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A Free Beginner’s Guide To Instagram Advertising

In 2021 With more than 2 billion monthly active users on Instagram, there’s a huge advertising market for brands to get their content shown to more people.

Are Instagram ads worth the time and money they require?

Instagram Ad of a new IPhone Case

A Little History About Instagram:

In 2012, Facebook (AKA Meta) bought Instagram. This means that Facebook and Instagram share data, and share their ads platform. This is beneficial because you can share audiences between campaigns, and target different platforms including Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger. In 2014 Facebook also bought WhatsApp with a monumental bid price of $16 million which at the time was outlandish, even for Silicon Vally standards but Facebook knew the invaluable marketing data that they would acquire with this acquisition.

Are Instagram Ads Worth The Price For Your Brand?

Like every paid marketing tool, Instagram ads can be expensive and time-consuming. But compared to other advertising options, here’s why you should consider adding Instagram ads to your marketing strategy:

  1. Instagram ads look more appealing- It’s true. As a user, you probably fell in love with Instagram because of its beautiful display, and the feed that had less clutter than the Facebook feed. Instagram makes ads blend in nicely with the rest of the feed, especially if your brand uses Instagram story ads in a compelling way.
  2. You can easily integrate Instagram’s shop feature, so users can show your feed while remaining in the app. This is an amazing tool for brands with a large ecommerce store.
  3. Instagram is popular with a younger audience- 59% of internet users between the ages of 18 and 29 use Instagram and 72% of teens use Instagram. If the demographic you’re trying to reach is younger, Instagram ads are definitely where the majority of your ad spend should be going.
  4. More users engage on Instagram than Facebook-  According to a recent study, some brands are seeing more than 3X the amount of engagement as they are on other platforms like Facebook.

Instagram Ads Vs. Boosted Posts

With the latest Facebook updates, you can now boost posts to Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger. Although you have to run these ads from within Facebook, you can choose to run a boosted post only on Instagram if that’s the audience you want to target.


Screenshot showing how to select different platform placements for boosted posts

To boost a post to Instagram, go to the post you want to boost, and click on “boost post.” From there, open the boosted post options, and select “off” next to automatic placements. You can leave automatic placements on if you want your boosted post to be shown on all platforms, but if you want Instagram only, you need to turn off the automatic placements and select Instagram only.


Boosting posts on Instagram has several benefits, the biggest one being how convenient it is. For brands who manage their own ads, boosted posts make it easy to set an audience and budget in under ten minutes.

Creating ads within Facebook’s Ads Manager (which is where you create an Instagram ad) takes more time, and is more technical than using boosted posts. But if you’re willing to spend more time and money and you’re willing to try to tackle Facebook’s complicated Ads Manager, there are more targeting options than just boosting a post.

Within Facebook’s Ad Manager, we can target more than 300 data points, including demographics, interests, behaviors and the most useful- Lookalike Audiences.

Lookalike audiences allow you to take an audience you already know buys your product or services, and make a duplicate of it.

This is powerful.

Keep in mind, when you use Lookalike audiences, you want to get as close to the action you want more users to take as possible.

For example, if you have a list of customers who have purchased your product, this is a valuable audience to create a Lookalike of, because Facebook will identify patterns in these users and find similar users.

Within Ads Manager you can segment your campaigns and break them down by product, audience, or even season. When you boost a post, you are just adding money to the organic post and looking to expand the reach.

Boosted posts are convenient and save time. The Ads Manager can be technical but allows for plenty of targeting options. The question is, which works best for your brand? Which option will bring you the most success?

How To Run Successful Instagram Ads

Create Compelling Content:

Like everything on social media, you have to create compelling content, so that users actually want to click and convert or purchase from your brand.

So what is compelling ad content?

It creates emotion.

Compelling Instagram ad content causes users to feel something that prompts them to click. These emotions include anger, sadness, happiness, frustration etc.

Instagram content is different from other ad platforms because you need to consider how users interact on Instagram. The content needs to blend into the feed seamlessly, and should look organic instead of looking like an ad.

This is one of the best parts about Instagram ads, because you no longer need an expensive, lengthy video ad to get leads.

In fact, it is more effective to use user generated ad content, or content that ambassadors take with their phones.

It can even be effective (if executed correctly) to use content that is taken as a selfie video, especially if this content is going to be used as an Instagram story ad.

While all of this is important, we cannot forget the basics of marketing and advertising; for example, it’s critical that your landing page content matches the content of your ad.

Imagine seeing a pair of shoes you just NEED to have, clicking on the ad, and then landing on a website with a purse. Instantly, you’ve lost interest, and most likely, you won’t look around for that perfect pair of shoes.

Before launching any type of ad campaign, make sure you have a killer landing page, and your ad content matches what is on your landing page. And please, don’t send people from your ad to the homepage of the website. Make sure users are given a clear path from discovery to purchase and make every step easy to follow and complete.

Find YOUR Audience:

Any great ad campaign contains a well-defined audience strategy. On Instagram, you know you’re already reaching a younger audience, but there are a few more questions you should ask while you create your audience. If you want to run an Instagram campaign, but you have a larger following on Facebook, you can now use your Facebook audience and target them on Instagram.

  1. What interests my audience? Are they interested in non-profits? Collegiate sports?
  2. What groups might my audience be a part of? Look for well-established groups and pages, and see if it’s a fit with your audience.
  3. Where does my audience shop online?
  4. Is there anything my audience certainly does not do? Make sure you also include the exclusions, so you can dial in your audience completely.

Define And Measure Your Results:

Always measure and define your results. Make sure before you even launch your campaign you are fully aware of what your goal is, and you’ve created a campaign that will seek out these results.

If you’re just starting out, you may feel overwhelmed by all the analytics Facebook (Instagram) provides for you. We’ve put together some of the top metrics, what they mean, and why you should keep an eye on them:

CPC (Cost-Per-Click) & CTR (Click-Through-Rate):

Cost-per-click measures the cost of people going from your ad to your website (or your profile account depending on which you choose) while Click-Through-Rate measures the percentage of people who have visited your website after viewing your ad.

If your CPC is high, then you need to re-evaluate your ad copy, and create copy that makes people want to click on the ads and land on your website.

If your CTR is low, it means your ad creative doesn’t appeal to your audience, and you should reconsider your ad copy and your audience.

CPM (Cost Per Mile):

Cost-Per-1,000 Impressions measure the price you pay to have your ad placed in front of 1,000 people. If your CPM is high, then you should reevaluate your audience, because you’re paying too much to reach 1,000 people.

If you don’t know what “too high” or “too-low” is, Facebook & Instagram put out benchmarks every year, and that’s a great place to start.

Relevance Score:

Relevance Score is a score Facebook & Instagram uses to measure how relevant your ad content is to users. If users are saying your ad isn’t relevant to them, your score is decreasing. The higher the score, the more your audience thinks your ad is relevant to them.

If you have a low Relevance Score, consider changing your targeting or copy. Your ads could need a complete refresh if your relevance score is low, so make sure you’re constantly updating your ads as soon as you notice your score dropping.

ROAS (Return On Ad Spend):

Return-on-ad-spend tells you how much you are spending on ads, and how much your business is making off of the ads. This is one of the most important metrics, because you can reallocate money to the campaigns that are performing best.

ROAS is one of the many reasons it is important to have a Facebook pixel installed on your site. And when we say Facebook pixel, no worries, it works with Instagram now too (isn’t that nifty?)

With the pixel installed, you’ll make an informed, data-backed decision about why your ads might be under performing and which campaigns are giving your business a huge return.

Be sure to constantly check in on your Instagram ads, and always make sure you make data-informed decisions.

Instagram ads are nifty, and whether you choose to use a boosted post, or dive into the Ads Manager, Instagram ads will help increase followers, grow your engagement and ultimately, bring your business more sales.

Are you running Instagram ads for your business? Email Us, we’d love to hear how it’s going, and how our team here at Accelerated Vision can help you grow your Instagram.

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