Ads on Instagram: they are incredibly underpriced if we may believe mister Gary Vee. Advertisement costs will go up soon, is his prediction, and I think he might be right. Because yes, Instagram advertisements are cheap. But are they effective? That’s a whole different question.
To find out, I wanted to do a test with my current clients accounts. But since reviewing test results takes a little time – you first need to create the ads, then run them, then check the results, obviously – I decided to just do some online research. What are the options with Instagram Advertising? By looking at this before going crazy with an ad budget myself, I’ll also be sure to optimize our own results.
How to use ads on Instagram?
First of all, you need to decide what you want to achieve by spending advertising money on Instagram. Instagram gives you 8 different objectives and it’s wise to truly spend some time thinking about this. Why? Because Instagram will optimize your post and try to find the right target audience based upon this objective.
You can choose between:
- Brand awareness: Instagram will try to create more brand awareness by targeting people who might be interested in your brand
- Reach: Instagram will try to help you reach more people who might be interested in your brand by broadening the general reach (less brand-specific then option 1)
- Traffic: drive traffic to your website. You’ll be able to add a click-through-button that direct people immediately to your website.
- App installs: drive traffic to your app and get more members and/or downloads. You’ll be able to add a click-through-button that direct people immediately to your website or the app store.
- Engagement: Instagram will try to drive more engagement to your account by promoting your posts among Instagram users that are more likely to like/comment.
- Video views: boost your views by getting more people to watch your video. How this is truly different from number 1 or 2 is a question I can’t really answer. I guess choosing this option when you’re boosting a video will help Instagram to identify a better public – maybe one that’s more likely to watch videos.
- Lead generation: collect information from users, like their email addresses, by promoting an offer. Add a button that lets people fill in their details in exchange for, for example, a freebie or voucher. This is a tremendous ad option for hotels.
- Conversions: optimize for people completing a specific action like buying a specific item.
What formats are available?
There are 5 formats for Instagram Ads. You can choose between:
- Photo Ads: the promotion of a normal photo in landscape or square format.
- Video Ads: the promotion of videos (up to 60 seconds long) shot in landscape or square format
- Carousel Ads: two to ten images and/or videos that users can view by swiping through them. Good for showing off multiple aspects, like different hotel rooms or various meals.
- Slideshow Ads: a series of still images which play as a video, like a slideshow. Text and audio can be added too.
- Stories Ads: the promotion of an Instagram Story (an image or video which will ‘self-destruct’ after 24 hours, if not saved to an account’s highlights)
Not all formats will be available though: this depends on the objective you picked.
How to target?
Instagram offers your basically the same options for targeting users as Facebook does. You can create audiences based on location, demographics, interests, behavior and lookalike audiences (by uploading an e-mail list of current followers).
But does it work?
That’s the question. I honestly can’t answer this question yet. So far I haven’t seen outrageous results for De Koffieschenkerij – where we used a very small advertising budget to boost a job vacancy post. This might be because the post is visually not that engaging. However: we did get a lot of impressions on the post. But most of them were organic views.
I’d be curious to try out Instagram Advertising some more. Especially with videos or vouchers (option 7). Therefore I hope to create a follow-up post on this one in a couple of months, when I’ve tried some more myself.
I went looking for some best practices and found a couple of websites highlighting successful campaigns. Instead of re-writing their content, I’m just going to link you to these articles. The blogs also do a good job at explaining why these particular ads are pretty good. So, you can check them yourself if you’re interested:
I’ve no idea where to start!
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