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Instagram Advertising

Social media offers a wide range of opportunities for getting your brand noticed, and using Instagram advertising is a great way to raise awareness

Making Instagram advertising work for you

Successful Instagram social media marketing is no longer a case of being able to set up an account and posting lots of visual content to your feed and seeing results. 

In the same way you need to post Facebook ads in order to gain attention and cut through the noise, advertising is key to getting noticed on Instagram. So, if you’ve downloaded the Instagram app and intend to use it for business, investing in Instagram ads is the way forward.

Why you should be using Instagram advertising

Instagram advertising can be an effective part of your brand’s digital social media marketing strategy, especially if your target audience is particularly present on the platform. From photo ads to stories ads, you can expect to see results from paid Instagram promotion. Not only that but such ad campaigns can be tailored to target the audience you actually want to engage with for a better return on ad spend.

Why is Instagram one of the newest advertising goldmines?

Instagram is a younger social media site than many of the others, but it’s owned by Meta Platforms. This means Instagram ads are fully integrated with Facebook ads, allowing you to format and customise them in the same way. Having such control over your ads and combining it with the platform’s high engagement rate makes it an advertising goldmine for brands that get it right.

Being a highly visual platform, Instagram content is memorable to your audience and the same goes for ads too. That increases the chances of photo ads and stories ads being noticed, clicked on and remembered in the long term. Without Instagram advertising promotion, posts are less likely to be seen in the first place, which reduces the chances of your audience engaging with them.

How might your business benefit from advertising on Instagram?

While simply having an Instagram business profile may allow you to come into contact with an Instagram user, the chances of it happening organically are quite slim.

Implementing an ad campaign on the platform brings your brand to the attention of users at all stages of the buying funnel, from those who’ve never heard of you before to happy customers ready to make another purchase from your company.

Storytelling is an important part of promoting your brand and Instagram enables you to communicate your ethos and values to your audience. Having started out as an image-sharing platform, it has evolved to encompass elements from other social media sites like Snapchat and Twitter that enable you to promote your business with stories and reels in new and engaging formats.

How can using Instagram advertising improve customer experience at your business?

Instagram’s audience is well-engaged, offering businesses plenty of opportunities to reach out to its users. Interest in a brand can be piqued by seeing an Instagram ad, which can enhance engagement as users can get in touch directly. This allows for a much more instantaneous approach to the customer experience, which audiences have come to expect.

Types of ads you can run on Instagram

Deciding to run an ad campaign on Instagram is just the first step. Next, you must choose the types of Instagram ad you wish to use and how they can be tailored to your custom audience. The best Instagram ad for your brand and customers can depend on many factors, but with so many to choose from, it shouldn’t be difficult to find the most effective ad format for your needs.

  • Photo ad – features one or more photos, each linking to a product, which can be placed in the feed or stories.
  • Video ad – similar to photo ads, these can include up to 60 seconds of footage, although shorter videos tend to perform better.
  • Carousel ad – made up of multiple images or videos and includes a call-to-action button.
  • Collection ad – enables Instagram users to make a purchase directly from the ad.
  • Explore ad – these ads appear in the explore tab for different users based on their Instagram usage habits.
  • IGTV ad – shown midroll on IGTV in a vertical format and can be up to 15 seconds long.
  • Story ad – vertical ads consisting of photos and video run in Instagram stories.

What are the major differences between the types of ads you can run on Instagram?

The two major differences between the different types of Instagram ads are whether they’re format-based or section-based. Formats like photo or video can be used within different sections such as the feed or stories. That means some Instagram ad types can be used together. For example, a story ad may also be a photo or a video ad.

As a brand you can perform a sort of pick and mix, where you take the ad format that best suits your audience and combine it with the section where you’ll find the Instagram followers you want to target. This means one business’ ad set may look very different to another’s as there are so many possibilities.

What are the most successful ad types for Instagram?

The best Instagram ad for your company will depend on your goal. Your strategy will be different if you’re looking to encourage users to make purchases directly from the Instagram app or aiming to boost engagement. Measuring success from an ad campaign can be a complex process and should be considered from the start, with decisions made to facilitate the desired outcome.

How does Instagram as a platform enable certain types of ad and customer engagement?

Instagram ads are actually a subset of Facebook advertising and as such are managed through Facebook ad manager. This is where you’ll choose your objectives, decide on your targeting, budget, schedule, placements and bidding during the ad set level, as well as creating a custom audience.

How you set up your custom audience within Facebook ad manager is key to engagement. The tool can help your brand reach out to anyone who has had a relationship with your business. This could be through Facebook or other social media channels, on your website or even offline. Based on this information, it’s easier to establish the lookalike audience you want to target for better conversions.

Edit the placement of your Instagram ads in Facebook ad manager too. If your ad campaign contains more than one ad format, you can set it to run in multiple locations here. You can also choose to place Instagram feed ads in Facebook’s newsfeed at the same time to make use of both of Meta’s platforms.

How to analyse the performance metrics of your Instagram ads

As with anything you post on social media for your business, you’ll want to track the ad performance of your Instagram campaign. Running analytics is therefore vital for your Instagram ads to establish what works well on the social media platform and areas where you might want to reassign your budget in future.

What metrics should you be watching when advertising on Instagram?

The Instagram analytics you want to take notice of should be set from early on in the process of setting up your social media campaign. This is because they should be linked to your goals and aims, as all businesses have different reasons for running Instagram ads. Your analytics should be set up before your campaign is set live so you can start collecting data immediately.

Among the metrics you may wish to track in your Instagram analytics are:

  • Follower growth rate, which denotes whether or not your reach is expanding.
  • Engagement rate, as all the followers in the world are no use if they’re not interacting with your brand.
  • Web traffic, if you’re keen to drive more people to your site through Instagram ads.
  • Link clicks to show which Instagram ads resulted in the most traffic.
  • Comments, as they can say more about engagement on social media than likes.
  • Reach to see the total number of people that have seen your Instagram ads.
  • Instagram story metrics, which are different to other ads, as stories disappear after 24 hours.
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How often should you check the performance metrics of your Instagram ads?

It’s important to check the Instagram metrics of your ads regularly throughout any campaign you run. Ideally this should be done daily as it will allow you to notice if an ad placed in your Instagram story isn’t performing as well as you expected or you’re getting more engagement from an ad in your feed for example. Then you could tweak an element of your ad to reflect these Instagram metrics.

As campaigns evolve throughout their timeline, it is important to ensure your metrics are tracking the variables that show whether a campaign is successful or not. If you aren’t seeing the desired results, then regular performance tracking will allow you to optimise more swiftly.

Who can help you analyse the performance metrics of your Instagram ads?

There’s a wide selection of Instagram analytics tools available, so you’ll need to decide which ones to use to keep track of your metrics. If you have a business account, then you’ll automatically get access to Instagram Insights, which is a good place to start with viewing your performance. To export your data and create comprehensive social media reports you’ll require more sophisticated tools and expert knowledge.

You can hire someone in-house to look at Google Analytics and Facebook Ads Manager metrics, but you may find it useful to call in the professionals. An agency like Axonn has a number of reporting tools to present actionable insights into your ad performance so you can make the most of paid content on Instagram.

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Getting the most from your Instagram marketing strategy

When done right, Instagram marketing can be an integral part of your overall social media marketing strategy. The average Instagram user is highly engaged and ads can help you reach your target audience. That said, there are many elements that play into such success –  from placing ads on your Instagram feed or in stories to utilising the Instagram live or reels features to showcase Instagram video.

How can you be economically savvy with your Instagram marketing?

To be successful in Instagram marketing make sure you’re targeted in your approach and not afraid to tweak your campaigns. Social media platforms are vast digital spaces and you simply can’t reach everyone, so it’s important you’re targeting an audience that will engage with your brand and provide returns. If not, you’ll find your budget disappears quickly and with just a few more Instagram followers to show for it.

Your Instagram marketing strategy needs to evolve and by keeping a close eye on analytics you can determine what’s working. Tweak the areas that aren’t performing as you expected and test out content in different formats. Perhaps something that went relatively unnoticed on your Instagram feed gets a lot more attention as an Instagram story, or maybe it could be more effective as  a video instead of a photo.

What are some surefire ways to make a bang with your Instagram marketing strategy?

Instagram is a visual platform, so be sure to put great photos and videos at the heart of your marketing strategy. While what you post will depend on the Instagram user you’re targeting, there are some ways to create content that are universally popular. These include:

  • Striking imagery that stands out in an Instagram feed. Don’t be afraid to apply filters to make your photos really pop.
  • People-focused content helps to tell your brand’s story rather than just showcasing its products.
  • Video can deliver a short message effectively while being a highly shareable form of content. Looping videos that were popular on Vine and timelapse footage are formats that work particularly well.
  • Memes are a great way to break up the monotony of your Instagram feed and show your audience your brand’s personality.

What are some tips and tricks you should keep in mind when developing an Instagram ad campaign?

Developing your Instagram ad campaign has many components beyond just the content you decide to post. While what goes on your Instagram feed, stories and reels is at the heart of your Instagram marketing strategy, there are plenty of other elements to consider for it to be successful.

Start with the basics and make sure your Instagram account is a business profile in order to utilise all the associated tools. Ensure your bio is well-written and the 150 characters at your disposal are optimised. Include a hashtag that’s related to your brand and a call-to-action, as well as a striking profile picture. Instagram may limit you to 110×110 pixels, but make each one count.

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Take full advantage of the Instagram story function by posting new content every day. Its main benefit is that it sits at the top of users’ Instagram accounts and doesn’t require them to be scrolling through their feed to be seen, and potentially, skipped over. Just as Snapchat did before it, Instagram stories taps into the FOMO of disappearing content, which is a powerful force.

Just because Instagram is the most visual social media platform doesn’t mean you can ignore the importance of the captions that accompany posts on the channel. There’s plenty of scope to make them long or short, as the character limit exceeds 2,000, but they should be used to add context and include a call to action. Additionally, add hashtags to make your posts more discoverable, including any custom hashtags you’ve created for the brand or social media marketing campaign.

Research the best times to post to Instagram both for your audience and in general as this can strongly impact the success of your marketing efforts. Create a schedule based on the times of day and days of the week when your audience is active on the site and then stick to it. That doesn’t mean you have to be available all the time to post, as you can utilise a scheduling tool to input all your content in advance.

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Finally, promote the fact your brand has an active Instagram account in other areas of your marketing. Your website is a great place to do this, as you can embed Instagram into your pages and include social media sharing buttons on your content. There is so much potential to flag up your Instagram presence in other places too, like in your email signature or on physical marketing materials.