The Ultimate Guide to Advertising on Instagram

— October 15, 2018

The Ultimate Guide to Advertising on Instagram

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The business world is a highly competitive space. And, as a business owner, you have to keep on thinking of new ways to put your business out there. And there’s no better way to do so than by using social media.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: why reinvent the wheel when my marketing strategies have been working just fine?

Although your present marketing strategies are effective right now, you need to stay ahead of your competition to remain successful in future. And, to be honest, you can’t expect to still remain on top if you don’t go where the customers are.

The truth is social media and particularly Instagram has taken the business world by storm. With about 500 million daily active users, you’ll agree that Instagram is one of the best social networks to advertise on. Therefore, your best bet to succeed in advertising is to share high-quality photos and stunning visuals on Instagram. Plus, about 80% of the people on Instagramare followers of one or more businesses so it’s much easier for you to get noticed, through user-generated content, interest-based ads, brand awareness, and an increased click-through rate.

But simply having a social media presence and posting photos isn’t enough!You need to take your advertising strategy a notch higher.

If you belong to the group of businesses that have yet to take advantage of Instagram and all it has to offer, you’ll be happy to know that it’s much easier than you might imagine. In this post, we are going to look at how best to advertise on Instagram to get the results you want and look into what Instagram advertising is all about.

Why Use Instagram?

Instagram is growing and its growing fast! And, while it doesn’t have as many users as Facebook, Instagram has been a flock with users both young and old and it looks like it’s only going to get bigger and better. In fact, according to a study done by the Pew Research Center, about 55% of people aged 18 to 29 years old use Instagram in the United States. However, other than just having a high number ofusers, there are a couple of other reasons why Instagram has become so popular among businesses. These include:

Targeted Advertising System

One of the reasons why Instagram advertising has become so successful is because it’s a targeted advertising approach. You get to choose a specific demographic of people that you want to sell your products to and even narrow down to niches. This way you get to control who sees your ads and make sure that the ads will be receptive to them.

Proven Success

You might think that Instagram is just another failed attempt at advertising but nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, if you are still a bit skeptical about going the Instagram way, the site offers a wide variety of brand case studies of brands that have used Instagram ads and succeeded.

High Engagement Rates

Instagram has the highest engagement rate ever. Higher than Facebook. Higher than Pinterest and definitely higher than Twitter. In fact, according to a survey done by Yotpo, Instagram traffic stays on the site 62% longer than Pinterest, 45% longer than Facebook and 40% longer than Twitter.Perhaps the best of all is that Instagram users not only stay on site much longer but they also purchase items at a much higher rate, which means that you have a higher chance of selling your products too.

A Sneak-peak into How Instagram Ads Work

As Facebook now owns Instagram, you have to go through the Facebook ad creation tool to create an Instagram ad.

Here’s how:

Simply visit the and go through the creation process. Then, once you’re done, select the send people to your website option. When you reach the selection related to the creative and format of the ad, you’ll have the option of deciding whether your ad should also be shown on your Instagram feed or not. So, here, if you only want your ad to appear on Instagram and nowhere else, you can untick all the other options. However, your Instagram has to be linked to your Facebook account for you to be able to post an ad.

Types of Instagram Ad Formats

Carousel Adverts

Carousel adverts are interactive ad formats that allow you to display several images and video cards within a single ad. They are a favorite among e-commerce advertisers because they allow you more room for your products and encourage more prospective customers to interact with your ad.

Photo Adverts

Photo ads are a big thing at the moment. They are easy to get up and running and they allow you to tell your story in your own way using beautifully crafted imagery.

Stories Adverts

Instagram stories are the newest form of advertising on Instagram. They are 24-hour, self-destructing photos and videos composed of either a single or a stream of photos and videos that are up to 15 seconds long. If you want to post time-sensitive information, Instagram stories are the best tool.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Advertising on Instagram:

Set your Goals

First things first. Why are you running this ad?

Developing a compelling and enticing ad isn’t necessarily easy and there’s certainly no guarantee that you’ll get things right the first time around. Because of this, it helps to have a goal. You can then measure the success of your ad against the set goals and determine whether the ad has been a success or a total flop. You’ll get the best results when you have clearly defined and attainable goals. Here are a few goals you can choose from:

  • Getting more profile visits
  • Generating more leads
  • Getting more website visits
  • Driving foot traffic to your location

Make Your Ad as Organic as Possible

If you want to have a successful ad, you need to make it as natural as possibly can be. No matter how much you are paying for the ad, you can’t go over the top with the features you add and neither can you use blurry images.

The Facebook 20% text rule also holds true on Instagram so you can’t be greedy and try to force your marketing message. So, assuming you have slightly more products and larger images, you can’t occupy more real estate than 20%. You have to comply or else your ads might get instantly rejected.

In addition, your ad should look like organic content with natural lighting and authentic imagery to fit naturally with other content in the customers feed. You might be tempted to add a few filters to make your ads flashy but a clean high-resolution detailed image is all Instagram needs for your ads to be a success. Better still, if your images target real-life situations that your audience is going through because then they relate to the message and will be more inclined to respond.

Lastly, follow the image composition rules laid out. For instance, there’s a third and symmetry rule that you need to comply with when taking photos and a couple of focal point rules too. Making your images busy will only confuse your audience so you want to keep off any complexities that might bore and confuse your audience.

Build Your Fan Base

Another surefire way of ensuring your ads are a success is by building a fan base. But for anyone to buy your products, you have to first find out what your audience is more inclined to. Their likes and dislikes. The best way to do this is by researching their profiles and popular hashtags, their images, content style, and type of descriptions that they use.

Pay attention to posts that have received most likes and comments and develop a sense of what works well in relation to the audience you are targeting. Pus you can also look at what other business profiles are doing not to copy their ideas but to use them as an inspiration to make your business even better.

Define Your Audience

As you know, ads work well because you have clustered your audience into one niche. The same applies to when you’re advertising on Instagram. You can do this by selecting factors like location, gender, age, interests, behaviors, demographics, languages, and connections. From there, you’ll be able to tell the kind of audiences that have the same preferences. Once you have clustered your audience, Facebook will then calculate things like:

  • The daily reach
  • Potential reach
  • How broad and specific your audience is
  • The criteria you should use to target your selections

Choose Your Ad Format

Instagram offers three types of ads: carousel ads, photo ads, and video ads.

  • Photo Ads – These are ads that tell your brand’s story with imagery.
  • Carousel Ads – Instead of using just one image, Carousel ads tell your story in a layer of multiple images to promote closely related products.
  • Video Ads – Video ads are quite popular and have seen a tremendous adoption on Instagram. They allow you to leverage up to 30 seconds of audio and video.

In all three of these ad formats, there’ll be a caption below the picture containing up to 300 characters of text.

Find Instagram Influencers Who Accept Sponsored Posts

You don’t have to shell out a large sum of money. All you have to do is reach out to influencers and ask them if they are interested in sharing content for you. That is, of course, in exchange for you sharing their content or at least shouting them put in a simple caption. You’ll find that most of them will be only too happy to help as long as they can mutually benefit from the arrangement. However, for this to work, both accounts have to have equal reach so that both sides benefit equally.

Wrapping It Up

While you might be new to the idea of advertising on Instagram, after reading this you should have an idea of how to get started.

It’s okay to have a bad break at first. That’s expected with every first attempt. But the more you get the gist of things, the more you’ll get the sense of what works and what doesn’t. Once you do, you can implement what works and discard what doesn’t work.

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Author: Dave Kosmayer

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