Instagram marketing

Should you Advertise your Small Business on Instagram?

With over a billion Instagram users, 80% of which follow at least one business (if not many), the social media company is quickly becoming the core platform for businesses to advertise on. With its easy-to-scroll feed and 24-hour stories, the website has gone from an instant sharing app, to both an instant sharing app and a place to post pre-made, edited material, be it incredible photography, advertising videos or memes.

It is perhaps the mobile layout and its UI simplicity that makes users’ attention so focused – there are almost no distractions. Comments are somewhat hidden. The menu is discrete, there aren’t many things to see or do other than simply scroll to the next post. For this reason, as explored later on, Instagram is a place that is extremely engaging of its users. It is then no surprise than the platform has over two million monthly advertisers

How advertising works on Instagram

The main way to advertise on Instagram is to promote a post of yours to a wider audience that is not (yet?) following your account. The audience that will become exposed to your post can somewhat be refined to help target your exact business’ target audience. For example, you can specify regions and countries of the target audience, age-range and gender, and even the interests and behavioral characteristics of the audience i.e. their activities on Facebook.

Instagram offers 5 different types of ads to run:

  1. Photo Ad
  2. Video Ad
  3. Carousel Ad
  4. Slideshow Ad
  5. Stories Ad

The first four are all very similar, they are just alterations of a promoted media post that will appear on the feed of the target audience. The last one is to be promoted on the 24-hour stories – the feature similar to Snapchat.

There are many objectives that may be at the center of a company’s ad campaign on Instagram. Video views and brand awareness may be some objectives, and whilst these are arguably crucial for big brands to stay in the subconsciousness of the public, they do not provide the best metrics to understand what the return on the investment is.

Instagram data – from exposure to return on investment

The cost incurred will be dependent on many factors. The cost per click you can expect to receive on Instagram can vary, but it may be around $1 (this can vary widely though). The price is higher than Facebook’s generally, but this is because the quality of the clicks is superior. For example, 75% of users take action on Instagram, for example clicking through a link and purchase a product, whilst there is an overall 2.2% interaction rate (which is 100x greater than Facebook’s interaction rate).

Which is the best audience for Instagram advertising?

71% of Instagram users are under the age of 35 – with the most popular age range being 25 to 34. This is convenient, of course, as the core audience is old enough to purchase things on the internet and young enough to be trusting and open to sponsored ads. Females also make up more of the audience, as well as dominating the most followed accounts. For this reason, female fashion and make up, for example, will always have a large pool people, giving their accounts great growth potential as well as making it easy to curate a target audience.

Is Instagram the right platform for your marketing campaign?

Instagram is the kings of engagement right now, with extremely high rates of interactions. The ultimate goal really for most campaigns is to produce a positive Return on Investment, be it directly or through brand awareness. This kind of result vary too much to generalize, but the popularity of the platform regarding businesses and the interaction rates are two good indicators that there is a lot of good potentials – far greater than Facebook.

To achieve a good ROI, you need to dig into the Instagram insights and track the expenses of the campaign. If the objective is to increase app downloads, then the analytics for the current app downloads before the campaign should also be analyzed and recorded, and quantify it into earnings.

Many will say the industry of the company is important, but this isn’t the be-all and end-all. There are successes everywhere on Instagram right now, from beer companies to airplane services. The key in those successes has been a streak of originality and perhaps provocativeness, incorporating humor and contemporary culture.

Social media has allowed any type of business to succeed online. You just need to put it in the time and effort to learn about your audience and give them what they want.

Related: The Power of Retargeting: Turning Visitors into Customers

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