So, you’ve decided to foray into the world of Instagram advertising and you’ve landed here. If you’re a seasoned professional or a total newbie, well, I hope to be able to help both of you out.
Let’s start with the basics; you can advertise on Instagram either through the app itself or through Ads Manager on Facebook. The app is the easy and simple way, as on Facebook you’ve got a few more variables, distractions and options. Let’s initially focus on the simple app version of Instagram advertising. I’ll cover Instagram advertising through Facebook in another blog (side note - I’ve used screen grabs of my dog’s Instagram account, because a cute dog can only help the advertising process after all).
Open your Instagram app and navigate to the profile you want to advertise with (note -you have to have an Instagram business profile, but this can be set up very quickly). From there you’ll see a promote button on your profile or beneath one of your posts; click this and we can get started.
The first thing to do is pick your objective. This is very important, as it tells Instagram how to serve your advert, whether you want it to go out to wide audience to get brand awareness or whether you want something of particular value, like a website visit. Your four options to pick from (though your profile will only offer you three) are “More profile visits”, “More website traffic” and “More promotion views”or “Reach people near an address” (dependent on your account). It’s fairly self-explanatory here, but just so we’re all clear, profile visits will get your ad served to those who are likely to click through to a profile and you can expect a medium reach (dependent on budget).
Website traffic adverts are served to a smaller target audience, but with the aim of achieving a higher number of clicks. Promotion views are served to loads of people, but you’re likely to see fewer clicks and less engagements. Finally, reaching people near an address aims to get people to visit your bricks and mortar store.
Let’s start with profile visits. Once you’ve clicked this option you’ll be taken to a new screen with several options: the ‘Objective’ (you’ve already selected this, but it’s just listed here again in case you change your mind - it’s okay we all have indecisive moments), the ‘Destination’, which will be your profile (this is already filled in so no need to do anything here- and the same goes for the action button section; this can’t be changed with this objective) and ‘Audience’.
The ‘Audience’ section might need some further thinking, dependent on your industry. Instagram offers an ‘automatic’ audience option (something you don’t get on Facebook) which it says will target others similar to your followers, so this would be a good option for small, low budget adverts. However, you can create your own audience if you know there is a certain type of person you want to target. For example, if you’re advertising university accommodation, then you’re probably going to want to target only those in the 18-21 age bracket.
On the ‘create your own’ page, you’re again faced with options (again, not great for the indecisive):
Name - not yours, pop in a name for your audience so you can remember who you’re targeting. You’ll notice in my case I’ve named my audience ‘Dogs are the best’.
Locations - whichever locations are most important for you to target, pop in here. You can target by state, province and city. Obviously, I’m going to target Dog Town, California (not really, I’ll probably focus on England).
Next, here’s where the targeting gets narrowed down. You can select interests that you want to target, so in this case I’ve targeted Dog Lovers, Doug the Pug (not him specifically, but those who have an interest in him, which quite frankly everyone should) and, finally, Jack Russell Terriers. I’ve selected these as my dog is a mix between a Pug and a Jack Russell, so the ad should be reaching people who think my dog is cute. I would suggest that when targeting your advert, don’t worry about being too niche with your interests. For example, if your image is a recipe, target specific ingredients within the recipe. It may sound odd, but i’ve seen it get results. This way, you’re going to be targeting the people that are interested in what you’re selling.
Once you’ve decided on your audience, head back to your initial page of options and here you just need to select your budget and duration. Instagram handily gives some suggested figures for your advert and an estimated reach next to each sum, or you can pick your own budget and duration and it’ll bring up an estimation afterwards. I would usually run a ‘promotion views’ promotion for a week or so to see how it performs and then, if there is further budget, continue to run it over a longer period. For the profile views and web traffic promotions, I would keep these to a shorter period of a few days to not exhaust the audience. You may want to test different audience options for these objectives to see which gives you a greater return, especially for web traffic.
And that’s it! Well, you may need to set up a payment method, which will usually link up with your Facebook ads account if you have one, or you can choose or change your payment method in the options section of the Instagram app.
I’ll quickly run through the differences of the ‘web traffic’, ‘promotion views’ and ‘reach people near and address’ objectives, but most of the above will be the same for all.
The only different options here are the destination and action button choices. Destination is where you enter your website address; you can use UTM tracking in your link. The action button gives you several options which you can see in the screengrab below. Every other option is the same as mentioned above.
Promotion views would be known as the ‘reach’ objective on Facebook. This objective serves out the advert to as many people as possible within your targeting and budget. When you select your audience within this objective, you have the option of automatic (described above) local (pick a specific location) or create your own.
Finally, ‘reach people near an address’ does what it says on the tin; you can direct people to a nearby store, phone number, profile or website. When selecting your audience, the automatic option mentioned before requires a target location, or of course you can create your own audience.
I hope that this quick, intro guide has helped! I’ll be doing a bigger overview of Instagram advertising within Facebook Ads manager in the not too distant future, where you have more options available to you, including story placements! Exciting! And finally, to finish, enjoy this picture of my dog in business attire. You’re welcome!