Instagram Ads: The Basics

02 October 2015

Instagram Ads: The Basics

Instagram has been testing out ads with a variety of advertisers, big and small, over recent months, and the image-sharing social media site is now due to roll out advertising capabilities to all businesses around the world.

Instagram ad formats

Advertisers on Instagram can use one of three ad formats:

  1. Image ads: a sponsored image that appears in a user’s timeline
  2. Video ads: a sponsored video that shows up in users’ timelines
  3. Carousel ads: a series of images that users can scroll through. This ad format also includes a call to action button.

Instagram advertising marketing objectives

For each ad, a marketer can choose one of four ad objectives. This ensures the advertisement is used in the best way to suit a brand’s marketing goals. The available objectives are:

  1. Clicks to website: this is available with each of the ad formats and sends people who click on the ad to relevant sections of your website
  2. Video views: only available with video ads, the objective of these advertisements is to reach out to users with a video of up to 30 seconds
  3. Mobile app installs: available with image and video ad formats, the goal of these Instagram ads is to encourage users to download a mobile app
  4. Mass awareness: available with each ad format, ads with this marketing objective must be processed through Insertion Order only. Their goal is to “drive mass awareness to a broad audience with guaranteed impressions and placement in the top ad position of Instagram's feed”.

Which industries can benefit from Instagram marketing?

Brands whose business offerings can be strongly communicated through static and video imagery could find that Instagram marketing is really effective. Brands in niches that are aspirational or visual, such as fashion, lifestyle, travel and food are likely to perform well if they plan and test their Instagram marketing campaigns carefully. Businesses involving hospitality, retail (including e-commerce) and entertainment could also find they are a good fit for this platform.

What response can brands expect from their Instagram marketing?

Like with any kind of marketing, there are no guarantees of a particular user response. However, with well-managed campaigns, an increase in sales and a boost in brand recognition and PR can be expected. Case studies so far suggest brand awareness and ad recall are high, and conversions of up to 23% have been reported by some retailers.

This improved visibility can then result in an increased number of organic searches (both in search engines and on social media) for the brand, which means it is important to carry out ongoing SEO work alongside social media marketing.

As with the introduction of advertising on many social networking sites, the initial reaction from many Instagram users was one of dismay. However, the ads displayed on the site to date have generally been of a high quality and are a good fit amongst the existing aesthetic of the network, so the advertising has not been obnoxious or intrusive to users. As the ad campaigns use Facebook’s impressive demographic targeting capabilities, users will be shown more and more relevant ads, which will also hopefully result in users warming up to these new ad formats.

Instagram ads are now available to manage via the Facebook Power Editor.