The Ultimate Guide to Instagram Ads 2021

Is your brand struggling to get the desired amount of organic engagement on Instagram? Well, opting for Instagram ads can be a great solution to this problem. This guide is going to walk you through every aspect of running an Instagram ad. That is surely going to help your brand in getting the desired result. Dive in to learn more.!

“We get to live in a time where we get to use Social Media as a tool.”- Gigi Hadid.

As rightly stated by Gigi Hadid, social media has now become an imperative tool in our daily life. Instead of being a luxury, it has become a commodity. And this commodity has allowed businesses to soar to new heights, thanks to social media advertising. 

However, one of the most prominent aspects of advertising is using visual cues. So how about using the platform that is explicitly made for image sharing, i.e. Instagram? Using advertising on Instagram, you can bring your products in front of the right people by defining the target audience on social media.

So, how does it work? Let’s find out!

What are Instagram ads?

Instagram ads

Instagram ads are the posts or stories that you see while scrolling through your feed. You can identify them because they will have the “Sponsored” tag right under the page name. Furthermore, the post itself will have a CTA button to redirect you to their desired landing page. 

How much do Instagram ads cost?

Just like the MRP or MSRP of a product has several determining components, so do Instagram Ads. For instance, the cost of running an Instagram Ad depends on the following factors:

Instagram ads cost

  • Audience targeted: The kind of audience you are targeting plays a significant role in determining the type of ad, its success rate, and pretty much everything about the cost. The more precise you get, the higher the price will be.
  • Placement: Placement of ad is another marker of the success rate. This means whether the ad will appear on Facebook, Instagram, or both. Depending on which option you choose, the prices will increase or decrease.
  • Format: The ad format, i.e. whether it’s a post, story, IGTV, or Reel, all determine the kind of costs you will incur. Each type of ad needs a different type of processing before it goes live, and hence more complicated ads take longer.
  • Time of the Year: If you are advertising during the holidays, be prepared to loosen your pockets. With the higher traffic around the holidays, Instagram does not shy away from charging higher than usual for running an ad. 

On average, you will be spending around $2.2- $3.5 per ad on Instagram. But, the good part is that Instagram offers a wide variety of choices based on your budget. So, whether you have $5 to throw around, or $50,000, there are a whole lot of things you can get. 

Types of Instagram ads

Types of Instagram ads

As we stated before, there are several types of ads that you can run on Instagram based on the kind of post. Besides that, there are several types of advertisements based on ad categories. The following are the most preferred types of ads:

  • Stories ads: If you are browsing through stories regularly, you might have come across a “promoted” or a “sponsored” Story. These are usually done to get an app download, a website visit, traffic, or just increase views on a video. They also use CTA’s like “Swipe Up”, “Apply Now”, “Buy Now”, among others.
  • Photo ads: Just like sharing photos on Instagram, photo ads are promoted or sponsored posts from a brand to raise awareness. These are also done for the same reasons as brand awareness, app downloads, general engagement, or redirect the traffic to a specific landing page. 

Photo ads

  • Video ads: Upto 1 minute long, video ads give the users a chance to understand what a product is, what problem it solves, and where to get it from in a well-defined manner. However, many videos fail to hook their users. The most significant purpose of using a video ad over a Story or Photo Ad is to improve lead generation and conversions by adding that emotional element of human interaction. 
  • Carousel ads: Just like a person goes through several product catalogues before finalising one in a store; Carousel ads aim to do the same. The main aim is to showcase several products to entice the user enough to follow through to the ad’s intention, which can be as simple as just getting them to visit the landing page. However, the primary goal of carousel ads is mainly to generate better conversions for the brand. 
  • Collection ads: Collection ads are the newest kind of ads wherein the users can make the purchase directly from the ad instead of being redirected anywhere. It reduces the time to redirect them to a separate page and purchase the Instagram Instant Experience Storefront. 

Collection ads

  • Explore ads: With more than half of the audience on Instagram using the Explore tab, it makes perfect sense to place an ad there. However, there is no ad in the Explore tab. Instead, it is disguised as a post that can hook the user to complete the intended action. 
  • IGTV ads: Instagram has announced that even IGTV will be able to host ads. While a lot is yet to be known about it, the bottom line is that it will allow video advertisers to showcase their products and skills for longer durations. 
  • Instagram Shopping ads: Instagram Shopping ads allow the brands to set up a storefront first through which sales can happen. It will enable the users to land directly on the product description page within Instagram. They can then be redirected to purchase via your website, or through Instagram itself, as per your intentions from the ad.

With these kinds of ads, Instagram has given advertisers all the tools that they can use to garner more audience and increase their sales.

How to choose the best Instagram ads type?

How to choose the best Instagram ad type

Choosing the type of ads is best left looking at metrics. The first step in determining the ad type is to determine the audience and its interests. Then, using analytics and metrics, you will be able to draw out actionable insights on what kind of content your target audience interacts with the most. 

It might seem like an individual type of ad, an amalgamation of several, or a well-defined dosage of all types of ads depending on the advertising budget.

Hence, determining the best kind of ad is best left to metrics and analytics. To generate those metrics, you can run a few low-cost ads of different types and understand the style to which your audience responded the most. 

“Social media is changing the world, and we are all witnessing it.”- Ian Somerhalder.

How to advertise on Instagram?

How to advertise on Instagram

Instagram does not have a dedicated UI for ads. Instead, it uses the Facebook Ad manager for running ads. So, make sure you have set up the Facebook Ads account before you start using it for Instagram. Thankfully, publishing an ad can be accomplished in 5 steps. The following are those- 

  • Determine and set the target audience: This cannot be stressed enough; showing up to the right people can make or break the advertising campaign. Using data analytics, metrics, and real-time data about the user persona, you can determine the perfect audience for yourself. 

You can use metrics like geography, gender, interests, behaviors, age, and other demographics to make the target audience well defined. 

  • Set the marketing objective: After determining the target audience, it is time to define the objective of your campaign. Without an end goal, the campaign is a recipe for disaster. For example, your objective could be brand awareness, lead generation, impressions, conversions, traffic, or app installs, to name a few. 

Set the marketing objective

Once you define the type of action intended, the Instagram and Facebook Algorithm automatically mould the post to be presented to the user to fulfil the objective. 

  • Choose the placements: Though Facebook does not offer a choice in placing the ads on the scrolling spectrum, it does offer a choice in choosing which platform it shows upon. The default setting is both platforms, but you can just decide to target one platform or both.

The decision for this will be derived highly from the insights you drew while determining the target audience. Whichever platform offers a higher number of users of your target audience, you can choose here. 

  • Set the Budget and Schedule: Once you have determined the purpose of your ad and the placement, it is time to set the budget. If you have dabbled with Google AdWords, you might not find it challenging to select the daily budget and the cost per click for the post. If not, you are going to have a slight learning curve to it. 

Here you have to decide the tenure or schedule of the ad running along with the budget. This means you are choosing a lump sum expenditure or a daily expenditure as well. If you run a lean model business, then the daily expenditure route is the way to go. Otherwise, a lump sum might also be up your alley. 

  • Publish the ad: After setting all the parameters for the Instagram Ads, you can publish it. Write a catchy title/caption for it to entice and excite your audience and then publish it. 

During publishing, Facebook will also offer a couple of publishing formats to choose from. Depending on the objective of your campaign, you can select the type of ad and then simply publish it. 

Bonus Tricks for Successful Instagram Ads

Tricks for Successful Instagram Ads

  • Switch to a Business Profile: It allows more connectivity with the followers, offers insights for stories, posts, and videos, and offers metrics over long term usage.
  • Post Teasers: To drive more sales through your ads, post teasers, trailers and build hype through ads for your users. It will not only generate traction for the product but also raise brand awareness.
  • Partner with Influencers: This is another excellent route. Suppose you have managed to develop a spectacular product and kickstart the sales, partner with your industry influencers, and use them to promote your product via the ads. Chances are, their presence will drive better sales and instil trust in your audience about the brand.
  • Use actual user photos: Sometimes, you can use real user promotions to drive sales to entice users. Instead of you doing the talking or marketing, use the images or videos from your pre-existing users to do it for you. 
  • Introduce your own hashtag: If you have a good presence in the market, you can use that to your benefit to come up with your own hashtag. Then, pretty much as #metoo happened, you can make your very own hashtag trend with a unique challenge associated with it.

Introduce your own hashtag

  • Be consistent and post at the right time: As with other facets of social media, consistency is critical. Instead of erratic publishing, set a content calendar with a set time wherein your audience presence is the maximum and would increase your chances of a successful ad campaign. 

“We can get an army of people through social media to bring about change.”- Sir Richard Branson.

In Short, Are Instagram Ads Useful?

Yes! Instagram ads are opening the arena to a more visual approach to presenting products in front of your audience. Visual cues combined with emotionally driven content in the ad are the winning cues, and many businesses are using it to their advantage. 

You can do it too! So get out there, and get published!

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