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Instagram advertising | A beginner’s guide

By Chloe Young on May 01, 2019

If you’re not utilising Instagram ads, you should be. 

Businesses of all shapes and sizes flourish thanks to targeted advertising on Instagram, which has only been possible since Facebook purchased the platform in 2015.  Not to mention, audience engagement on Instagram is ten times higher than Facebook. 

Different types of Instagram advert

Instagram has five different adverts you can choose from: 

  • Photo ads – appear on the feed using a clean and simple canvas
  • Stories ads – add and complement your feed content
  • Video ads – the same as photo ads with the added video format
  • Carousel ads – lets users swipe to view multiple images
  • Collection ads – helps to sell your products with video, images or both

There are also a variety of call-to-actions (CTAs) to choose from to increase your traffic and leads. 

Which advert should I choose?

First, determine your goal. Each ad type is designed to drive a different outcome. If you want to increase your brand awareness, you should avoid a collection advert as the format is designed for direct selling. Instead, consider a single photo or video with a CTA.  

On the other hand, if you want to showcase a new collection of products, a carousel ad is ideal as you can upload multiple images for viewers to swipe through.

Whichever style you use, make sure it aligns with your business goals.

Reaching your audience

Use Instagram’s targeting options to tailor your audience. You can deliver ads to users based on their location, demographics such as age and gender, interests and behaviour.

As your audience grows you can create custom audiences using your email marketing lists or by targeting those that previously visited your site. You can also target a lookalike audience, which is a new audience that matches the characteristics of your existing one.

You should trial different targeting options to find the one that works best for you.

Getting started

To begin, you need a Facebook page and an Ads Manager account – this is where you’ll create your ads. You should then turn your Instagram account into a business account. You can do this in your settings by selecting, ‘switch to a business profile.’ 

To set up your first advert, log in to Ads Manager and select ‘new advert’. From here, you’ll be taken through various steps, where you’ll choose your ad objective, target audience and ad format. 

You can also promote a post that is already on your feed, to reach a wider audience, if you don’t want to create a new one from scratch.

Before submitting your ad for approval, you need to decide what your budget is. Set an amount you’re comfortable spending and stick to it. You can decide between a daily budget, which allows you to set a maximum monthly spend or a lifetime budget between specific dates. You can also choose to only deliver your ads at certain times of the day when you know your audience are more likely to engage. 

Tip: As you adjust these settings, your estimated daily reach with appear on the right-hand side. Use this to see what results to expect from different budgets.

Once you’ve gathered data and you’re looking to increase your ad budget, it’s important to look at your impressions, click-through-rate (CTR) and conversion figures. From these, you will be able to calculate your return on investment (ROI) and average transaction value. These metrics will help you to determine which of your adverts is performing best and where you should be investing more of your money. 

When your advert is ready, you need to submit it and wait for it to be approved. Ads are sometimes approved almost immediately, or they can take up to a day – be patient.

What to keep in mind

  • A high-quality image is paramount when creating your ads. This will make your business look professional and catch the attention of your audience. 
  • The text you use must include an effective CTA to drive website traffic.
  • Reinforce your brand image by making sure your ad image, text and tone are consistent. Use it as an opportunity to convey your brand values.
  • Experiment with your adverts. A/B test images and text so you can see what works best for your audience. This is one of the most important parts of your ad strategy.
  • Analyse the results of previous ads and adapt accordingly. Keep an eye on what adverts are performing best and refresh your content regularly. You can also use the results to set new goals for your campaigns. 

If you’re unsure about how best to target your audience, consider bringing a marketing agency, like us, onboard to guide you and make the most of your budget.

Ready to take your business further with Instagram advertising? Contact us.