Instagram Advertising: Costs, Features, and How to Do It


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Instagram is one of the most popular social media networks, with 1 billion monthly active users. Instagram also has powerful advertising tools with the potential to skyrocket your small business’ following and sales. If you’re looking for an affordable way to promote your business and reach more customers, you should consider running Instagram ads.

How Instagram Advertising Works

If you have an Instagram channel, your posts are typically only seen by users who follow your account. Instagram ads allow you to reach a larger audience and get your business in front of new potential customers. Instagram ads are interspersed in the Feed and Stories section of Instagram and look almost identical to regular posts, with the only tell being the word “Sponsored” on the top left. Ads also typically have a banner at the bottom of the image with a call to action like “Learn More,” “Shop Now,” or “Sign Up.” When a user clicks on the banner, they are sent to the webpage you designated for the ad. Before running an ad, you can specify your ad’s objective and target audience. Next, define your ad budget and choose the ad format you’d like to run, including photo and video options. Once the ad is running, you can track your reach and clicks and make adjustments to try to get even better results.


Who Instagram Advertising Is Right For

Instagram advertising is right for businesses that want to increase their Instagram followers ,online reach, engagement, and sales. A wide variety of businesses use Instagram ads, from B2Cs selling products to B2B service-based businesses and software companies. Because Instagram is a highly visual platform, businesses with engaging creative tend to get the best results with Instagram ads.

Here are the types of businesses that Instagram advertising is right for:

  • Businesses with visual products – If you sell products like clothing and accessories, furniture, or food and drink, Instagram ads are the perfect place to showcase your products to a new audience.
  • Service-based businesses – If you sell anything from landscaping services to marketing consulting, you can use an Instagram ad to introduce your services and tell prospects why you’re the right person for the job.
  • Tech companies – Software companies or tech companies with a hardware product can run video ads to provide a quick product demo.

As a fast-growing social media channel with advanced targeting options, high engagement, and proven sales generation, Instagram is a great channel for businesses to invest in. It has the highest engagement rate of any of the major social networks and is estimated to bring in $6.84 billion in mobile advertising revenues in 2018.

Instagram Advertising Costs

Define how much you want to spend by setting a daily or lifetime Instagram advertising budget, starting at $5 a day. Your budget is an average daily cost and may vary slightly depending on placement opportunities. Cost is based on impressions, meaning the number of times your ad appears in users’ Instagram Feeds or Stories.

Depending on your optimization goal, you can play around in the Advanced Options settings and choose to pay based on link clicks or 10-second video views instead. However, if you’re just starting off, it’s easiest to just set your budget and use the recommended default settings.

5 Types of Instagram Ads

Once your budget is set, you’re ready to choose your Instagram ads format. Your format options include Single Image, Single Video, Carousel, and Slideshow. You can also choose for your ad placement to be in the Instagram Feed, within Instagram Stories, or both.

Here’s an overview of each Instagram ad format to help you choose the right fit for your business:

1. Single Image Ad

Single Image ads are the simplest ad format, displaying a single photo related to your product or service. Use the Single Image ad format if you want to share an eye-catching image to promote a specific product, service, or offer. This ad format is best for businesses that are new to Instagram advertising because it is the easiest to set up.

Below is an example of a Single Image ad from a watch company called MVMT. In their Instagram ad, they use one image to display multiple watch styles at once. They also add some text to the image to promote their anniversary sale.

2. Single Video Ad

Single Video ads are GIFs, or videos, up to 60 seconds in length. Video ads are great if you want to show a product in action or provide a video introduction to explain the value of your services. Video ads also often work well for companies that don’t have a tangible product, like software companies or service-based companies, because you can provide more context that you could with a single image.

Here’s an example from food and beverage software company BevSpot. They use their video to give users a walk-through of their product and show multiple features and dashboards. This gives users a much better understanding of what BevSpot has to offer than a static image could provide.

3. Carousel Ad

Carousel ads are a collection of two or more images or videos. Instagram users can swipe to view your library of photos and videos. Carousel ads are great for businesses with many different products or services to show off. Here’s an example from the online education platform MasterClass. MasterClass uses a Carousel ad to highlight a collection of their online courses.

4. Slideshow Ad

Slideshow ads act like video ads and are made up of as many as 10 images that display on loop. You can upload a collection of images and add music to create an engaging montage. Slideshow ads are the perfect fit for business that don’t have the time or resources to create video content, but want to add some motion and music to pique interest.

5. Stories Ad

Stories ads show up within the “Stories” section of Instagram. You can create Single Image or Single Video ads, which can be as long as 15 seconds. Stories are a new and popular Instagram feature with content expiring within 24 hours. If you have a limited-time offer or promotion, a Stories ad will feel timely and have a bit more urgent feel than other Instagram ad types.

Email marketing company Constant Contact uses a Stories ad to offer new users a free 60-day trial. They use a video ad to show off their drag-and-drop editing platform

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