Instagram has emerged as one of the most successful apps in the world. Now boasting more than 500 million active monthly users, the social platform, based around image sharing, has eclipsed more established platforms like Twitter in monthly active users. Trend data shows that usage will only continue to increase, and brands are getting in on the action. 48.8% of brands used Instagram for organic social media marketing in 2016 and that number is expected to increase to 70.7% of US companies by the end of 2017.
Instagram actively offers opportunities to extend your business’ reach through advertising. You can build awareness, increase customers and share your brand’s story among Instagram’s highly engaged audience. Typical users actively welcome branded messages into their feeds, which enable paid ads to seamlessly speak to a targeted demographic.
As a marketer, what you need to get started?
Because Instagram is owned by Facebook, odds are you already have the knowledge base needed to create your ads through Facebook’s Ads Manager. Here are a few tips to identify Instagram advertising opportunities, get the most return on your ad spend, identify what’s working in your campaigns and improve on what’s not.
Tip 1: Run Goal-Based Campaigns
Before jumping in on advertising on any social network, it’s important to identify what your goals are. Running goal-based campaigns enables you to easily track effectiveness and identify if you are getting the desired results out of your spend. Are you trying to increase brand awareness, increase traffic to your website or increase conversions? Ads Manager prompts this question when you create each campaign. If you are unsure which objective to choose, hovering over each option will give you more details on how to meet your Instagram marketing objective.
Tip 2: Know Who You're Trying to Reach
Ads Manager has a robust set of targeting capabilities, and you can use these features to drill down to an audience who cares about your message. You can easily define your target audience by demographic information and interests. While you are making your audience selection, the Ads Manager makes it easy to see your estimated daily reach and whether your target is too broad or too narrow.
Tip 3: Separate Your Instagram Ads From Your Facebook Ads
Although both Facebook and Instagram ads are created through the Ads Manager, these campaigns should be separated so that you can clearly see if specific objectives are being met, control your budget and optimize your ads for each platform.
The ads themselves are consumed differently on each platform, so you’ll also want to separate your messaging to match the user habits of each platform as well. Because Instagram is a highly visual social media platform, be sure to use a captivating image to draw in your target audience.
You’ll notice the ads on each platform will perform differently. Typically with Instagram, you’ll see a higher cost per click (CPC) and a higher cost per conversion. Although from first glance, this audience seems more expensive than advertising on Facebook, but Instagram tends to get higher conversion rates. If you don’t separate your ads on these platforms, it will be hard to distinguish between these metrics and clearly understand your return on investment.
Tip 4: Always Test
When you create your ads, there are many decision points that will either improve your reach or drastically decrease it, and testing will be critical to get the best results. Switching out ad copy, images or calls to action will help you determine what resonates best with your audience.
We recommend kicking off each campaign with two different versions of your ad to see what performs best. Let your campaign run for a few days or a week and then optimize from there. Beyond the elements listed above, you can also try adjusting your target audience or experimenting with different ad formats. By keeping a close eye on the data, you can see what works and turn off the ads that aren’t performing well.