It's one of the largest visual platforms on the internet, with 800 million active users and ownership by Facebook.
Instagram's business advertising is also some of the most user-friendly, visually appealing and adaptive of any platform. Where ads are simple images, video stories, carousels or any combination of those media - it allows brands to tell stories and approach users in an environment that rewards simplicity and clear storytelling.
Who's on Instagram.
Not surprising is that Instagram users tend to be younger than the average population - with 55% age 18 to 29 and another 28% are 30 to 49. Using Facebook's powerful user database, it's possible to identify groups by gender, age, location, interests, and targeted lookalikes - with extensive cross-targeting capabilities.
80% of Instagram users follow at least on
70.7% of US companies use Instagram for business
75% of Instagram users take action after looking at an Instagram ad, ex. visiting a website
What you can do.
Instagram creates a visual story, using its scrolling feed and three picture wide profile formats to present a flow of images with minimal text and maximum image focus. Users follow accounts, allowing posts to show up in their scrolling home feed and producing beautiful square tile mosaics in user profiles. Some are a carefully curated colour profile, reflecting brands and giving the impression of a pink or green tinted wonderland.
Others are riots of colour, with accounts like restaurants and fashion houses showcasing a kaleidoscope of vibrant and eye-catching images just waiting to be 'liked' with a simple tap of the heart icon. The use of #hastags allows images to be sorted and tracked. Groupings like #houseplantgang and #OOTD give users access to all images tagged.
What it costs.
An Instagram account is free and a link to a Facebook business page allows access to a profile's basic analytics and data reporting. Adding content is easy and promoted posts are added into accounts just like regular content. The selected content is "Promoted" and you can select your budget, audience preferences and whether wish to pay for CPCs (cost-per-click) or CPMs (cost per 1000 impressions).
Ad spend depends on industry and target audience, but average CPCs on the platform are reported to average $0.70 to $0.80. Budgets are easily limited to a max spend and length of ad run, so there is little risk of overspend.
Businesses and brand with an existing account can begin to advertise with budgets as small as $3 a day, adding a few hundred views to posts with larger spends resulting in a much larger pool of views.
Instagram ads and ecommerce.
For a long time, the biggest drawback with ads was linking. Since you can’t place clickable links in organic posts, brands have had to direct Instagram follows to links in their bios - and rely on users to seek out products and navigate sites.
Not anymore! Instagram has recently rolled out a way to link products with a shopping tag, showing a price and allowing users to click through to purchase. It's limited to a number of countries (full list here), and your business profile must be connected to a Facebook business product catalog. This can be created and managed in Facebook Business Manager, or through Shopify/BigCommerce platforms.
Key to success with instagram ads is strategy - using the three key elements: visual images, appropriate messaging, and proper audience targeting.
With third-party tools like Hootsuite, it's even possible to pre-plan and schedule your posting so that it's not a daily chore or often forgotten task.
If you're looking for help getting started on Instagram or need to kickstart a successful ads strategy - I'm happy to chat!