Should you be running Instagram Ads?

Ok, here's the deal. I was pretty excited when Instagram Ads rolled out.

And then we ran some Instagram ads and I wasn't as excited. 

We were getting a TON of spam comments and people clicking on our ads that were definitely not in a our target market (and yes, we had our targeting dialed in). 

I figured it was new and maybe there were a few things that needed to get worked out first. 

So I took a little break from Instagram ads and recently started using them again. And let me tell you...

If you're not using Instagram ads you are missing out. BIG TIME. 

Here's what I'm seeing: 

Cost is much lower.
And I'm not talking 10-20%. I'm talking up to 50% lower compared to the same ad running on Facebook. That's pretty drastic. 

And it's not just happening here and there. This is something I'm seeing consistently with new ads we're rolling out. 

It's great for targeting the younger crowd.
If your target market is in their 20's this is where you need put your advertising dollars. We ran an ad campaign targeting college students and the campaign was off to a super slow start on Facebook. 

But on Instagram it took off immediately. Needless to say, we didn't waste anymore money on the Facebook Ads. 

It's also great for targeting people that aren't in their 20's. 
This one kind of surprised me because I assumed only the young kids hang out on Instagram. But that's not the case at all. 30-40 year olds? Yep, they're hanging out there. 40-50? They're hanging out there, too. 

Why it works:

It's a new platform and there's not as much competition (at least for now). 
You know you've got some serious competition on Facebook. And some markets are just more competitive than others. 

So if you're in one of those really competitive markets -- like internet/online marketing, coaching, health and wellness-- give Instagram ads a go. I was surprised at the difference in cost. We would see up to 50% lower cost on Instagram compared to the same ad on Facebook.

No doubt the cost will start to creep up as more advertisers start to use it. 

You can reach more of your current audience on Instagram
Did you know you can show ads to your email list, website visitors and Facebook fans on Instagram? The targeting on Instagram is the exact same as Facebook and that's one of the reasons it's so easy to run your ads on both platforms. 

It's also a great way to stay in front of your audience that are more active on Instagram. 

Instagram users are more engaged.
If you're on Instagram, you know how much more engaged and connected the users are. They love to like posts and leave comments. And you know more people see your posts organically on Instagram compared to Facebook. 

It's no big surprise that ads get more clicks and engagement. 

You can share a link that users can actually click on.
One of the annoying things with posting to Instagram, is that there are no clickable links. So if you want to click and read someone's blog post you have to do a little work to get there. 

Now your users can click on your ad and head straight to your website. It's great for sharing your blog posts, promoting content and keeping your followers in the loop. 

Ready to create your first Instagram Ad? Here's how you do it:

Step 1: Connect Your Facebook Page + Instagram Account. 

Head over to your Facebook page and click Settings in the top-right corner. From the left column, click Instagram Ads and then click the Add an Account button on the right.

Step 2: Pick Your Objective.

Instagram ads are available in Power Editor and they recently rolled out to Ads Manager, too. 

You can create a brand new campaign, or you can create an Instagram Ad within a campaign you already have running.

I recommend creating a new ad set for Instagram Ads that way you can better track your results. And you'll want to create images specifically for your Instagram Ads.  

You can pick from these ad objectives:

  • Clicks to Website 
  • Website Conversions
  • Promoted Posts
  • Mobile App Installs
  • Video Views 

You also have the option to create your ad as a standard image, video ad or carousel ad. Pretty cool, right?

Step 3: Select Instagram as your Placement:

And uncheck all of the others. 

Step 4: Set Your Targeting.

You’ll set your targeting the same way you do for Facebook Ads. You can target based on demographics, location, interests, etc.

Step 5: Create Awesome Images.

Instagram is a visual platform so you want to make sure your images grab the attention of your audience. They're also a little more picky about what they approve. If your image looks too much like an ad it won't be approved so keep that in mind when you're creating your images.

Try capturing photos yourself instead of using stock photos. If you do use stock photos, try to find ones that don’t look so stock photo-ey.

Image size for Instagram is 1080 x 1080. 

Notice the 'sign up' button? You can add a call to action button so people know they can click-thru to keep reading. 

Step 6: Hashtag it up! 

Be sure to include relevant and popular hashtags to get more reach. If you’re already using Instagram you already know hashtags are a great way to get your post in front of a wider audience. So use this to your advantage when you’re creating ads (just don’t get too crazy with the hashtags…no one likes that).

Step 7: Upload your ads and track your results. 

You always want to keep an eye on your numbers to make sure you’re actually seeing a return on your spend. So be sure to track and compare your results to other ads you have running. 

What do you think? Are you using Instagram Ads yet? 

P.S. The next LIVE session of Facebook Ads in a Weekend is coming up the first weekend in April. And Instagram is one of the things we'll cover. Click here to join us.