Advertising for the first time on Instagram may be a daunting task, especially if you are not familiar with advertising on Facebook. If you are new to advertising on the platform and all the settings are a bit too much right now, then don’t worry about it. You’ll figure it all out and see that it’s not as hard as you think! To help speed up your learning process, we’ve put together everything you need to know about Instagram ads in this blog.

What’s so Good about Instagram Ads in the First Place?

First things first, we have to start with why you need to be advertising on Instagram in the first place.  The growth of Instagram is not showing any signs of slowing down anytime soon. Currently boasting over 700 million active monthly users, the social network was able to double its user base in just two years, so it won’t be long before it hits the billion! So far, 80% of these people also follow a business, so (potential) customers are showing us that they want to consume content from businesses. On top of that, besides the fact that the more and more of the audience that you’re likely interested in uses Instagram, it is also is one of the most engaging social media networks.

Another definite attribute that you can benefit from with Instagram ads is the fact that it’s owned by Facebook, so you can use Facebook’s Ads Manager to create your very own Instagram Ads. Now, if you have been on the Ads Manager before, you already know just how powerful the targeting opportunities are. We’ll dive into this in depth shortly, but know that the amount of data that Facebook makes available to advertisers is insane. The targeting opportunity you are given simply ensures your advertising dollars are being spent more efficiently.   

Lastly, Instagram is focused on small businesses, and creating tools for them that can help them further their marketing goals. Their focus on allowing businesses to get more of the app shows in the features they’ve brought to it, like business profiles and introducing advertising to Stories. Up next is a new “booking” feature, allowing customers to book their appointments at restaurants or salons directly from within Instagram. This will make it even easier for advertisers to monitor their ROI from using it. All in all, the future looks promising for Instagram, with the company consistently proving itself as a worthy platform to put some advertising budget into. So, now that you know why advertising on Instagram can be beneficial for your business, you’re all ready to get started on creating your first advertisement.


How to Make an Instagram Ad

In order to advertise on Instagram, you have to have a Facebook page for your business. You can advertise using your page if your business doesn’t have an Instagram account, or you can connect your account to your page and advertise from there. Ads can be created from within Instagram itself, or using Facebook’s Ads Manager tool or the Power Editor. For the purpose of this blog, we’ll be explaining how to create ads using the Ads Manager tool.

Choose a marketing objective

Once you open the Ads Manager to start a new campaign, the first thing that you will need to do is choose a marketing objective and buying option. There are two buying options, namely Auction or Reach and Frequency. We recommend going for the auction option for advertising on Instagram. With this one, your advertisement will be competing with all the others vying for the same spot. The auction is set up to allow you to reach audiences with higher chances of reacting to your content.

Next, you can choose your marketing objective. There are a few options available to choose from if you’re looking to advertise on Instagram, here is a quick overview:

      • Brand awareness: Opt for this one if you would like to let people get to know your brand and increase your number of followers
      • Reach: This is best used if you are simply trying to get your ad in front of as many users as possible, in one particular geographic region for instance
      • Traffic: This option is good if you want to get people to read a blog or perform some action on your site
      • App installs: Direct users straight to the app store to download your app
      • Engagement: Want to get more likes and comments? Choose this objective. If you’d like one of your posts to go huge, this is your best bet
      • Video views: Get more eyes on your videos
      • Lead generation: Use this if your ad is focused on collecting information from users, like their email addresses
      • Conversions: If you run an e-commerce site wanting to get conversions (sales or some other goal), this option is relevant for you

Name your ad campaign & Define your audience

Once you select your marketing objective, you’ll be prompted to name your campaign. After that, it’s time to define your audience by creating a new ad set. Ad sets represent your audience as well as ad placement, budgeting and the advertising schedule. Keep in mind that it’s possible to make multiple ad sets within one campaign.

Give your ad set a name and get started with creating a new audience. Here, you can define the locations, ages, genders and languages you are interested in reaching. Besides that, you can also select ‘Custom Audiences’ or go for ‘Detailed Targeting’. Custom Audiences allows you to reach people that have interacted with you or that you already have some information from. This includes people who have visited your website or launched your app and performed certain actions there, for example. Besides these custom audiences, you can also allow Facebook to generate a Lookalike audience based on an audience you already know (like your subscribers).

Next, you can use the detailed targeting to include (or exclude) people based on their demographics, interests and even behaviors. For a complete overview of all the targeting options, check out our blog on getting the most out of your Instagram ads.

Once you scroll down a bit, you will see Placements. Edit placements and select the platform you want your ad to appear on. In this case, it’s Instagram. Keep in mind that in order to place an advertisement on Stories, you need to select Reach, Video views, Conversions, App installs or Traffic as your marketing objective. On the other hand, you have no limitations for objectives if you only want to have your ad show up on users’ feed.

Finally, the last setting you need to adjust within your ad set is the budget, schedule and delivery options. Your budget is how much you’re willing to spend on your advertisements in the auction. You can choose between setting either a daily or lifetime budget. Then, set your schedule and head over to your ad delivery options where you can set your bid amount and delivery type. If your budget is limited or you’re new to advertising, you can let your bid be set automatically. As for delivery type, standard is recommended though you can also opt for accelerated. Choose accelerated delivery if you have a very small window of opportunity and want to make sure that as many people as possible see your ad. Just be aware that this may use up significant budget very quickly! And that was it, you’re ready to move on and actually create the ad now.


Getting to the Creative Part

When it comes to creating the ad, you can choose to create a completely new one, or use an existing post from your brands’ Facebook page. No matter your decision, you should ensure that your photos or videos meet Facebook’s design requirements and are also high quality to appeal to the users when it pops up on their Instagrams! For advertisements in the feeds, Facebook recommends using images with a max resolution of 1936 x 1936 pixels, and for Stories 1080 x 1920.  

Remember to select photos or videos that fit with Instagram and it’s users. When we say this, we mean that sometimes simple is better. This isn’t really the place to post text heavy photos. In fact, Facebook reviews all images for the amount of text present in the visuals, and if it is too much, your ad won’t be delivered as much as it should, or it may not even be allowed to run in the first place. Instead, go for little to no text and content that is on brand, so it already matches what you have been posting organically on your Instagram account. Bright, clear, high resolution photos are your way to go.

After uploading your photo(s) or video, you simply need to add your caption (max 2200 characters) and select which call to action button you want to appear below the ad. If you add a call to action, you will be prompted to enter the website URL you want to lead users to. Your Instagram ad is now completely ready to go live! Once you confirm it, Facebook will review the ad and start delivering it on Instagram.  


Don’t Forget to Monitor Your Performance

After your ad has been turned on, it’s important to monitor various metrics to see where you can optimize the campaign further and help your ads to perform better.  The metrics that you pay attention to should, of course, be reflective of your marketing goals. When you first open the manager, you’re automatically shown the “Performance” metrics. This lets you see various metrics from the getgo like how many people saw your ad, the number of clicks it gained, and the amount spent, among others. These are pretty insightful, but you may want to customize your columns so you can only see the metrics that interest you the most.

We recommend always paying attention to Amount Spent, Results, Cost Per Results and Relevance Score, regardless of your objective. Here are a few other metrics you should add to your columns based on your marketing objective:

      • Brand awareness: Frequency, Impressions, Reach, CPM
      • Reach: Reach, Cost per 1,000 people reached
      • App installs: App installs, Mobile app installs, Cost per app install, Cost per mobile app install
      • Traffic: Cost, Link Clicks, CTR (Link), CPC (Link)
      • Engagement: Post reactions, Post comments, Post engagement, Post Shares
      • Video Views: 3-second view views, 10-second video views, Video watches at 25%, Video watches at 75% Video watches at 100%, Video average watch time, Clicks to play video, Cost per click to play video
      • Lead Generation: Website Leads, Cost per website lead
      • Conversions: Link Clicks, Website purchases, Landing page views, Cost per Website Conversion, Adds to cart, Cost per Website conversion

Keep a close eye on your advertisements to ensure you are spending budget wisely. If you notice your advertisements are underperforming, you need to consider why this is the case. If you have multiple ad sets, and one outperforms the other, think about what makes these two different. Is it the targeting, the creatives, the scheduling? These are the questions you have to consistently ask yourself, and adjust accordingly until you start getting the desired results with Instagram Ads. Now that you have been familiarised with the Ads Manager, creating ads and monitoring them, you have all the tools you need to get started with Instagram Advertising! 


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