If a social network has over a billion users, it’s safe to say that a lot of business is happening on it. Instagram is so widely popular with both brands and consumers that the numbers are astonishing—a solid 72% of its user base has purchased from a business they saw on the app. Now, that’s a lot of people and really worth a double take. It’s come to a point where Instagram is now even testing a Shopping column in the Explore tab (go take a look, we’ll wait) that curates a feed full of products and services tailored to your interests.
This tells us two things:
– Marketing on Instagram is here to stay
– It’s time to consider an Instagram ad strategy if you haven’t already
Of course, we aren’t here to merely point out the glaring facts and figures like how over 2 million ads buzz around on the platform every single day. We’re going to give you a walkthrough on how to push an ad on Instagram to market your brand. We’ll cover the basics—everything you’ll need, how it’s done, what you can expect from it.
A quick head’s up: If your target audience is not on Instagram, it makes little sense to channel your marketing spend into these ads. So take a look at where your audience is, and if Instagram is the place to take your time and resources to.
Getting started with Instagram ads
While any guide on the Internet will give you a laundry list of things you need to do, we’re going to try to make it a little less scary. So here’s the good news first—it’s not always a complicated process and, yes, you can do it on your own terms. This means you can run your advertisement on Instagram even if:
- You don’t have an Instagram account – Just a Facebook account and access to Ad Manager will do.
- Your brand’s Instagram account is set to private – The caveat here is that your ads are only visible to your followers.
- You don’t want to deal with the complex Facebook Ad Manager – It’s called “Promoted Posts” and we’ll talk about it later in this article.
Of course, the ideal scenario is that you have an Instagram account tied to the ad that’s going live—to help you get leads—and your account is set to public mode, which helps get more visibility.
Above all, we insist that you get yourself an Instagram Business account—you just need to ensure that your brand’s Facebook Page and Instagram profile are linked up. This also makes life easier, because both platforms work in parallel, with some shared features (like Stories) and both require the same Facebook Ad Manager for running advertisements and campaigns.
So whether you’re running an ad, promoting a post, or trying to optimize your business with a third-party Instagram marketing tool, you’ll need a business profile. It not only lets you add your CTAs but also generates analysis that can be useful to your business. You can run an Instagram ad from:
- The app itself
- Facebook Ad Manager
- Instagram partners
In this guide, we’ll show you how to run ads natively from the app and Ad Manager, so you’re not dependent on thirty-party partners.
Types of Instagram Ads
1. Promoted Posts
The simplest way to run an advertisement on Instagram is to promote an existing post—all it requires is an Instagram Business Account. Promoted Posts are useful if you:
a. Don’t have the time for the elaborate Ad Manager
b. Prioritize Instagram less than other networks
c. Urgently need to promote a post for your brand
To create a promoted post:
Step 1: Click the Promote button beneath the post you’d like to promote
Step 2: Choose your ad priority. There are two options here: Get more profile and website visits and Reach people near an address
Step 3: In the next section, you need to pick your CTA button (Learn More or Sign up, for instance), set your budget, choose your desired audience, and set the campaign duration.
Note: Based on the fields you’ve filled in, Instagram will give you an estimate of how many people the campaign can potentially reach.
2. Ad Campaigns
Traditional Instagram ads are more comprehensive, they offer many more targeting options, and can be run via different platforms. Yes, that means this section is going to be a bit bigger.
You can run four types of ads on Instagram:
a. Picture – These are simple one-image ads that you can set up once you have an ad banner ready. Ensure you have the right aspect ratio, so your ad is flawless and viewers can focus on the content. These ads allow you to fill in two lines of content and add a CTA button.
b. Video – With a 60-second length and 4GB of space, you can run a full-fledged video advertisement on Instagram to really capture your audience. Don’t worry, for more details on the size and resolution requirements, Facebook has you covered here.
c. Carousal – An extended version of picture ads, carousal helps you display many images in a row, with the option for the user to swipe through and see all the ad banners. You can include up to 10 images here, with the same aspect ratio requirement as the picture ads.
d. Stories – Why not slide into their Stories and give them an eye-full of your brand? That’s probably why Instagram Stories has over 200 million visits every day—cause it works! And it’s fairly easy to navigate from set-up to swipe-up!
How to set up an Instagram ad with Facebook Ad Manager
Step 1 – Connect your brand’s Instagram with Facebook Ad Manager. Here, you can either add an existing Instagram account or create a new one.
You can create, edit and manage your ad directly on the Ad Manager. Once you’ve completed the set-up, you can proceed.
Step 2 – Set marketing objectives
Now choose what you want to accomplish with the ad. You can choose from three broad objectives: Awareness, Consideration, and Conversation. Most Instagram ads fall under the Consideration segment, with five available marketing optimizations: Traffic, Engagement, App installs, Video views or Lead generation.
Step 3 – Name your campaign
We don’t need to explain this one for you, do we?
Step 4 – Set the target audience
You can customize the target audience for any of your ads based on various parameters like demographics, interests, specific exclusions, and more, to ensure your ad is being viewed by the right people.
Step 5 – Select placements
Here you can choose where the ad will appear. Automatic placements will spread the ad across all available slots, including on Facebook. However, if you want to specifically run an Instagram-exclusive ad, choose Edit Placements and select where you want your ad to be displayed.
You can even set the devices you want to display ads on, for example, mobile-only, where your ad will only be displayed on mobile devices.
Step 6 – Set a budget and schedule
You can either set a daily budget or a lifetime (total) budget for the ad. Here you can also determine the schedule—from when to when you want to run the ad.
Step 7 – Optimize your ad
After setting a budget, you can optimize the ad’s placement and frequency based on which of these is your goal: Link clicks, Landing page views, Impressions, Daily unique reach.
Step 8 – Set up the content specifications
Now it’s time to upload the required specifics that will go along with your ad. These are crucial details and include the website URL, caption text, and CTA. The following CTA options are available on Ad Manager:
- Apply Now
- Book Now
- Call Now
- Contact Us
- Get Directions
- Learn More
- Get Showtimes
Note: If there’s an issue with your video size or image’s aspect ratio, you’ll be alerted so you can go back and fix it.
Step 9 – Choose a representative
Here you can actually determine which entity you want to run the ad campaign through – your Facebook Page, or your Instagram Profile. If you’ve also chosen to run the ad on Facebook, you can only run it from your FB Page, but on Instagram, you can use either the FB Page or your Instagram handle to represent the ad.
Step 10 – Choose the media type and upload media
Next, choose between image or video formats, and you can now go ahead and upload the file. From here you can also customize the thumbnail for view ads.
Step 11 – Review your ad
Here’s the most important part a lot of us seem to take for granted—double checking to see if all the specifics are correct and aligned to your needs.
Step 12 – Push live
Voila—your ad is now live!
And that’s about it. I mean, we know there are quite a few steps, but isn’t it easier than you imagined?
Figuring out how the Instagram ad machine works not only helps you run your own ads without needing to outsource the job or depend on a third party, but it also helps you truly understand what works best for your business on the social network.