Digital Marketing Guides

Your No Frills Guide to Advertising on Instagram

Person using Instagram on smartphone and laptop

If you’ve set up an Instagram profile for your small business, you might be looking for ways to gain traction on this social network. One of the best ways to do this is by advertising on Instagram.

Instagram advertising has been available to businesses of all sizes since 2015. Within the self-serve ad platform, you have complete control over the design, call to action (or objective), and audience. Similar to Facebook advertisements, Instagram ads can target people based on location and other specific demographics.

According to Instagram advertiser stats, 75 percent of Instagram users take a specific action (such as opening a website) after seeing an Instagram ad. That’s a staggering response to a social media ad! Advertising on Instagram may be a sound investment of your small business’s time and energy.

Instagram ad formats, objectives, and targeting

Before you get started, it’s important to know the Instagram advertising basics. Instagram offers four different ad formats to advertisers:

  • Video ads: Videos can be shot in square or landscape mode. The maximum length allowed for videos is 60 seconds.
  • Photo ads: Photos can be shot in square or landscape mode. Avoid photos with a lot of text and use high-quality images when advertising on Instagram.
  • Stories ads: Ads will display on Instagram Stories in the form of promoted videos or images.
  • Carousel ads: Multiple images (4-6) in a single Instagram ad. People can navigate through them by swiping left and right.

Apart from ad format, Instagram allows you to pick a campaign objective. The objective determines the ad’s price and how it is optimized. For instance, if your aim is to get traffic to your website, Instagram optimizes your ad to get more clicks rather than views. Examples of objectives include brand awareness, video views, website clicks, mobile app installs, and reach.

Advertisers also get targeting options, which are similar to those provided by Facebook ads. You can reach people based on interests, demographics, lookalike audiences, behaviors, location, and automated targeting. Moreover, you can define the campaign budget and schedule, and preview ads before making them live on Instagram.

Setting up your first ad on Instagram

Let’s look at the exact steps you need to take when you’re advertising on Instagram for the first time.

1. Add your Instagram account to your Facebook Page

The first step is to connect your Instagram profile to your Facebook Page. This can be done by going to your Facebook Page’s Settings and clicking “Instagram Ads.”

Next, select “Add an existing account” and enter your Instagram account credentials. If you don’t have an Instagram account, you can create an account during this step. Once done, select “Confirm.”

2. Create your first campaign

Go to the “Ads Manager” in Facebook to set up your campaign. If you’ve worked with Facebook ads before, the process will feel familiar. Click “Create Ad” in the Ads Manager (it’s near the top right corner of the screen) to proceed. You’ll then be asked to choose your campaign objective.

Note that Instagram ads don’t support all objectives. However, the “traffic” objective is ideal for small businesses that want to bring Instagram users to their website. You’ll pay for clicks instead of reach when advertising on Instagram with this objective.

3. Build your ad set

From the “Ad Set” page, you can define your target audience based on demographics, interests, behaviors, location, and more.

Next, choose “Placements.” By default, the campaign is set up to run your ads on Instagram, as well as on Facebook and Audience Network (another advertising platform within Facebook). Uncheck all options except for Instagram.

You’ll then be asked to define the campaign budget.

Start low if you’re advertising for the first time. Later, you can increase the budget for ads that perform well.

4. Choose your ad format

The next page will ask you to select a format for your ad. You can choose from Carousel, Single Image, Single Video, and Slideshow ad formats, and then you’re ready to upload your content (image or video).

After your content is uploaded, enter the text you want to use as the caption for your Instagram ad inside the box.

Lastly, preview your ad and make changes (if necessary) before placing your order. Then you’re ready to go!

If you’re interested in advertising on Instagram, now is the ideal time to get started. It’s still a new concept in the small business world (only 20% of businesses pay to place ads on Instagram), so getting comfortable with Instagram advertising now can give you a long-term competitive advantage. Create a test ad, see how many people engage with it, and whether the results are better than those of Facebook ads. Instagram ads are about trial and error, so learn from your various campaigns and tailor your future ads based on what worked best.

Interested in more ways to amp up your social marketing? Head over to the social media marketing section of the blog for expert tips and advice.

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