Getting Started with Instagram Advertising

by | Nov 10, 2020

Instagram boasts 130 million monthly active users in the U.S., and it’s one of two social media networks that has experienced the biggest uptick in usage this year. More than half of the Instagram user population is younger than 34 years old, and 60% say they discover new products on the platform.

For brands looking to connect Millennials with their products and services, Instagram is a great place to start. But where exactly do you start? You’ve come to the right place. 

What are Instagram ads?

Instagram ads are photo or video posts or Stories that businesses pay to promote to targeted audiences.

While it’s important for businesses to have a presence on Instagram, sharing organic content may not be the best strategy for many organizations, including those in financial services. Organic posts tend to have low reach, and because you can’t include a hyperlink, they don’t generate click-thrus.

Instagram ads, on the other hand, feature audience targeting options and the ability to include a call-to-action button to drive traffic or conversions. They can look just like regular Instagram posts, but are always identified by a “Sponsored” label.

Who are Instagram ads delivered to?

A variety of audience targeting options make it easy to deliver your Instagram ads to the right consumer at the right time.

  • Location: Target people based in specific locations like states, cities or countries. (Denim Social takes the guesswork out of location-based targeting by delivering ads to consumers within a certain radius around advisors’ office locations.)
  • Demographics: Narrow your audience based on information like age, gender and languages.
  • Interests: Reach people based on interests like apps they use, ads they click and accounts they follow.
  • Behaviors: Define your audience by activities they do on and off of Instagram and Facebook.
  • Custom Audiences: Run ads to customers you already know based on their email addresses or phone numbers.
  • Lookalike Audiences: Find new people who are similar to your existing customers.

What are the different types of Instagram ads?

A number of different Instagram ad formats are available to meet your needs and connect with your audiences in relevant ways.

  • Stories Ads: Instagram Stories are photos and videos up to 15 seconds long that are delivered to a “Story” (published separately from the photos and videos delivered to a feed). Globally, 500 million Instagram accounts use Instagram Stories every day. Because they make full use of the mobile screen, Stories Ads are a great way to capture your audience’s attention.
  • Photo Ads: This type of ad lets you tell your story through a clean, simple image in square or landscape format, delivered to a user’s Instagram feed.
  • Video Ads: Also delivered to a user’s feed but with the added power of sight, sound and motion, video ads offer the ability to captivate your audience with a video up to 120 seconds long.
  • Carousel Ads: These ads bring another layer of depth to your ad by allowing users to swipe to view additional photos or videos in a single ad.

How do I measure the effectiveness of Instagram ads?

It’s important to measure the results of Instagram ads to refine your strategy, improve future campaigns and get the most out of your advertising spend. Exactly what you measure will depend on your campaign objective (e.g., awareness, consideration, conversion). However, below are a few important metrics to keep an eye on:

  • Reach: Understand how many people are seeing your content.
  • Clicks, likes and comments: Get a sense for how engaging your content is.
  • Engagements per follower: Track overall performance trends and the types of content that resonate with your audience. To calculate, divide total engagements by your follower count and multiply by 100.
  • Stories metrics: Learn how effective your Stories Ads are by tracking Story Replies, Story Taps Back and Forward, Story Exits and Impressions, etc.
  • Follower growth: If your advertising is effective, you should see steady growth in your Instagram follower count.

To learn how Denim Social gives you access to real-time, easy-to-understand engagement analytics and enables you to automatically optimize ads across multiple locations, sign up for a personalized demo.