How to Advertise on Instagram : Guide for Beginners 2019

How to Advertise on Instagram Guide for Beginners 2019

Social marketers rely on Instagram ads for good reasons.

Instagram ads are an open opportunity to present well-rounded campaigns to users at different stages of the sales funnel. From building brand awareness to driving conversions, a thoughtful ad copy can drive sales.

Instagram Statistics You Should Know

An estimated 600+ million monthly active Instagram users worldwide is a startling figure.

Add to it, 400+ million daily active users and 150+ million daily active Story users. In addition, 4.2 billion likes a day and 40+ billion photos posted until date.

That is how big Instagram is!

If that does not sound like a reason good enough for you to have an Instagram business profile, here is more – your competitors have been on Instagram, and it is predicted that Instagram would add another 26.9 billion active users by 2020.

It does not end here!

90 percent of the Top 100 Global Brands use Instagram ads.

A Brief History of Instagram

2012 was the year when Facebook bought Instagram. As a result, Facebook shares its data with Instagram, and vice versa, together with the ad platforms.

This benefits businesses because they can share their audiences across multiple campaigns and target multiple platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Facebook Messenger.

Therefore, if you are planning to create a compelling Instagram ad campaign, but your Facebook business page has a larger fan following, you can use both Facebook to target your common audiences on Instagram.

In 2013, Instagram offered limited ad services after Facebook bought it. However, it was only in 2015 that the floodgates opened and Instagram allowed businesses and brands to advertise, regardless of the scope. Brands that took this opportunity found Instagram to be the next best thing in business.

Moreover, as Instagram is also integrated with Facebook’s Ad Manager, businesses can leverage the massive user base of Facebook and advertise directly to the target audience.

Just to make this more realistic, you should know that 75 percent of all users take action seeing Instagram advertisements.

Instagram Ads – Types

Instagram offers five different types of ad formats:

1: Photo Ads

Photo ads are photos in square or landscape format. These are simple ads with visual assets. You need only one image to post the ad.

With a photo ad, you can showcase the products and services of your brand through attractive images.

If you already have high-quality visual content on Instagram, photo ads would allow you to share it with more people.

However, do not forget to add call-to-action buttons like Apply Now, Call Now, Shop Now, Book Now, Contact Now, Get Directions, etc.

2: Video Ads

Instagram video ads were restricted to 15 seconds, but the rule has changed. Now, you can post ad videos of up to 60 seconds in square or landscape format.

Undoubtedly, Instagram users are fond of videos. They spend much time watching videos, and the figure rose over 80 percent year-by-year in 2017.

With this jump, Instagram made it even easier for advertisers to leverage brand video advertisements.

CTA: Apply Now, Call Now, Book Now, Download, Contact Us

3: Carousel Ads

Carousel Ads can have 2 to 10 photos and videos for users to view by swiping. A call-to-action button is added to connect viewers directly to the website.

Carousel ads are more interactive as they draw attention to multiple products, share a story with multiple parts, and dive deeper into service with 10 images and videos.

This type of Instagram ads is perfect for any brand that wants to showcase its versatile content and for brands having diverse creative assets such as fashion and food businesses.

CTA: Apply Now, Book Now, Call Now, Contact Us, Download

4: Slideshow Ads

Slideshow ads, also called Collection ads, are relatively new, introduced in 2018.  These ads are similar to Instagram video ads because they appear as videos in users’ feeds.

However, these ads comprise of a series of photos that play like videos, quote similar to a slideshow. You can also add audio and text to the Slideshow ads.

When users come across your ad, they can directly purchase from the ad.

Slideshow ads combine still images, videos, as well as direct-response marketing in a powerful advertisement.

CTA: Purchase, Learn More

5: Stories Ads

Instagram users are aware of Insta Stories. Placing your ads as stories can be great ways of letting the world know about your products and services.

With more than 500 million daily Instagram story viewers, you can gauge the potential of the ad to reach a wide market.

With Insta Story ads, it is easier to target audience and choose the frequency of ads seen. As Insta Stories disappear after 24 hours, they are the perfect format for sharing promotional content and limited-period offers.

Businesses leverage the features of Instagram Stories by adding face filters, text, and video effects to create fun-filled promotions.

As a result, you can make Stories ads that look like an ordinary post and sharing a seamless experience with users.

CTA: Swipe up, Learn More, Apply Now, Contact Us, Book Now, Call Now (for videos only)

Choosing the Best Instagram Ad Type for your Business

Wondering, what type of Instagram ad to choose!

You have to choose the ad format intentionally. Understand whether a particular type of ad can meet your needs or not?

To get down to the basics, you know your business goal.

When it comes to the choice of an Instagram ad campaign, your social media goal means everything. A goal would help you decide what to do, how to pursue it, and what you should not pursue.

For instance, if your goal is to achieve more brand awareness, you have to consider things to avoid, such as Slideshow ads because they sell products directly. Instead, you have to focus on photo ads or video ads with catchy call-to-action directing viewers to your business website. You would also help users to evaluate the brand through compelling content.

However, if your goal is only to sell a product, you can consider Collection ads that allow users to buy products directly from the ad post.

Now, if you are launching multiple products and you want to display them, Carousel ads would be the best choice. Captivating images can be very attractive to viewers.

Regardless of the ad format you choose, ensure it aligns with your business goal.

Noted below are a few points to consider concerning your Insta ad goals:

  • Build Awareness: To build brand awareness, you can go for Photo Ads, Video Ads, Carousel Ads, and Stories Ads.
  • Reach Target Users: When the aim is to reach your target audience to drive awareness, you gave to take a different approach. While brand awareness building is limited to a certain segment of the audience, targeting to reach users has a much wider base and opportunity for the brand.
  • Get More Traffic: Getting more traffic can also be an objective to drive visitors to the website. If your brand has a mobile app, it would be more effective to drive app engagement. You can create offers and promotions too. This objective also supports ad types and gives the best result.
  • App Installation: It is one unique objective, perfect for getting users to download the app. Choose any type of Instagram ad with App Installation as the objective. Carousel Ad works best to drive users directly to the respective store.
  • Better Engagement: Engaging viewers is also a way to promote products, services, and offers. Create engaging ads like Photo Ads, Video Ads, or Slideshow Ads to build better user engagement.
  • Lead Generation: Aim to generate leads through Instagram ads. It is the best way to collect information from your users such as email addresses and phone numbers. You can market to those users in the near future. As a result, it supports all types of Instagram ads.
  • Video Viewers: Video views and viewers can also be your aim of running an Instagram ad. You can choose a Video Ad, Slideshow Ad, Stories Ad, or Carousel Ad to promote a brand video. It is an effective way of driving awareness for the brand and business.
  • Conversions: Finally, you are expecting conversion out of every move. Any eCommerce business would want to drive sales. This objective is an interesting way of optimizing people who complete certain action in the app if Facebook SDK is installed.

Cost of Instagram Ads

Cost of specific Instagram advertisement is unique because not all ads would be the same.

The average CPC (cost-per-click) for the Instagram ad is approximately $0.70 to $0.80 (analyzed from a figure of over $300 million spends on ads).

However, this is only the average CPC. In real-time, an Instagram ad might cost more or less depending on multiple factors.

For instance, cost fluctuates based on the target’s demographics, age, and other factors.

With Instagram rolling out exciting new features as well as capabilities, online marketers have a lot of opportunities to become creative and even have a competitive edge.

Recently, Instagram introduced a feature that allows users to register a debit/credit card as a part of the profile and purchase products without being redirected to another website or app.

This native payment option is a revolutionary feature that brings more advertisers to the Instagram advertisement platform.

As of today, Instagram ads are also a major part of the Facebook advertising network. So, just like Facebook ad posts, Instagram ad posts are also purchased through an auction system. Each advertiser sets the budget of an ad campaign and a bid representing the maximum amount of money they want to spend when users complete the objective (the goals mentioned above) of the ad.

Instagram broke down its ad objectives into three main categories as of 2018:

  • To build awareness of the business, product, service, or app
  • To ensure in-depth consideration as well as an understanding of the products and services
  • For assured conversion from mere views into sales, visit an online or physical store, and mobile downloads

As soon as your target users view an ad and engage with it, the auction begins. The winner if the ad that successfully creates greater value for users depending on three factors:

  • How the advertiser values the final result for which they have optimized the ad
  • The estimated rate of action, as in, how likely are users to complete a specific action for which the ad is optimized
  • Depending on the relevance and quality of the ad, how likely are users to take an interest in an ad

Getting Started – The Instagram Ads Manager

Let’s dive deep into the Instagram ad zone step-by-step.

Step#1: Link the Facebook Page to Instagram Account

The first step to create an Instagram ad post is to link the Instagram account to the Facebook page. Just do it once, and you are sorted.

Go to Settings on the Facebook page. Click on the button, “Instagram Ads.”



In the next step, you must “Log In” and enter your Instagram credentials. However, if you do not have an Instagram account, you can create one.

Step#2: Time to Create an Instagram Ad Campaign

After linking your Instagram account to the Facebook page, you can head over to the Instagram Ad Manager and build your first ad campaign.

If you have been creating Facebook ads, you would be familiar with the process. However, if you are new and prefer to use Power Editor, you can do that.

When you open the Ads Manager, find the Campaigns tab. Under that, there is a +Create tab on the top left-hand corner of your screen.

In the next step, you have to choose an objective for the campaign. Note that not all objectives may be compatible with the format of Instagram Stories Ads.

Step#3: Create the Instagram Ad

Go to the Instagram Ad Set page. Find the Purchase option and select it as the type of conversion for optimization.


When you choose Conversion, you are allowed to choose an app or website to promote. You have to select an app event or conversion pixel for this purpose. However, f you do not have an app or pixel event, you can follow the instructions to create one.

On the same page, you would be asked to add a promotional offer that would help you to drive more conversion on the ad.

Next, you have to define your audience, as in, who would be able to see your ads, and how much money you can spend on the ad. You can find these targeting options for Facebook as well as Instagram ads.

If you are focused on a Custom Audience base already created, simply select them to target with Instagram ads.

In the next step, you have to place your ads properly. You would come across an option to run campaigns on Instagram and Facebook. Make your choice.

Go slow and figure out the amount of money you would want to spend on Instagram ads. There’s always a chance to increase your budget if the ad performs well.

Schedule the budget in the next step.

Choose your target and the amount you want to spend and click Continue.

The next screen shows an option to choose the Instagram ad format. Go ahead with your choice after studying the options carefully.

Upload your visuals and scroll further down to find an option to add text to the ad – on your left.

Then, on the right side of the text editor, find the preview option and check how the ad appears on Instagram. You can also check how the ad would look in any other format you choose.

Step#4: Analyze Ad Performance

Launching an ad is not the end of the game. Rather, it is just the beginning. Once the ad is live and running, you have to monitor the performance and implement new test ideas to determine the most effective strategy for creative, messaging, and targeting.

Within the Ads Manager, you can edit an Instagram ad and incorporate split testing, view, analytics, and change targeting parameters for optimum performance.

The first-ever Instagram ad post is the hardest. Conquer the first one; it would be much easier to do it consistently for many more times.

How to Boost Instagram Ad Post

Once you’ve done the ad and it is running, you might want to promote another ad quickly on Instagram. You can Boost Post.

With this, you would have to pay for promoting a particular post. When you choose this option, you get a major boost in the form of social proof such as comments and likes.

You can boost multiple Instagram ad posts as long as you have a business profile. When you click on a post, you can see the Promote option.

By clicking on the option, you would choose an objective for the ad. With the option, you have two choices – to get more profile visits and website visits and to reach more people near your location.

To get more profile visits and website visits, you can promote an ad with specific CTAs such as Shop Now, Watch More, Learn More, Sign Up, Book Now, Contact Us, etc.

To ensure more people reach your location, you can target the location. As such, you would be giving your users a choice between Call Now and Get Directions CTAs.

Top 3 Reasons to try Instagram Ads

  • Firstly, because Facebook ads and Instagram ads are integrated, you have the benefit of superior campaign customization of Facebook, its diverse formatting, and an assortment of targeting capabilities together with a high engagement ratio of Instagram.
  • Instagram active users are highly interested in engaging with new brands and ads on this platform. A study shows that Instagram users are 58 times likely to engage with genuine branded content on the platform than Facebook, and up to 120 times more likely to be engaged than Twitter.
  • The same study also found that Instagram ads recall rate is 2.8 times higher than any other social networks. In fact, the ads are not only likely to receive clicks and likes, but they are more likely to be remembered.

Instagram Ads Best Practices 2019

Now that you are ready with the technical side of Instagram ads, it is time to learn how to do it well. Great ads are creative and artistic, not just merely factual.

Here’s a practical formula to try:

  • Use Interactive Videos: Instagram video ads are popular, both in newsfeeds as well as in stories. It grabs users’ attention instantly because of the engaging matter and dynamic content. Moreover, it offers more room for sharing valuable insights and information with the audience. Leverage that.
  • Short and Concise Captions: Instagram allows you 2200 characters, but aim to keep the caption much shorter. Make it crisp and to-the-point. Your users would not want to read chunks of text on this platform (they may read it on Facebook though). Keep it as short as 150 characters.
  • Test Ad Formats: Before posting an ad, check multiple formats. While single photo ads work well for some section of the audience, carousel video ads are ruling. Sometimes, you just cannot figure out the best format unless you have tried them all. Therefore, test and test until you are very sure of the performance of an ad
  • Expect Stringent Copy Rules: With Instagram ads becoming more popular, the copyright rules are getting stricter. A reevaluation request to get the ad through is needed in most cases. If not, you may have to rework on the ad copy. To avoid such hiccups, don’t use any negative words or traits in the ad copy. Avoid using the second person. Don’t make false claims. Always ensure that you follow Facebook’s industry rules and regulations.
  • Use Hashtags: Hashtags are a popular way to reach out to millions and millions of people. Promote your content with a creative hashtag, not just #love. Research and find out the hashtags that would be apt for your audience. However, don’t overdo things as you might end up looking too desperate for attention. Ideally, you should aim for 5 to 7 hashtags in an ad post. Note that longer hashtags are better performers.
  • Create Contextually Relevant Ad Copy: Don’t expect any two social media platforms to be similar. For example, any business would not promote the same content on Twitter as well as on LinkedIn. This is basic, as their audiences are different. The same rule applies for Instagram too. Do a roleplay – be a user to understand their preferences. An Instagram user would not download a 100-page ebook. So, there’s no point creating such ads that would have no value for your target audience. Moreover, your ad copy should not be overly sales-oriented, as Instagram is not just meant for sales.
  • Post Ads at the Right Time: Do you know your audience well? If yes, it shouldn’t be difficult for you to determine the optimal hours. If you are a woman’s cosmetic store, when do you think women would typically shop online? If you are dealing with in-game stations, what days or time of the week would you, see the spike in your traffic? These are good questions to get you started.
  • Promote a Contest: Running a contest or a giveaway is an effective way of reaching your goals much faster with Instagram ads. As people love free stuff and competitive, it is a more lucrative strategy. What could be a better way of exciting your audience about the brand!
  • Optimize Target Audience: You want to show your ad to a specific audience segment, right? It’s time you choose whom to show those ads to. Understand what your audience is a specific group, not everyone. So, you have to cut through this crowd to reach your ideal customers. The only way to do it is to segregate your customers by proper audience segmentation and analysis. Identify user actions you expect, layer the segment using filters like browsing behavior, job titles, device owned and activity, and use Facebook conversion pixel tracking for best result.
  • Use Strong CTAs: Call-to-action is the most important part of an ad. After all, Facebook pages with strong CTAs improve CTR by 285 percent. So, when you select the ad CTA button, make sure it aligns with the brand message and immediately captures the attention of the target audience base. It should be compelling enough to make them click on the ad. Avoid using misleading or mismatching CTAs as they put off your target audiences.

Final Words

When you run the first Instagram ad campaign, you might have to bear a higher CPM or CPC than any other Facebook placement. However, there’s nothing to fret as this is quite normal. As long as you don’t start seeing results and you are maintaining a profitability margin, it’s worth staying.

Having said that, monitor the campaigns to find the weaker ones that aren’t doing well or showing signs that it might need some changes. Anything that shows a lower relevance metrics needs to be re-evaluated before losing time.

Split testing is very important in every step. It would help you determine the images, videos, copy, and targeting working for your target Instagram audience. As a result, you can expect a better outcome.

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