Instagram’s rise has been both rapid and unexpected in equal measure. Launched into a congested social media marketplace in 2010, another photo-hosting service initially seemed superfluous. Yet Instagram attracted a million users within its first two months and was acquired in 2012 by Facebook for $1 billion.
Today, Instagram is an undisputed social media heavyweight. Its 600 million active monthly users are split evenly between the sexes, with a growing number of older users complementing a vast under-35 audience. Its camera logo has become ubiquitous in the background of sports interviews and red carpet events, while celebrities are increasingly using it as their social media platform of choice. Given this remarkable market penetration, advertising on Instagram clearly represents a compelling business model. But how do you do it, and what do you need to know?
As a Facebook-owned platform, it’s no surprise that advertising on Instagram has become a major focus of revenue raising. Indeed, it’s covered in depth in the Facebook Help Centre, as well as on the Instagram website. Companies wishing to undertake advertising on Instagram need a Facebook page to create a business profile on the subsidiary platform, while the ability to customise adverts relies on monitoring on both Facebook and Instagram itself. Meanwhile, the parent company’s expertise at recording consumer interests and patterns of behaviour has also been devolved to Instagram’s Business division.
In essence, advertising on Instagram can take three forms:
1 Conventional photo ads in square or landscape format (but not screen-filling portrait mode)
2 Video ads that can last up to a minute with accompanying soundtracks
3 Slideshow ads where up to five images or videos can be horizontally swiped within a carousel
Each option will be displayed beneath your brand name and the word Sponsored, although a well-executed campaign should be stylish enough to blend in with a typical Instagram timeline. Response rates are higher (and exasperation levels lower) than with more overt forms of online advertising.
Deciding how to advertise involves profiling your business in Facebook and creating an Instagram ad in Facebook Ads Creator. Instagram is basically the platform used to display the finished product, once marketing objectives have been identified. These can range from brand awareness and reach through to video views, store visits or lead generation. It’s then necessary to determine who the preferred audience should be, which can involve general profiling by age and location or specific targeting by interests, ethnicity and even life events. Then you must decide where to display the ads, and what daily/lifetime budget to follow – Facebook will recommend an optimal cost-per-click setting if you’re unsure. Finally, the advert itself can be created and the campaign launched.
It’s possible to have multiple advertising campaigns running simultaneously, though concentrating on one campaign will ensure it achieves its full potential. Progress can be logged through the Ads Manager in Facebook My Business, detailing everything from expenditure to click-throughs. Unsuccessful campaigns can be edited and revised at any time, helping to ensure ad spend achieves worthwhile results.
Are you ready to start promoting? We would love to hear your advertising thoughts!