on Twitter.
In addition, posts on Instagram have a conversion rate of 1.08% second to Facebook’s conversion rate of 1.85%. However, Instagram exceeds Twitter where the conversion rate is 0.77%, and Pinterest at 0.54%.
Types of Instagram Ads
Here are some types of Instagram ads you can use for your campaigns:
- Video ads
- Image ads
- Carousel ads
- Stories ads
- Collection ads
- Explore Ads
- Reels ads
1. Video ads
Instagram video ads are a fantastic way to display your product or service in an interesting and attention-grabbing manner. You can use video ads to show how your products work, spotlight special features, or share your brand story.
On Instagram, videos can be up to 60 seconds long and can be in either square or landscape format. With this increased time limit compared to the previous 15-second restriction, you have more space to promote your business effectively.
Source: Instagram (@the_oodie)
2. Image ads
The image ad consists of a single image in square or landscape format. As far as visual assets go, these are the simplest to create because all you need is one image.
Image ads work well for campaigns with eye-catching visuals that can be communicated through a single image. These images can be crafted from top-notch photography or creative design and illustration.
Source: Instagram (@thursdays)
3. Carousel ads
Instagram carousel ads display a sequence of images or videos that users can swipe through. These ads can appear in both the feed and Instagram Stories, featuring a call-to-action button or swipe-up link that takes users directly to your website.
Carousel ads are great for:
- Displaying a collection of related products
- Narrating a multi-part story
- Sharing up to 10 images or videos
Source: Instagram (@bashparis)
4. Stories ads
Instagram Story Ads are full-screen image or video ads appearing between users’ Stories.
With over 500 million users viewing Stories daily, Instagram Stories are widely used. Stories ads often have higher engagement since the format covers the mobile screen, providing a more immersive experience compared to in-feed ads.
The most effective Instagram Stories ads seamlessly blend in, resembling normal Stories without standing out as ads. Businesses can utilize all organic Instagram Stories features, including filters, text, GIFs, and interactive stickers when designing Stories ads.
Source: Instagram (@campbellscanada)
5. Collection ads
A collection ad looks like a video in the user’s feed but is made up of still images playing like a slideshow. You can enhance it with audio and text.
These ads combine features from carousel and shopping ads, highlighting products from your catalog. They work well for ecommerce brands, enabling users to buy products directly from the ad. Clicking on the ad takes users to an Instagram Instant Experience Storefront where they can explore the product and make a purchase.
Source: Instagram (@flattered)
6. Explore Ads
Instagram’s Explore Ads pop up as you browse content in the Explore section. Right now, they won’t show directly in Explore but appear after someone clicks on a photo or video.
Since Explore content is always changing, these ads let businesses appear alongside current and trending content.
Explore ads can be either images or videos.
Source: Instagram (@halara_official)
7. Reel ads
Instagram recently introduced advertising in Reels, following the successful launch of the feature.
These ads appear between Reels and share similar specifications with Stories ads, featuring full-screen vertical videos up to 60 seconds. Including sound or music is recommended for seamless integration with organic Reels. Sponsored marks will be displayed under the account name for all Instagram Reels ads.
It’s worth noting that Reels ads will loop continuously unless manually stopped. Users can also engage with your Reels ads by liking, sharing, commenting, and saving them.
Source: Instagram (@redbull)
Instagram Ad Campaign Objective
On the surface, choosing your ad campaign objective is simple: select a goal based on the action you want people to take when they see your ad on Instagram.
For example, if you are looking to generate some hot leads from your ads, you can implement a campaign objective that encourages people to complete a lead form.
There are three main categories (goals) that your campaign objectives will fall under:
Awareness: This is a top-of-the-funnel objective, ideal for targeting people who are unaware or problem-aware. It’s used to generate interest in your product or service, helping people become more aware of your solutions.
Consideration: If you want people to think about your business and seek more information, this middle-of-the-funnel objective is perfect. It targets people who are problem- or solution-aware, aiming to prompt them to take action.
Conversions: This bottom-of-the-funnel objective is for targeting people who are solution-aware and encouraging them to make a purchase. If your goal is to drive sales, this is the objective to choose.
Depending on your goal, you might choose an ad objective from one of the categories:
The impression-based objectives aim to make your ad reach as many people in your target audience as possible, all while sticking to your budget. However, it’s important to note that with these objectives, you might not get a lot of clicks or engagement. They primarily focus on the top stage of the funnel.
Instagram currently offers two Awareness objectives:
Brand Awareness: Boost awareness of your business among people.
Reach: Display your ad to as many people as possible.
You can get people to learn more about your business by using these six low-intent, middle-of-the-funnel campaign objectives.
Instagram currently provide the following Consideration objectives:
Traffic: This objective aims to get more people to visit your website without expecting further actions. It targets users likely to click the link in your ad, although they might not necessarily complete a conversion or make a purchase.
Engagement: Engagement campaigns focus on showing your ads to users predicted to interact with your content. These are people likely to Like, Comment, and Share your ad, potentially generating additional organic reach.
App Installs: The goal here is simple – Instagram will display your ad to those most likely to download your mobile app.
Video Views: This objective is designed to maximize views on your video within your target audience. If you’re aiming for views without expecting additional actions, this objective could be suitable.
Lead Generation: Lead Generation Campaigns allow you to collect leads within the Instagram platform, reducing friction by not redirecting users off-platform to convert them into a lead.
Messages: The Messages campaign encourages users to engage with your business on Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram Direct by initiating a conversation.
Instagram’s Conversion objectives, including Conversions, Catalog Sales, and Store Traffic, concentrate on high-intent actions, aiming to guide your target audience towards making a purchase or visiting your store in-person.
Instagram currently provides three Conversion objectives:
Conversions: The aim is to have people take specific actions on your website, such as completing a form or adding an item to their cart. Conversion campaigns allow you to optimize your ads for actions users would take on your website.
Catalog Sales: Designed for eCommerce stores, Catalog Sales campaigns push dynamic ads for the entire product line. Instead of just promoting one product, Instagram can display relevant products from your entire catalog to people who have shown previous interest. These ads can be set up through a feed plugin on platforms like WooCommerce or Shopify or manually uploaded to Facebook.
Store Traffic: The Store Traffic campaign targets potential customers near your physical locations. It’s suitable for businesses with multiple locations aiming to increase in-person traffic. To run this campaign effectively, enter all your physical locations and hours of operation in the Meta Business Manager. On the user side, Location Services must be enabled for Instagram.
How to Create Instagram Ads with Ads Manager
- Connect your Instagram business profile to your Facebook page
- Set up an Instagram ad campaign
- Choose your campaign objective
- Decide on your ad budget and schedule
- Pick your target audience
- Design your ads and make an Instagram ad set
- Choose where you want your Instagram ads to appear
- Review and improve your Instagram ads
Ready to begin? Follow these steps to run ads on Instagram.
Step 1: Connect your Instagram business profile to your Facebook page
If you have both an Instagram profile and a Facebook page but they’re not linked, let’s sort that out!
First, make sure you’re an admin of the Facebook page you want to connect. If you haven’t already, switch to an Instagram business account.
Now, follow these steps:
Log in to Facebook and click on “Pages” in the left menu.
Choose your Facebook page, then click on “Settings.”
Click on “Linked Accounts” in the left column.
Select “Instagram” and connect your account.
Log in to Instagram and go to your profile.
Tap on “Edit Profile.”
Under “Public Business/Profile Information,” select “Page.”
Pick the Facebook page you want to connect to. If you don’t have one, tap “Create a new Facebook page.”
Step 2: Set up an Instagram ad campaign
Once you’ve connected your Instagram account to your Facebook page, let’s move on to the Ads Manager and set up your first campaign. If you’ve made Facebook ads before, this will feel quite familiar.
Here’s what you do:
Open the Ads Manager.
Click on the “Campaigns” tab.
Hit the “+ Create” button at the top left corner of the screen.
Step 3: Choose your campaign objective
Now, let’s pick your campaign objective. Keep in mind that only brand awareness, reach, video views, conversions, app installs, lead generation, and traffic objectives work with Instagram Story ads.
Let’s say you go with the Conversion objective. On the Ad Set page, you can select “Purchase” as the type of conversion you want to optimize for, listed under the Conversion Event breakdown.
If you want, you can also include an offer. This can boost conversions for your ad even further.
Step 4: Decide on your ad budget and schedule
Decide how much you want to invest in your ads and when you want them to be active. At this point, you can choose between a daily budget or a lifetime budget for the entire campaign.
When figuring out your budget for advertising on Instagram, start with a modest amount. You can always increase the daily or lifetime budget later if your ad is performing well.
The easiest way to assess your budget is by creating a draft campaign in the Instagram Ad Manager. Check the Audience Definition and Estimated Daily Results sections to see if your budget settings will effectively reach your desired audience within your preferred campaign duration.
Step 5: Pick your target audience
Now, let’s figure out who you want your ads to reach. You have the same targeting options for both Instagram and Facebook ads.
Your Instagram target audience is the specific group of people you aim to connect with through your Instagram marketing. This group shares common characteristics that link them and make them relevant to your brand, whether it’s demographics, interests, or values.
If you’ve already set up Custom Audiences, you can choose them to target with your Instagram ad right here.
Step 6: Design your ads and make an Instagram ad set
Before launching your ads, it’s time to make them visually captivating. The design will vary based on the ad type – for instance, you’ll need multiple images for a carousel ad compared to a photo ad.
You can either design the ads yourself or opt for “Dynamic creative” if you prefer the ads manager to take the creative reins. If you choose the latter, upload different ad elements like images, CTAs, and ad copy, and let the ads manager test various designs.
Your ads need compelling copy and a destination URL for those who click on them. While Instagram allows longer ad copies, most people prefer quick updates. Keep your ad text under 200 characters, if possible.
Once your visuals and copy are good to go, navigate to the menu on the left and create a New Ad Set.
Step 7: Select your Instagram ad placements
Now, let’s choose your ad placements. You’ll have the choice to run your campaign on Facebook, Instagram, Audience Network, and Messenger. Keep it simple—uncheck everything except Instagram.
Once you’ve nailed down your optimization preferences, budget, target audience, and chosen placements, click on “New Ad” on the left or “Next” at the bottom right (for your first campaign).
On the following screen, you’ll get to choose your Instagram ad format. After selecting one, scroll down to upload your images or videos. Further down, on the left, add text and a call to action (CTA) to your ad.
To the right of the text editor, you can preview how your ad will look on Instagram. When everything looks splendid, hit “Publish” at the bottom right. If not, go back and make any necessary tweaks.
Step 8: Review and improve your Instagram ads
Your job doesn’t end once you’ve launched your first Instagram ad campaign. Once it’s live, keep an eye on how it’s doing and try out different ideas to discover what resonates best in terms of messaging, creativity, and targeting.
To gauge the effectiveness of your Instagram ads, rely on analytics. Instagram’s own reporting tool provides insights into crucial metrics like impressions, clicks, engagement rate, and ROI.
In Ads Manager, you have the flexibility to tweak your Instagram ad. Experiment with split testing, adjust targeting parameters, and delve into analytics to understand how well your ads are performing.
Launching the first Instagram ad might be a bit challenging, but once you’ve got the hang of it, the second time will be a easy!
4 Instagram Ad and Selling Tips
Now that you know how to set up and launch Instagram ads, it’s time to explore some tips on pitching your offers to targeted customers.
1. Use precise targeting to increase ROI
Instagram ads offer a range of targeting options similar to Facebook ads. You can narrow down your audience based on factors like location, demographics, interests, behavior, and even leverage lookalike audiences. An additional perk is automated targeting, where you let Facebook make the decisions for you.
What’s even more powerful is the ability to target custom audiences on Instagram. Custom audiences are composed of individuals who have already interacted with your brand, whether by visiting your website, engaging with your Facebook posts, using your app, or sharing their contact information with you.
This targeted approach ensures your ads reach the right people and maximize the ROI of your campaign.
2. Design mobile-friendly ads
With over 4.08 billion users accessing social media through mobile devices, it’s crucial to tailor your creative content for mobile viewing rather than desktop. Follow these tips for designing effective mobile-first ads:
Optimal Video Orientation: When shooting video content, use a vertical (9×16) format. Vertical videos are easier to crop to 4×5 than landscape ones.
Text Minimization: Reduce the amount of text in your ads. Mobile screens are limited in size, so concise messaging is key.
Readable Fonts: If text is necessary, opt for large font sizes that are easy to read on mobile screens. Enhance readability for a better user experience.
Dynamic Elements: Incorporate animations and motion graphics into your videos. These elements help grab viewers’ attention quickly, increasing engagement.
Short and Sweet: Keep videos short and concise, ideally 15 seconds or less. Mobile users often prefer brief content that delivers the message efficiently
3. Try different ad formats
With the plethora of Instagram ad types available, it’s worthwhile to experiment and discover the perfect blend of visuals and messaging that truly connects with your target audience. If your audience engages more with Story ads rather than regular image ads, allocate more budget to Story ads for more cost-effective results.
You can also diversify your ad formats by incorporating video ads, Story ads, carousel posts, collections, shoppable posts, and more into your advertising strategy.
Don’t hesitate to inject creativity into your creatives! Explore meme ads, craft custom illustrations, or use GIFs to convey your message. While your Instagram ads should align with your brand’s overall aesthetic, there’s room to shake things up and maintain audience engagement.
4. Test Instagram ads prior to scaling
If you want to optimise your ad budget, you should handle testing and scaling separately. Start by testing your Instagram ads to find out the most effective combination of audience segments, ad placements, and creatives. Once you’ve identified a winning formula, you can then move on to scale your efforts.
While Ads Manager allows for up to 50 ads per ad set, reaching the upper limit won’t produce the best results. Instead, plan to test a smaller number of ads (ideally three to five) per ad set. This way, Meta can deliver and test your creatives without depleting your budget before obtaining conclusive results.
Moreover, you should consider setting budgets on a per ad set basis rather than per campaign. With Advantage Campaign Budget, Meta may not distribute spend evenly. As a result, some ad sets with smaller target audiences might receive less budget and remain in the learning phase for a longer duration.
5 Examples of Instagram Ads
Even though this McDonald’s image ad doesn’t display their name or logo in the image, it’s still easy to recognize. It’s a clever example of creating straightforward and captivating content. The ad was released to mark the first day of summer, aiming to keep the brand in consumers’ minds.
Eubi creates durable and enjoyable menswear. Their video ad is impressive, featuring a side-by-side comparison of their static product shot and its real-life appearance. This provides valuable information for potential customers.
Unlike typical clothing ads on Instagram, this ad stands out, making people more inclined to pause, take notice, and explore.
A carousel ad is a fantastic way to display various products in one post. ARKK Copenhagen has used this ad format to showcase their shoes in action. It is then followed by slides featuring all their different styles. This highlights the experiential aspect of the product, providing potential clients with a comprehensive look at the brand.
Instagram Story ads offer a great feature – the ability to make them interactive using poll stickers. This not only boosts audience engagement but also adds a touch of authenticity.
Yoga International experienced success with a campaign of Instagram Story ads. Surprisingly, 18% of their sign-ups during the campaign originated from just one poll.
Klairs, a beauty brand, achieved remarkable success with their Instagram campaign using influencer-generated content. They collaborated with a beauty creator, elevating their posts as Branded Content Ads.
This allowed consumers to directly purchase beauty products from their home feed, leading to a 1.8x increase in the brand’s return on ad spend.
Instagram ads can be a powerful tool for marketers and business owners. The Ads Manager simplifies the process of creating ads that align with your brand style. It allows you to identify and reach your target audience within the Instagram app. You also have the flexibility to set your daily budget and manage ad spending, providing control and avoiding unexpected costs.
If you’re looking to boost your sales, why not start a small ad campaign for your business? Before investing a significant amount of money, make sure to familiarize yourself with advertising on this social network and refine your skills. You’ll soon observe the impact that Instagram marketing can have on discovering relevant, targeted customers and improving your brand image.