Instagram Ads: A Step-by-Step Guide
Digital Marketing Instagram marketing Internet Advertising Social media marketing

Instagram Ads: A Step-by-Step Guide

This is needless to say that Instagram is a fast growing social media network and has grown by multiple folds in years gone by, providing marketers another platform to reach out to their target audience. The good news is, that paid promotion on Instagram is no way different than on Facebook. You know what I mean if you have dealt with both in the past. After Facebook took over the platform in 2012, both the platforms merged conveniently, making setting up the ad campaigns on either merely the difference of a few clicks.

Well, you might ask why is it even necessary to run ads on Instagram, here is my answer-

  1. The platform is growing its popularity and database multiple folds and recently surpassed the benchmark of 500 million monthly active users, out of which 60% of its users log in daily making it the 2nd most engaged network after Facebook.
  2. With the fact that 90% of its users are millennials, this platform provides advertisers access to this sought after demographic at a different scale altogether.
  3. Stats say that mobile is the dominating device when it is about the digital media consumption and Instagram being a mobile-first platform is an advantage for marketers.
  4. Instagram allows advertisers to integrate their ads with the native content that users are anyways seeing on their feed. Native ads format are less intrusive unlike ads on most of the mobile apps and received well by users.
  5. Unlike other social media networks, the user experience on Instagram is self-contained inside the app. Usage of the links to external pages is less and traffic is flowing back and forth on the news feed.
  6. 58% of brands are on Instagram and engagement with them on this platform is 10 times higher than Facebook, 54 times higher than Pinterest, and 84 times higher than Twitter.
  7. Over a third of Instagram users have used their mobile to purchase a product online– making them 70% more likely to do so than non-users

Instagram Ads - A step-by-step guide

Image Source: AdRoll

Excited, aren’t you? So, let’s understand more about ‘Ads on Instagram’ –

Type of ads you can run on Instagram:

  1. Image Ads– enable advertisers to tell their stories in a still image format showing people a visual inspiration.
  2. Video Ads– enable advertisers to inspire people through the use of sight, sound and motion in a 60 seconds video bite.
  3. Carousel Ads– enable advertisers to use multiple images or videos (maximum up to 5) to demonstrate the depth of their stories (see the image below).
  4. Dynamic Ads– enable advertisers to import their entire product catalogue to Instagram and promote relevant products to shoppers who have browsed their website or mobile app.

Instagram Ads: A Step-by-Step Guide

Image Source:

All 4 different types of ads bring different set and combination of call-to-action buttons.

Objectives you can accomplish for your business:

To get the best results from your ad campaign, it is important that you select the correct objective from a wide list of objectives given. For example you can select starting from an objective of Reach and Frequency when your focus is more on reaching a large audience with your message, Page Post Engagement if you want to get people to engage with your ad, Video Views if you want to get more people to watch your video and showcase your products, ideas, etc. through the video, Clicks to Website to send people to your website, Mobile App Installs  to get people to install your app, to the option of Local Awareness and Store Visits to reach people near your business and drive them into your store, etc.

The success of your campaign and a good ROI will depend upon your selection of campaign objective which should be based on what exactly you want to achieve as the end result.

The step-by-step guide for setting up Instagram ad campaign-

1- You can promote your recent and past posts directly by clicking on ‘Promote’ button given below each post, on Instagram itself. But to run ad campaigns, you will have to select a tool from the 2 available options – Ads Manager or Power Editor, considering both your company size and the number of ads you plan to run.

2- Once you are done with tool selection, click on ‘create a new campaign’ and choose a campaign objective from the given list. Name your campaign following a naming convention so that it’s easy for you and others in your team to recognise the campaign without going inside it.

3- If you are just starting with the ads, you might not know exactly which Audience you should target. And this knowledge will come with time and experiments. However, you can use basic targeting options like, Location, Age, Gender, Work etc. to create an audience.

PRO TIP: Work more on crafting your customer’s persona. Male or female, studying or working, business or job, etc. Create more than 1 audience and test them. This will not only help you with reaching out to the right audience but also reduce your CPA. Once you cross that initial stage, do not just depend on saved audiences, but create custom audience (targeting your website visitors) and lookalike audience (targeting your email database) for remarketing.

4- Set your placement, which in this case will only be ‘Instagram’. This is one factor that will differentiate your Instagram ads from Facebook ads.

5- Set your budget choosing an option from daily or lifetime. Keep in mind that upon your selection, the algorithm will automatically pace your spending in that period of time. Set your schedule to choose exactly when you want your campaign to start and end, down to the minute.

6- Set your optimisation, bid amount and delivery schedule in sync with your main campaign objective.

7- Set your Ad creative, which will depend on what you want your ad to look like and should be in sync with your original objective, of course.

PRO TIP: Never assume, always experiment and do that with the craziest ideas ever. Make sure that you get started with at-least 2 different images and 2 different ad copies. That leaves you with 4 variations. And then see which one is working better than the others. A/B testing is the key to running successful ad campaigns.

8- Set your page. You can run ads on Instagram even if you don’t have an account there, in which case, the ads will just come from your Facebook page instead and your Facebook page name and profile picture will be used to represent your business within your ad as it runs on Instagram.

PRO TIP: I would highly recommend you to have an Instagram account and connect it to your Facebook account in order to show your ads directly from your Instagram account if (a) creating a fan base on Instagram can be a big advantage for your brand and (b) your ad objective is not just one time objective.

9- Write the Ad Copy keeping it under 2200 character limit or under 125 character if you don’t want people to click on ‘more’ to read the entire text

PRO TIP: Integrate urgency to take action by using words like, limited period offer, early bird scheme, only for first 100 registrations, offer expires tomorrow etc. Address your users’ emotional side so that they can relate to your ad and pay attention. Give social proofs in your ad copy. People often have a fear while making buying decisions and that fear is of losing out on their money. Tell them that they are not experimenting buying your product and hundreds of others liked your product already. If you don’t have testimonials, leverage on your database (see the image below). Leave some stones unturned to create curiosity for them in your ad copy, which will create a desire in them to go one level ahead.

Instagram Ads - A step-by-step guide

Image Source: AdEspresso

10- Use an appropriate call-to-action. Remember using a CTA might not increase your CTR but will decrease the friction and tell people what exactly they should be doing after clicking on the landing page.

Do not forget that your ads have the potential to be seen by a large audience so preview the ad to cross check your settings and then place the order. Once your ads are up and running, keep an eye on how they’re performing. Go back, tweak or change the different aspects of your ad if you catch a mistake, scope of improvement or you think something isn’t doing as well as you’d like it to.

Like I mentioned earlier, Instagram is an amazing platform to reach particular target audiences especially for a B2C brand on mobile/ tablet devices. So, to make your campaigns more effective, mix your Instagram advertising strategy with your mobile advertising strategy and see the magic.

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72 thoughts on “Instagram Ads: A Step-by-Step Guide

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