Gone are the days when advertising is restricted to newspapers, radio, and television. These days, online marketing is one of your best bets to advertise almost anything. Instagram, one of the fastest growing social media platforms today, is an effective tool for marketers to promote businesses, blogs, products, or services.
How big is the Instagram audience ?
As of September 2017, Instagram boasts of 800 million users, 500 million of whom use the app everyday. There were 2 million advertisers using this platform during that time, up 100 percent from just six months before, in March.
If we study the trend, Instagram is one of the most popular places for brands and businesses to advertise and might continue to grow in the foreseeable future.
Advantages of Instagram advertising
Small businesses benefit greatly from advertising on Instagram. It’s effective, inexpensive, easy, and the tools that Facebook has developed for its advertising business make it possible to review marketing numbers and statistics based on the ads.
Some of the advantages of advertising on Instagram:
- Instagram has regular updates, making it more user-friendly, which makes advertising more efficient. It is always evolving according to the needs and demands of its users. With more and more businesses choosing to advertise on Instagram, the company will continue to ensure that its advertising business catches up to consumers’ demands.
- You have the option to target your audiences. Facebook, Instagram’s parent company, lets you select your target audiences. You can then be sure that only those who can potentially be a client or customer will get to see your ad.
- It’s cost-effective. At only an average of $0.80 per click, Instagram’s ads are inexpensive. Coupled with the ease with which you can start setting up your account and advertise on the platform, Instagram provides businesses with a quick and easy tool for promotion.
- It’s interactive, which means that you can engage with your market. Users can comment on posts, and you can respond to them. High engagement is a great way to get more people to your profile and to your website.
- Instagram ads do not scream “advertisement.” While users are informed which posts are sponsored, the posts themselves look like regular posts, so it’s inconspicuous and not a hard sell.
But the best benefit may be that Instagram advertising is effective. It works. According to the company, 60% of users say that they find new products on Instagram. Reports say that a cool 75% respond to an ad after seeing a post, purchasing an item or contacting the business. There’s no better time to advertise on this social media platform than now.
If you’re already advertising on Facebook, then learning the ropes on Instagram shouldn’t be difficult. Instagram ads are directly configured through Facebook via their Ad Manager.
But even if you’re not already on Facebook, the app’s advertising tool is still pretty easy to understand and configure.
1. Research the competition. Scroll through your competitors’ profiles and see what kinds of content they produce, which ones get the most engagement (likes and comments), what calls-to-action they provide. You will be able to get a clearer idea of the kind of posts you’ll want for your own profile.
If you want to see the ads they run, a way to do this is by going to their Instagram account and clicking on their website from their bio. When you get to their website, click on some products. Then return to Instagram. If they use a Facebook pixel for remarketing option, chances are you’ll then see an ad from that company on your feed. This option targets users who have previously visited your website so that they see your ads on their feed.
2. Create campaign objectives. Instagram allows you to choose what you want to achieve from your ads. Whether it’s brand awareness, traffic, sales, or engagement, the type of objectives you choose will affect how they are optimized.
3. Know your audience. Similar to Facebook, Instagram lets you set up advertising targeting. For this, you will need to know what types of people will most likely respond to your ad. You can choose a broad audience, but to be more effective, select specific types of people.
Creating your ads
Now that you’ve done the research, you can start building your campaign.
There are five types of Instagram ads you can choose from:
1. Photo ads. Good for those starting out with Instagram ads, photo ads feature the business or their products with a single image. You want the photo to stand out from other posts, so make sure that the image pops and is eye-catching.
To create a photo ad, just select the image from your library or upload one. Add a good caption to accompany the post. You can put up to 300 characters, but Facebook recommends using only 125 as long captions will require the user to click to view the entire caption (an extra step for them). You can also send people to your website from your ad by selecting “Add a website URL” and entering your URL.
2. Video ads. These are similar to photo ads except that they consist of videos or GIFs. The process to create an ad is the same as for a photo. However, you’ll need to choose a video thumbnail—the image that users will see first before the video plays.
3. Carousel ads. These are multi-image ads for when one photo or video isn’t appropriate for the kind of goals you want.
Write your caption; this will be the same for all photos, so be sure that it’s not geared toward one specific image. Next, create the cards that will make up the ad. You can choose up to 10 cards for a single carousel ad. Choose or upload one image, video, or slideshow for every card. Each card can have its own headline, or could show the first line of the caption.
4. Slideshow ads. Slideshows feature several images as a video loop with music. It’s similar to carousel ads, but slideshow ads scroll on its own.
You can create your slideshow using the slideshow creator in Facebook Ads Manager, or upload one if you already have it. It’s easy to use: just upload and arrange the images, adjust the settings, and choose the music.
5. Instagram stories. The most recent type of ad launched last year, Instagram stories are immersive, full screen ads that appear in between people’s Stories. Creating stories for your business is similar to creating a regular photo or video ad. This can be done by choosing “Reach” as your campaign objective and selecting “Stories” in the placement. Then the rest is just a matter of uploading the images or video.
About The Author: John Munday is the head of marketing at GravIT – an IT Company based in Geelong, Australia. They specialise in IT solutions for small to medium sized business. In his spare time, he enjoys giving back to the community by sharing his knowledge on marketing.