In the span of a few years, there’s been tremendous growth in the number of businesses using social media for advertising. In fact, social media advertising is an $8.4 billion market. If that doesn’t surprise you, Instagram’s ad revenues alone will reach $2.81 billion this year.
With all these big numbers flying at you, you must be thinking it’s time you try advertising on Instagram. Rightfully so! There’s a big market for you and a loyal audience spending hours on Instagram, occasionally responding to ads. This can be your silver lining.
What we don’t hear enough of, is how small businesses can make the most of Instagram advertising. What if you don’t have a big budget? Can you still compete with other brands? The answer is yes, the opportunity is there. Plus, you have equal chances of doing so even if you don’t have an unlimited budget.
Today we’ll be looking at how you can get on board with Instagram advertising, and how to do so in a cost effective way, benefiting your brand and spreading the word about your products and services.
Do you need Instagram ads?
Instagram has grown quickly, yet many marketers are still debating this question of whether or not they should advertise on Instagram. The reason for doubts are few. Most prominently, because Instagram is focused on keeping users within the app, and this baffles marketers.
The beauty of Instagram ads are that they’re well integrated into the app; your ads will look just like regular posts. Not to say that ads aren’t effective, in fact they might just be more effective on Instagram depending on your industry.
The biggest perk of Instagram ads is that you get to reach an audience beyond your following. Let’s take a real life example of before and after advertising for Paper Boat Drinks:
With a little tag on the top right corner, your ads are beautifully integrated and likely will get much higher engagement when exposed to a wider audience.
1. You need a strategy
Part of saving costs is planning in advance. You’ll be surprised, but this is the biggest mistakes made by brands – jumping into Instagram advertising with no plan. There’s lots of hype around Instagram ads and everyone wants to get on board but being a hurry can actually harm your business.
Your campaigns need a direction and a purpose. Know what you are promoting, what you want to accomplish with the ad and how you will measure your success. These 3 factors are very important in creating a coherent and well thought out campaign.
How you approach Instagram ads is different if you simply want more followers or want to redirect people to your website. Try to be specific with your goals. By setting goals and measuring your results, you can make changes to improve future ads and in this way, save yourself time, money and hassle.
2. Blend in with the crowd
The best performing ads on Instagram seem native. The better integrated your ad, the more responses you will get and the more likely you are to win over your new clients. In truth, these very same clients simply don’t like advertisements. Shoving obvious ads will result in losses for you if your ad campaign flunks.
Think a little more cost effective, and make the campaigns worth the money you put in. Be smart about your visual content. Instead of direct advertising, try something more subtle. Check out the kriserspets ad:
3. Save costs with videos
Videos are gaining momentum on Instagram. If you look at the ‘Explore’ page, you’ll find that videos are in the spotlight. Integrating video into your ad can be a quick way to inform your audience about your business (in a non obvious ad way). You can use these videos to target customers that have no brand affinity. Videos are also a more affordable option as it has a lower acquisition cost.
4. Clever targeting for better results
One of Instagram’s biggest advantages is that it is integrated with Facebook ads. What does this mean? Simply that you can take advantage of Facebook’s famous audience targeting algorithms.
There’s custom and lookalike audiences that you can choose from. You can also take advantage of remarketing, which means you can show your ads to people that have visited your website previously.
This saves costs because it increases your click through rate, through more focused targeting and in addition to reaching higher numbers of people, you will lower your cost per click.
5. Get your followers involved
If you have any type of product, there’s likely followers that tag your brand in their posts. User generated content (UGC) can be used to further promote your brand. It’s also been noted that UGC results in better engagement because it’s more authentic.
Look for ways to integrate this into your Instagram ad strategy. Show real people using your products or reviewing your services. Here’s an example from blackmilkclothing:
6. Test everything you do
On top of preparing a good strategy and equipping yourself with all this new knowledge, don’t be afraid to try new things. Analysing your results and success will help you get to a more cost effective strategy for your next campaign.
You could try promoting UGC or videos or images and hang out in the testing phase for a while. At the end of the day, it’s about finding what works for your business. Try retargeting! People that are familiar with your brand will respond to ads in a more predictive way. The cost isn’t much different, but the results could improve when you reflect on your test runs.
7. Create Instagram ads from free templates
Aside for paying for ads, someone’s got to create them. We’re mindful of the fact that not everyone has a designer on their team. This is where Crello can help, with a separate category of free templates for Instagram ads.
Creating eye catching ads can also make all the difference. If you can tailor an ad to fit your business, you can do so at a fraction of the time. Also, check out our article with 20 free Instagram ad templates.
Do you feel like you’re ready to get started?
Instagram advertising can be done through Facebook. Here are some of the tools you can use to run ads on Instagram:
However, an easier option is to do it through the app itself. To do this, you can go through 4 easy steps:
1. Create or switch to a business profile
To switch to a business profile, simply go to “Settings” and “Switch to Business Profile”. You will need a Facebook page to connect to this account.
2. Set up your ad
Go to your profile. Select the post you want to promote. Click on it and tap “Promote”.
3. Determine your budget
You will need to fill in some basic information such as the audience you want to reach, your budget and how long you’d like to run the ad for. Tap “Next” when you’re done.
To complete these steps, tap “Promote” again and you’re done.
Find out more about Instagram ads on the official page. And if you’re ready to start creating your actual ads with Crello, you know what to do.
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