Over 500 million users are active on Instagram every day, making it the ideal platform for businesses to showcase and promote their services and products. Instagram itself encourages businesses to redefine their strategies and use their business profiles to connect better to their customers and now more than 25 million companies from all over the world are devouring its services.
The advantages of having a business profile on Instagram is that you automatically get free access to daily insights of your profile like the number of profile visits when your audience is most active, most popular content, a number of website clicks, and follower demographics including factors like gender, age, and location.
However, these features don’t necessarily help you drive engagement or build an audience. Hence, Instagram offers paid promotions of your content through “Instagram Advertisements” which share your content to target audiences who are likely to engage with your content and be prospective customers.
What is Instagram advertising?
Instagram ads are used by local as well as global businesses to promote their content through posts or stories directly to the feeds of their target audiences. These posts are distinctively marked and identified by a “Sponsored” label and often include a call-to-action button like “call now”, “install now”, “book now” and many more.
Ever since Facebook acquired Instagram, all its advertising is managed inside of Facebook’s Ads Manager, giving advertisers an abundance of expertise in the advertising field and the possibility to promote their content on both platforms. What is great about this is that it is rather affordable, with a price of $0.80 to $1.30 CPC.
You can also customize your plan according to your budget. Although the cost of placing these ads might waver according to factors like targeting, ad placement. ad format and the time of year. Instagram is moreover a visual platform and hence it has an image or video-based advertisements that can grow your brand exposure, build a greater audience, drive engagements, and overall necessitate the growth of the brand.
6 different formats of Instagram Ads:
Instagram takes advertising and promoting rather seriously and offers 6 various kinds of advertisements that cater to different business goals and have a list of different call-to-action options. There was a talk about having IGTV ads as well, but they haven’t released that feature yet.
Here is a list of all six of them and their respective features:
Over 500 million users view Stories every day on Instagram, hence marketers find promoting products Instagram Story a rather promising endeavor that has the potential of reaching a much larger audience than expected. These are full-screen ads, both in the form of photos and videos that appear between users’ Stories.
Globally renowned businesses like Swiggy, KFC, Gatorade, The Bride Story, and many more use Instagram stories to promote their content. The fun thing about using Stories for promotion is that you can use all the various features offered in the story section like multiple face filters, video effects like boomerang or superzoom, and GIFs in texts to create fun and yet effective promotions. The call-to-action like “install now” or “apply now” is in the form of a “swipe-up” feature at the bottom of the Story.
Photo ads appear on the target audience’s feed as an ordinary, beautiful, and simple post, marked by the “sponsored” sign and often including a call to action button right below the picture. There is a huge list of calls to action that will drive sales and directly connect your audiences to the website links that you mention.
This type of advertisement allows brands to directly showcase their service or products through captivating images to audiences who are highly likely to engage with their brand. You can choose old visual content from your account or create new content specifically for the photo ads.
Video ads on Instagram are one of the most powerful and interactive ways of connecting with your potential audience. This format allows you to share videos up to 120 seconds long. This means that you can share your brand’s story or the experience that they offer to your target audience and ensure that they engage with you in the future.
Photo and video ads are similar in many ways as they both have the same list of calls to action signs and they are present at the bottom of the post. The video ads may last up to 120 seconds, but it is preferred to create shorter videos as they are more effective and captivating.
Carousel ads are a series of a maximum of 10 images or videos that appear on the target audiences’ feeds and let users swipe through them easily. Like the photo and video ads, the call-to-action button is directly under the post and will directly connect them to your specified link or website.
This type of ad is critical to show audiences a multi-part story that defines your brand or a catalog of your new collection or they are just a series of your products that may be liked by them. These ads are highly engaging and often get more attention than the others because, with a series of 10 photos or videos, the probability of the audience liking something is higher.
Collection ads are particularly a square block that includes a cover image or video followed by several product images that visually inspire and help your potential audiences discover, browse, and hopefully purchase said products.
This is a unique way to narrate an integrated story through video, images, or both about your brand with a product or lifestyle focus. Instagram Collection ads have two compelling calls to action button i.e. “Learn More” and “Purchase”. The “purchase” button directs users to the Instagram Instant Experience Storefront from where they can directly open the website link and purchase the respective product.
Ads in Explore
Instagram explore ads are rather sneaky and genius as they don’t have a specification when they are shown in the explore grid or the topic channels. They appear only when someone clicks on a specific photo or video.
These ads may feel rather flowy as they are appearing in the Explore grid and not their feed, as the normal ads on the feed may seem a little pestering and repetitive.
This lets you reach people who are extending their mindset and interests beyond the accounts they follow, which means that you will most probably be noticed or liked. But the chances of people not noticing you all that much and your post getting lost in the storm of posts on exploring is plausible.
Configure Your Target Audience
The beauty of Instagram ads is that it lets you configure your target audience based on a series of demographics. After the takeover of Instagram by Facebook, the advertisements have improved as Facebook’s depth of demographic knowledge and several years of experience helps you reach the right people. The following is a list of demographics that will help you choose your perfect target audience.
You get to choose your target audience from a whole country, region, state, city, or even a specific zip code. It allows you to exclude or include certain places from your specified list.
- Age and Gender
You can choose your ideal audience base from the targeted ranges from age 13 to 65+, based on your content. Additionally, you can also choose a specific gender to target, i.e. either all, men, or women.
This is rather recommended to leave blank unless the language you’re targeting is different from the location you are targeting.
This field of targeting comes under “detailed targeting” multiple sub-categories to dig into. There are two subheads: interests and behaviors. You can choose from a list of interests like makeup, painting, or science fiction.
Behaviors have further subheadings i.e. connections, custom audiences, and lookalike audience. Connections are somehow connected to your page. Custom audiences option lets you upload a specified list of contacts allowing you to target leads already in your pipeline. Lookalike Audience is basically when Instagram tries to find people who have similar traits to your other audiences.
Instagram ad campaign objectives
Advertising with Instagram is very compelling as you get to choose from several campaign objectives. These are basically a list of potential goals that will optimize your Instagram ad campaign. This is a rather essential and rudimentary choice as it determines and drives your marketing strategy accordingly. If you are not familiar with these objectives, here is a list of them
- Brand awareness
The Brand Awareness objective supports Photo Ads, Video Ads, Carousel Ads, Collection Ads, and Stories Ads. This objective drives awareness specifically to your business, product, app, or service when advertised.
The Reach objective supports all different formats of Instagram ads. Reach is like brand awareness as its role is somehow similar, but it allows you to reach a larger audience. However, brand awareness is more targeted to users who are comparatively more likely to engage with your brand.
The Traffic objective drives more visitors to your business i.e. your profile as well as your website or link if mentioned. The feature also supports all types of ads on Instagram.
- App installs
The App Installs objective as the name entails is ideal if you’re trying to get users to download your application. This will direct them directly to the app store. This objective also supports any Instagram ad type.
Engagement supports image ads, video ads, and collection ads and is an ideal objective to promote offers that your business is giving. In addition, it is also effective at promoting your Instagram account or posts.
- Video views
Video views are supported by video ads, carousel ads, collection ads, or stories ads. This objective will drive awareness to your brand and products while simultaneously increasing your views.
- Lead generation
Lead Generation is an objective that supports all Instagram ad formats. It is essentially used to collect information from your potential users like their email addresses.
The Conversions objective is a compelling option to choose for eCommerce businesses that want to drive their sales. This essentially sign-up conversion on your website or mobile application.
Creating Instagram advertisements
Instagram takes advertisements rather seriously and offers three ways to set up your ads on Instagram. The easiest and user-friendly way is to simply promote directly within the app with an existing post from your profile.
The other two methods are a little complicated, but they offer more customization options. So, you can use Instagram Partners or Facebook Ads Manager to create your Instagram ad.
- Within the app
This way is the easiest as all you need to do is select an existing post from your business account that is performing well and getting a lot of engagement, simply click the “promote” button below it. You can track its performance prior to that. Another way is through your Facebook Business Page if it is connected to your Instagram account.
All you are required to do is choose an existing Facebook Page or create a new one, complete the choice of who will see your ad, your budget, where do you want it to appear, and for how long you want your ad to run and simply click “create Promotion”.
- Ads Manager
Ads Manager was introduced after the acquisition of Instagram with Facebook. The feature is available on desktop and mobile and it uses the same, well-integrated, and powerful advertising tools as Facebook. The best part is that you can customize features according to your marketing strategies like objectives, target audiences, ad placement, budget, and schedule. However, you need to set up a Facebook business page in order to reap its benefits on Instagram
- Instagram partners
Instagram Partners are your guardian angels who will guide you through everything related to advertisements i.e. from buying ads to sourcing and delivering. Facebook Partner Directory connects you with a diverse range of experts who provide marketing tips and capabilities from planning to execution to measurement. They save your time and help you reach your necessary target audience whilst you can focus on running your business.