The Beginner’s Guide to Advertising on Instagram

“We just need to be seen.”

The six words every marketer obsesses over when it comes to social media.

Especially as of late, with the continued decline of organic reach and the dramatic shifts on Facebook. The challenges have been numerous and the solutions not always obvious.

When it comes down to it, every marketer needs their brand or business to be seen on social media to experience success. Engagement and conversions rely on users being able to view the content in the first place. That’s why I think it’s smart to consider advertising on Instagram as a way to increase brand exposure, direct users to your website, and generate new leads.

Whether you’ve done some social media advertising already, or you’re the new kid on the block, this beginner’s guide to advertising on Instagram will give you an overview of why it’s worth your time and some best practices to follow along the way.

Beginner’s Guide to Instagram Advertising: Why It’s Worth Your Time

Advertising on Instagram is the surefire way to get your content seen by users on the platform. In fact, brands that publish content on Instagram experience the highest engagement of any other platform, including Facebook. Higher engagement means more users will see the ad, thus more opportunity for brands to create awareness, grow sales, and earn new customers.

Conveniently, Instagram uses Facebook’s treasure chest of demographic data to target ads to the exact audience you specify. This is extremely valuable for marketers who want to advertise on Instagram. For example, if you want your content to be seen by males older than 18 who live in urban areas, play video games, and have an interest in snack foods, you can do it with Instagram’s precise targeting capabilities.

With pinpoint accuracy comes control over who sees your ads. This increases the likelihood of your content resonating with the users most likely to convert. When you can assert more control over your content, you increase the chances of getting a good return on your marketing spend.

Finally, advertising on Instagram can be done through your Facebook account, using Ads Manager or Power Editor features. If you’ve advertised on Facebook before, this will literally require just a few extra clicks. The platform works the same way, so you can manage all your Facebook and/or Instagram advertising through the same account. Don’t worry if you haven’t used Facebook’s advertising tools yet; with a little time and commitment, you can learn to navigate your way through it.

Best Practices for Advertising on Instagram

Learn to Fit In

The number one rule when advertising your content on Instagram is to fit in. By this, I mean your content needs to feel organic, even though it isn’t. Since Instagram is a highly visual social media platform, you’ll want to use high-quality images and video to promote your brand or business. Avoid using text on your images, and save it for the text box below. 

Wow Bao, a popular restaurant chain, does a beautiful job making their sponsored content (paid ad) feel like it naturally belongs in the feed:

Make It Entertaining

Instagram users expect to be entertained on Instagram. They don’t want to read your whitepaper or case study; they want to be amused and they want to engage.

To help your ads appeal to the 1 billion monthly Instagram users, think of ways you can make your posts fun and exciting. Perhaps you can use emotion to draw users closer, or draw on current events to make your content hyper-relevant.

Keep in mind this platform is driven by visuals, so you’ll need to approach your ads differently. Not to mention, text ads aren’t even available here.

Use Links to Your Website

The inability to use links in Instagram posts has long been a thorn in the side of its users. When you engage with the advertising side of Instagram, however, you’re granted the freedom to include links with your content.

Look for opportunities to direct users to your website or specific landing page by using links that make sense. “Learn More,” “Sign Up,” or “Request Info” are some ways you can move interested parties to the next step.

Calm encourages users to download its meditation app using Instagram ads.

Host Contests and Giveaways

With one of the most engaged social media audiences, Instagram is the perfect place to host your contest or giveaway. Not only will it grab the attention of users, but when you pay to promote it you’re likely to go much farther.

Other than engagement, think of other ways you can benefit from contests and giveaways, like gathering information about those who engage. If you’re asking users to enter your contest, ask them for their names and email addresses in return.

Conclusion

When you’re just starting out with social media advertising, it can be overwhelming to learn the ins and outs of each platform. Give some thought to advertising on Instagram, and use this beginner’s guide to get you on the path to getting seen on social media. Look at other brands whose ads stand out to you for inspiration, and take some tips from Simplilearn’s Social Media Marketing certification training

About the Author

Rob SandersRob Sanders

Rob Sanders is a digital marketing veteran with over 20 years of experience. During that time, Rob has helped a wide range of companies utilize new and emerging technologies to increase sales and profitability. As founder of RSO Consulting, Rob helps clients maximize their digital marketing efforts via SEO, SEM, SMO, and Web Analytics. He is responsible for many facets of the web analytics value chain, from identifying business goals and objectives to developing strategies and translating those into Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Rob also teaches digital marketing and analytics classes throughout the U.S. and abroad. As a contributor for Simplilearn, Rob creates expert thought leadership content on a variety of digital marketing and analytics topics.

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