Instagram Ads – The most important in a nutshell
Instagram has become one of the most important social media platforms in recent years and plays an important role in social media marketing. Many people first think of promising influencer marketing here. However, Instagram also convinces with many other advertising options, such as placing ads that can be integrated directly into the user experience. Nowadays, companies almost can’t get around Instagram Ads if they want to advertise successfully. With many options, your business can be represented in an authentic way. In this article, you will learn what Instagram Ads actually mean, what costs are involved, how to place ads on the platform and much more.
Even if companies often have the feeling that the market has long since been overrun, there are various reasons why placing Instagram Ads is worthwhile for you. As a company, you should therefore take advantage of the many benefits of Instagram Ads for your success.
One important point why Instagram should not be ignored by businesses is that the platform is still part of people’s everyday lives. With over 21 million monthly active users in Germany alone, it’s easy to see that the network is one of the most popular social media channels. Reaching users in the middle of their everyday lives gives you the advantage that your ad will be met with greater acceptance, as it will be perceived as less of a nuisance.
Instagram is also known for serving as a source of inspiration for new products to a large number of people. Not only through influencers, but also through self-created ads with the help of the Ad Manager, a wide variety of products and services can be advertised on the platform and thus become visible to the masses. The chance of gaining new customers is enormously high. In addition, as a company, you don’t just reach any people. You reach exactly the target group you want to address.
On Instagram, there is still mainly a younger target group with 20-29 year olds, however, this does not mean that Instagram Ads are not worthwhile for other age groups. On the one hand, there is the possibility to reach the desired target group through precise targeting. On the other hand, the development of Facebook suggests that there will also be a shift in the age structure on Instagram and that older people will increasingly be represented there.
Around one third of the population in Germany actively uses Instagram. The topics that particularly interest users on the platform are travel, fashion, health and fitness, music, food and drink, movies and series, and technology. Accordingly, Instagram is particularly important for companies and brands with points of contact to enjoyment and lifestyle.
With the help of Instagram Ads, you as a company can use the full potential of the platform for yourself. In addition, the focus with Instagram Ads is on the most organic integration of the advertising in the feed of the users. Instagram Ads can be placed, for example, directly in the post feed, as a Story or on the user’s Explore page, where they blend in with organic, i.e. non-commercial content. Because of this unobtrusive type of advertising, Instagram Ads are viewed more positively compared to other advertising formats and show a high level of acceptance.
Another advantage of ads on Instagram is the simple administration. Due to the affiliation of Instagram and Facebook, both platforms are linked with each other, which means that ads can be created and placed via the same tool of the parent company Meta, the Meta Ads Manager (formerly Facebook Ads Manager). The fact that you can generate a high reach through Instagram is no secret. In addition, however, the social network also impresses with comparatively high engagement rates. This means that there is a high chance that users will not only see your ad, but also react to it. Of course, it is advantageous to present your offered products or services on Instagram also through creative and appealing visual content.
Because Facebook and Instagram belong together, both platforms use the same system for targeting ads. This gives you a powerful tool to precisely define your audience based on demographics, location-based characteristics, and interests and behaviors. Targeting using this data is good for acquiring new customers, provided you have a precise idea of your target group and its characteristics. The individually created target group can be saved and reused or adapted for later ads.
Another targeting option that Instagram Ads offers is retargeting via Custom Audience. This allows you to retarget people who have interacted with you before. This includes, among others, website visitors, as well as Facebook and Instagram users who, for example, follow your company page or business account or have liked/comment on your posts.
In addition, there is the possibility of targeting with Lookalike Audiences. This involves targeting people whose behavior and interests are similar to your company’s current remarketing list.
An advertising goal always depends on the specific business objectives. The top three advertising goals on Instagram include increasing reach as well as link clicks and interactions. Over 68% of the analyzed campaigns have these goals. However, this doesn’t exclude the possibility of achieving other advertising goals thanks to Instagram Ads. You can choose between:
Every business can customize their Instagram Ads to both hit the exact target audience they want and achieve their intended advertising goal.
The Instagram network offers you as a business various ad formats that you can use to market your business. But which formats are there and what are the respective advantages and disadvantages?
Photo ads are still popular, i.e. the classic ad that is played out to users in the feed. There are two different options here. On the one hand, you can advertise an already posted photo from your Instagram page. In the second option, extra photos are created for the ad, which would be worthwhile, for example, if you want to advertise a new product or service. Here, think of an appealing description under the photo. You also have the option to add your website link and a call-to-action button if you want to increase your conversions, for example.
In this ad format, up to ten photos or videos are integrated within the ad. This means the user can browse through them like a gallery. With a call-to-action button, you can encourage the viewer to click on your online store, for example. The ad format is particularly suitable if you want to use storytelling to tell a story, offer different insights into a specific area, or promote multiple products.
Meanwhile, Instagram Stories are seen as the highlight of the platform. The majority of users engage in watching the new Stories of their subscribers on a daily basis so as not to miss anything. Since Story Ads are played out very organically, users do not find them annoying. The ad is displayed in between all other Stories and is not visually different from them. If you want to advertise with this format, you should design your ad creatively and individually so that it gets the desired attention. A short video is preferable to a plain photo in this regard. Make sure that you create your ad in full-screen portrait format. You can also add a swipe-up link or link buttons to the ad so that users can click directly to your website if they are interested.
Reels Ads work similarly to Video Ads, but are even more popular among users. Nowadays, people are very busy, which makes them more likely to just keep scrolling if the video is too long. Therefore, the TikTok-inspired Reels feature allows users to post up to 30-second videos in portrait format. The short and snappy video posts have enormous potential to capture users’ attention and are one of the most modern ways for businesses to advertise.
This format on Instagram is particularly suitable if you want to give multiple information about a product or service within one photo. Here, a priority photo or video is set as the title and 3 other smaller images are added. Again, your website or online store can be linked directly to the ad.
This relatively new ad format on Instagram allows products to be linked directly on the ad. This works for both image and video ads, as well as the carousel format. Users who click on the product then get additional information on the product detail page. From there, they are then taken directly to your online store.
Placing ads is relatively simple and therefore feasible even for beginners in this field. Instagram Ads can be created in two different ways:
For both variants, it is necessary to connect your Instagram Business account with your Facebook company profile.
The fastest and easiest variant to run Instagram Ads is directly in the app. However, it is worth mentioning here that you can only advertise existing posts from your profile. For this, proceed as follows:
First, select the image or video from your feed that you want to promote.
You will be given a choice between more profile views, more website visits, more direct messages in the app or more leads. If you have selected “More website visits”, you can add a website URL and a call-to-action button under “Edit”.
Instagram automatically suggests a target group for you here. You can easily adopt this. Alternatively, you also have the option to create your own target group based on demographic characteristics and interests.
In this step, you select the desired runtime for your ad and specify the budget you have set for the ad.
Finally, you should now review all your details regarding the ad. For this purpose, you can have a preview displayed. In this section, you will also see which bank account has been deposited for processing the payment of your ad.
If all the information you have provided is correct, you can now publish your ad on the platform. The selected target group will now get your Instagram ad played out in their feed. If you have added a call-to-action button, users will be taken to your website or product page with just one click.
However, the variant via the Facebook Ads Manager offers even more options for your Instagram Ad and is thus highly recommended for professional campaigns.
It is not possible to give a blanket answer to the question of the costs for Instagram Ads. This is because they depend on different factors, such as the company budget, the competition, and the bidding strategy chosen. However, one thing is a fact: the more popular the advertising space, i.e. the more competition, the higher the price. Especially during certain holidays, such as Easter and Christmas, you should expect higher costs for the advertising space. In addition, the quality and relevance of your ad also play a role in the cost question. Instagram evaluates your ad according to these factors, which subsequently flows into the price calculation. Thus, ads that users find annoying become more expensive and those that generate positive reactions are rewarded.
Compared to other social networks, such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, the average cost per click on Instagram is somewhat higher. This is partly because Instagram has fewer ad placements than Facebook, for example, and therefore results in a higher price.
In general, it can be stated that it is the same with Instagram Ads as with Facebook Ads. As a company, you set a certain budget (runtime budget or daily budget) for your advertising campaign.
You can define different billing models here. For example, if you want to increase your conversion rate, you should set your ads to cost-per-click (CPC). You can expect costs of around 20 cents to 2 euros per link click. With this billing method, you only pay if the user actively clicks on your ad.
However, you can also choose to pay for impressions instead of clicks. With the cost-per-mille (CPM) billing method, however, it doesn’t matter whether users actually saw your ad. This model can increase your reach and brand awareness.
Other billing models available to you are cost-per-action (CPA) and cost-per-like (CPL). Here, you pay for a predefined interaction, e.g. for each Like received. This form of billing is suitable if you want to target a purchase or app installation.
Instagram Ads offer companies diverse opportunities to draw attention to themselves and their own products while explicitly reaching the desired target group. Many industries especially benefit from Instagram Ads thanks to the option to link content directly in the ads.
In addition, the comparatively high click-through rate and the relatively high acceptance of the ads are further aspects that make Instagram interesting for your social media marketing strategy. Instagram Ads can prove to be effective and are well suited if you decide to advertise with high-quality imagery.
However, besides all the benefits of Instagram Ads, you should also keep in mind that there are many competitors on the platform, which on the one hand make for higher competition and possibly high CPM costs. Advertising on Instagram can pay off, of course, but there should be extensive social media marketing with a branding component involved. If this is not the case, it could be that it offers too little added value for the company at a comparatively high price.