2021 Guide to Instagram Ads

2021 Guide to Instagram Ads

You’re probably here because you’ve done ads through Google, Facebook, or even YouTube, and haven’t started on Instagram, or you just want to find out more about advertising on Instagram.

Then you’ve come to the right place. Regardless of whether you’re unsure how your ROI would turn out, or if you just dismissed the idea completely, we’re here to give you everything you need to know about Instagram ads and get you started.

What is Instagram Advertising?

To date, Instagram has over 1 billion users, and it’s only going to keep growing from here on. With so many people online at any given time, targeting just a mere fraction of that population to market your content will yield huge ROI with a successful approach.

instagram statistics

Source: Statista

Instagram Ads are posts-that businesses pay to reach a wider, more targeted audience-with sponsored content.

Like how Facebook Ads work, Instagram Ads appear on a user’s home feed, Stories and Explore. They come with a sponsored label to differentiate it from a normal post and include interactive elements that users can use to find more about your business.

You should use Instagram if your marketing goals include:

How do Instagram Ads work?

Like many social advertising platforms, Instagram provides businesses with control over their advertised content and demographic, such as:

  • Setting a budget, and update at any time
  • Adjustable targeting options (age group, interest, location etc.)
  • Track ad performance
  • Ads Manager to turn any post into an ad (cross-platform compatibility)

The best thing about all this, is Instagram uses Facebook’s demographic data when targeting appropriate audiences to show your content to. You’ll be getting the simplicity of Instagram’s interface, while making use of Facebook’s user data assets.

instagram audience

Source: Instagram

There are also many types of advertising formats for you to choose from:

  • Image
  • Stories
  • Video
  • Explore
  • IGTV
  • Shopping
  • Reels

You are free to experiment and choose the format that fits your marketing goal, and each option has its own interactive elements and call-to-action buttons. These include “Subscribe”, “Download”, “Book Now”, and “Learn More”, to name a few.

insstagram call to action

Source: Instagram

What are the Costs?

Instagram’s ads are priced based on a bidding, or auction system. Prices vary based on the content’s industry, Cost-per-click, and Cost-per-impressions. For example, although the average cost-per-click is $0.50, competitive industries such as Fashion and F&B can cause the cost of the ad to soar to over $3 per click. Festive seasons and holidays also affect the pricing, such as Christmas and Black Friday.

instagram ad costs

Source: AdEspresso

However, you can control the amount you are spending by allocating a daily budget, over the duration of the advertising campaign. Instagram also offers scheduling; specify what time of the day you want your ad to appear.

The verdict is, Instagram ads will cost you more than Facebook Ads, but they often have higher engagement as they are much more targeted.

Getting Started

There are 2 ways to start advertising on Instagram.

The first, and simplest way, is to promote your existing post on Instagram itself. It takes only a few steps and you’re good to go, but you’re not given the same customization options as the latter.

The second way is to use Instagram’s Ads Manager, and you are given access to the full range of customization options.

  1. Simply go to Instagram for Business and click Create an Ad on the top right corner and log in with your personal or business Facebook account to start your advertisement campaign.
  2. Prepare the content (images or video) to be advertised.
  3. Choose the format that aligns with your marketing goals.
  4. Add details to complete your ad’s identity, format and related links.
  5. Preview and submit your ad for review, it will appear on Instagram once it has been approved.

Good Practices

Now that you’ve got the gist of how Instagram Ads work, here are some tips and good practices to help you make the best Instagram Ads and get the highest ROIs possible.

1. Content and Context

Be sure of the content you are creating for Instagram fits the audience. Because it is mainly an image and video sharing platform, what works for Facebook or Twitter wouldn’t necessarily work for Instagram.

Avoid text heavy content, and if you really must, be sure you make it interesting enough to keep people reading till the end.

2. Use #Hastags

Find out which Hastags are currently trending and are more likely searched by your target audience. You can also get creative and create your own tags that tie all your content together to make it easier for users to find other content by you.

instagram hashtags

3. Do giveaways or contests

This is one of the more effective ways of promoting your content to a wider audience. People always love the idea of freebies and getting people to repost or share to stand a winning chance can make your content known to users outside of your target audience.


4. Know when to post

With some simple research or trial and error, you will be able to find out the optimal hours of the day to post your content. Getting people at the right time plays an important part in the amount of engagement you’re getting. Important factors include the time of day, day of the week, and season, such as holidays.

You can also make use of Instagram’s ad-schedule feature that makes this a lot easier.

5. Make your content mobile-friendly

Most Instagram users are on their mobile devices; it is important that the content you create is optimized for mobile viewing.

Instagram dimensions by default are either a 1080x1080px (1:1) Post, 1080x1350px (4:5) Portrait, or 1080x1920px (9:16) Story.

You wouldn’t want bits of your image or video to be cropped out in unwanted places, so stick to the ratios when you are making your content.

6. Sound

Sound design plays an important role in capturing your audience’s attention, but with Instagram, you can expect at least half of your audience to have their sound off when watching content.

This doesn’t mean you can skip on sound design to appeal to those who enjoy watching content with sound on. To reach both groups of people, create captions over narratives or scripts, or have text overlays that go together with your sound to deliver your message successfully.

Looking for more inspiration or need more help with your campaign? Consult us today and let us help you optimize all your digital marketing content in one place.

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