How to advertise on Instagram

Those who want to advertise on Instagram must know perfectly the precise functioning of the Instagram Ads platform, that is, the one dedicated specifically to Instagram ads. The first step is to convert your personal profile into a business Instagram account. The configuration is totally free and opens the door to a series of interesting possibilities to promote the history and products/services of your company, taking advantage of the many resources made available by the social network owned by Mark Zuckerberg. This specific guide explains in detail how to advertise on Instagram through the Instagram Ads platform and its tools. First, however, it is important to understand why to choose Instagram to promote your company.

Why to promote your company on Instagram

Regardless of the type and size of the company, Instagram represents a privileged showcase for businesses. The many users who use this social network (already in 2018, according to Instagram data, there were more than 1 billion accounts active every month worldwide) do so, in fact, to discover content of their interest. This means that brands, with the right method, can easily intercept the needs and desires of people using Instagram.

Official data published in recent years by Instagram itself seems to support this thesis. According to some internal statistics dating back to October 2019, 90% of Instagram accounts follow a company on the social network. Another figure, although less recent, is just as significant: in a survey of Instagram users conducted in November 2015, 84% said they discover new products on the social network.

What you can do with a business Instagram account

Creating a business Instagram account allows you to gain numerous benefits. Among the many features characteristic of this particular type of account stands out the ability to add detailed contact information and thus stimulate people to communicate with the company. Not only that: it is also possible to get interesting statistics on the performance of your content and how followers interact with it and, of course, promote your content to reach a large number of people, paying for the promotion directly on the app.

Three ways to buy and publish ads on Instagram

Instagram Ads provides advertisers with 3 different ways to buy and then publish ads. The easiest way to advertise on Instagram is to promote a post that has already been shared on the social network: in this case, all you have to do is select the content you want to promote, click on "Promote" and, once the operation is complete, monitor its performance (specifically, the number of people who see and interact with the post).

The second mode takes advantage of the features of "Ad Management", a platform available on PC and mobile devices that includes all the advertising tools present on Facebook. Here, within a single interface, you can configure and edit your ads, as well as analyze their performance.

The third way to advertise on Instagram has been designed by the social network specifically for those who have little time or few skills: those who consider it necessary can in fact request the help of an Instagram partner (authoritative experts approved by the social network) for assistance at every stage, from the purchase of the ad to the publication of the creativity.

How to configure ads on Instagram

One of the first options to choose when configuring an ad on Instagram Ads is the advertising objective: Instagram specifically supports "Notoriety" (to increase brand, app, or product/service awareness), "Consideration" (to provide more information about the product/service to potential customers), and "Conversion" (to increase product/service sales, app downloads, or number of physical store visitors) goals.

In the same way as the advertising objective, configuring an ad with Instagram Ads you can also choose the audience (i.e. who you want to reach), the destination (where to direct people), the budget (how much you are willing to spend per day on the ad) and the duration (how long you want to publish the promotion). We will now see in more detail how many and what ad formats you can choose.

How many and what types of ads you can run with Instagram Ads

Those who decide to advertise on Instagram can choose from a wide variety of formats. The moment you create an Instagram ad via the "Ads Management" platform, you can preview what appearance it will take on within the social network, which will depend both on the chosen format and its destination.

The most classic advertising format is that of ads with photos: in this case you can choose between the square, horizontal or vertical format. Advertisements with videos represent the ideal option for those who want to take advantage of the evocative power of moving images. In this regard, it is necessary to keep in mind that the maximum duration of videos is fixed at 1 minute.

Carousel ads allow you to combine several photos or videos within a single ad, which the user can view by scrolling through the images. Collection ads provide the ability to tell a story through video and/or images and are designed to visually inspire the audience and invite them to discover and purchase products.

Instagram Stories ads give you the opportunity to capitalize on the success of this particular form of content that is highly valued and used by users of the social network. The peculiar feature is represented by the full-screen advertising format, even more immersive and engaging.

Finally, through the Ads in Explore, it is possible to make an advertisement on Instagram also targeted to that audience of people who want to expand their interests and are more likely to discover new content, not necessarily related to the accounts they already follow. Instagram ads are also displayed in the IGTV placement, the social network's platform dedicated to longer videos.

How to reach the people most important to your company

We have already mentioned that when setting up the ad, you can choose the audience to which it is intended. Targeting advertising on Instagram, however, deserves further investigation, since the social network provides several options to help advertisers reach the people that are most important to them.

One of the available options refers to location and allows you to show the ad to people based on a geographical indication, be it a specific state or a particular city. The ability to indicate certain demographics, such as age, gender or language, when setting up the ad allows you to narrow your audience based on this information as well.

You can also select specific interests to reach people even more precisely, based on the accounts they follow, the ads they click on or the apps they download. And that's not all: you can also define your ad's audience based on their behaviors, i.e. the activities they perform within the social network.

The targeting options offered by Instagram aren't finished: with the "custom audience" option, the platform allows you to show your ad to customers you already know, referring to their phone number or email contact, while with the "similar audience" feature, you can build an audience of users with characteristics similar to those of your customers.

Whoever wants more assistance, finally, can make use of the "automatic targeting" option, through which Instagram itself creates an audience potentially interested in the company's business, based on certain factors, geographical, demographic and behavioral.

Creative business storytelling tips

Instagram has also thought of those who want to advertise on Instagram but don't know where to start when it comes to the creativity of their content: the social platform, in fact, has published some useful tips on its site. Particular attention should be paid to the creation of an engaging post. Instagram recommends focusing on images that know how to attract the attention of users, that tell something about the company and that make them passionate. Another tip is to identify a register, a theme and a color palette and to use them consistently within your editorial calendar.

In the same way, it is advisable to study the caption in the best way, which is able to help to convey your message more effectively and which pushes people to break the delay and take action. Texts, specifically, should be concise and include a clear call-to-action. Relevant hashtags, mentions, and tags help people interested in the company's topics find them more easily. More generally, Instagram advises its advertisers to post content regularly and frequently in order to get more interactions, although this should never be at the expense of the quality of their content.

Another tip from Instagram is to always aim to improve, thanks in part to in-depth analysis of the statistical data on ads made available by the platform. Experimenting and conducting multiple tests for the same ad allows you to discover what performs best, that is, what encourages the most interaction with your audience and entices people to take the desired actions. Whatever your business goals are when advertising using Instagram Ads, knowing how to analyze the statistical data of your ads allows you to understand the effectiveness of your choices and, if necessary, to intervene promptly to correct your mistakes.