Getting Started with your Instagram Ad Strategy

Advertising on Instagram and other social media platforms is one of the most popular marketing strategies for any business. Businesses advertise their products on social media to spread awareness, and they utilize paid, owned, and earned media as a means to do so.

Owned by Facebook and launched in 2010, Instagram has over 1.44 billion users worldwide. At its wake, the main focus of Instagram was to put the spotlight on photos uploaded on the app, particularly ones taken on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. The creator of the app, Kevin Systrom, constructed a web app prototype named “Burbn” which was later renamed to Instagram. After presenting his prototype to venture capitalists from Baseline Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz, Systrom resigned from his job at Nextstop and began to work on Burbn full-time. It was during this point of his journey that Systrom began to focus primarily on the picture, commenting, and liking aspects of the app, leading to the renaming of the app using the words “instant” and “telegram”. After making some tweaks to the app, Instagram was launched on October 6, 2010. It was later bought by Facebook for $1 billion in April 2012 but remained independently managed.

The POEM Model

There are three types of media when it comes to advertising. They are referred to as paid, owned, and earned media. Owned and earned media are derived from organic posts on social media, whereas paid media is not.

Organic media is defined as content that users and brands share with each other on various platforms without having to pay for it. In other words, users and brands create their own posts without hiring an outside source to do so. Earned media is what occurs when others share your content or mention you, extending the reach into new audiences in their social network.

Paid media is more obvious. Users and brands pay for advertising through media such as television, radio, and social media influencers. However, each form has their own advantages depending on your preference and other relevant factors. When you want to reach a large number of viewers in a short amount of time, penetrate a completely new demographic or market, use specific targeting, or promote your best content out there, utilizing paid media is the way to go. Paid media is great for expanding and reaching your audience, optimizing content for business goals, and getting fast results. However, costs are higher, the effectiveness is temporary, there are risks in investment, and paid advertising must be constantly monitored. On the other hand, if you want to engage with your audience for a longer time, establish good relationships with your viewers, or provide good customer service, organic social media will be your best option. It will help you build brand loyalty, establish a good social media presence in the long run, and receive more favorable customer/viewer perception. The possible disadvantages include longer times to become effective on social media, algorithm issues, and you can only directly target your audience in certain conditions.

Like all other social media platforms, Instagram allows users to create advertisements. Users can turn any post they want into an ad, select the best target audiences, set a manageable budget, and track ad performance. Users can create advertisements on the app by using Instagram’s “Boost” feature, or by using “Ads Manager” for more sophisticated and complex multi-platform ad campaigns. When using the “Boost” feature, users simply insert details about their ads regarding the desired results, audience, budget, and duration. Users can also employ curated ad formats to enhance their advertising for their target audiences.

To create an advertisement on Instagram, users must:

  1. Create a business profile or convert to a business profile
  2. Tap the profile icon to go to your account
  3. Click “Ad Tools”
  4. Click “choose a post” and select the post you want to “boost”
  5. Click the “next” button
  6. Connect to an existing Facebook page or skip this step
  7. Fill in ad details and hit “next”
  8. Click “boost post”

When it comes to budgeting an ad or an ad campaign on Instagram, users must consider a few factors:

  • Their target market or audience
  • Competitiveness of the industry
  • Time of year
  • Placement costs

A suggested method for users to formulate their budget is to set up a draft campaign in Instagram’s “Ads Manager”. Within this feature, they can utilize the “Audience Definition” and the “Estimated Daily Results” programs that will tell users if their budget settings are adequate or not. It is best to adjust your budget accordingly based on the success of your ads. There is a list of the various types of Instagram ads that users can pick from after considering these factors and what their preference is. The kinds of Instagram ads users can choose from consist of:

  • Image ads
  • Stories ads
  • Video ads
  • Carousel ads
  • Collection ads
  • Explore ads
  • IGTV ads
  • Shopping ads
  • Reels ads

Any kind of ad works, but the best type of ad to use depends on what your business goals are. Each ad format also contains various call-to-action options. Some things you need to think about before you select which type of ad to choose from include:

  • What your business goals are
  • Who your target market or audience is
  • Which organic content works best for you

So, why is it a good idea to advertise on Instagram? Intuitively, you are probably thinking that advertising is one of the most common methods used to spread awareness about a brand or product, and you would be correct. Without any sort of marketing, promoting, or advertising, companies would suffer due to the lack of awareness of their existence. According to a study, research suggests that 27% of Instagram users say that they come across new brands and products they were previously unaware about through paid social ads. Ads on Instagram have the capability to reach over 1.2 billion people worldwide. In summary, it is always a good idea to advertise and to use paid, earned, and owned media.

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