Instagram Ads are officially here. Businesses of all sizes are getting the ability to run ads on Instagram, in up to thirty new countries. This week, a large number of businesses and advertisers have jumped at the chance to start running campaigns on the photo-sharing, hashtag-loving site.
Note: AdEspresso is a Facebook Marketing Partners, we’ve had early access to Instagram Ads and since last week we released Instagram Ads to all our users so they can easily split test them in minutes and optimize their spending. Try it out now!
Instagram Ads is still rolling out slowly, so your particular business may not get access until October 2015, so if you don’t have access yet, you probably will soon.
If your business is ready to get started – or is thinking about getting started—with Instagram Ads, here’s what you need to know…
Why You Should Advertise with Instagram Ads
Instagram has a community of over 300 million users, meaning that there’s a ton of marketing potential there, and now marketers can take advantage of that.
There’s an added bonus—Instagram is partnered with Facebook, meaning that they’ll be able to take relevant user information and apply it to advertising on Instagram, especially when it comes to targeting, unlike a lot of mobile advertising platforms. This automatically gives Instagram Ads an edge over most of their competitors for marketers.
Click-through rates on Instagram are already impressive, and I think that’s only going to increase. While using the basis of Facebook Ad’s infrastructure, and taking what works and applying it to Instagram, I think their new ads system could become a powerful force to be reckoned with.
How to Run Ads for Instagram
In order to create and run ads for Instagram, you’ll need to utilize Facebook’s Power Editor, which means that yes, you do need a Facebook account in order to run them (ironically, an Instagram account is apparently not yet required to run Instagram Ads, though I had to fill in an account name to run my ad).
From Facebook’s Power Editor, you’ll go to Create a Campaign. When you scroll over the objective “Clicks to Website,” you’ll see a pop-up that reads “New Create Ads for Instagram.” Name your ad, ad set, and campaign and you’ll be good to start creating your ad as you would normally create a Facebook Ad.
You must choose an objective that supports Instagram Ads, which currently includes but is limited to the following:
- Clicks to Website
- Mobile App Installs
- Video Views
When you go in to create your ad, you can choose if you want your ad to run on just Instagram, just Facebook, or both. You must have Instagram set as a placement option. This will be one of the first things you see when you open your ad to edit and create it, and you must connect your accounts before you can work on the creative aspects of the ad.
Once your ad is created, upload it to Power Editor, and your Instagram Ad will be submitted for approval.
Best Tips and Practices
While Instagram Ads is newer for most advertisers, so it’s still a learning process, there are a few best tips and practices that we can get started with to help your campaign stand out above the rest and to get the results you’re looking for.
First, it’s good to note that those who are familiar with Facebook Ads’ guidelines and rules will have little issue with Instagram Ads, as they must follow the same set of policies and guidelines—it seems like the same team will be reviewing both sets of ads.
Here’s some other current best tips and practices to get started with on Instagram Ads.
Focus on the visual. Facebook is about information sharing; Instagram is all about the images that we share. While the images you choose for Facebook Ads are important, they are almost everything for Instagram Ads. Bright, beautiful, high quality images are important for Instagram– especially when they’re full of action and feel alive.
Don’t Forget the Hashtag. Another crucial difference from Facebook Ads, Instagram relies a lot on the hashtag. Slapping your hashtag—whether it’s one that’s trending or using your own personal branded hashtag—onto your ad is an important part of success with this platform. Not having a hashtag might have your ad standing out, and not in a good way.
Keep it in looking real and in real time. This tip is more about the illusion you’re presenting than the real thing. Instagram is all about the illusion of sharing spontaneous photos that are happening right now, even though a large portion of them have filters slapped on and some editing completed before the posts are shared. That being said, looking like you’re taking and sharing “real” pictures in “real time” will work the best. Users wouldn’t want to see a picture of a sunset, for example, at noon on a Sunday—it doesn’t feel authentic. Even if you wait a day or two to share an image, it should feel like it’s happening right then and there.
Users also don’t want to see overly-manufactured and what look to be heavily-edited pictures. Keep that in mind when choosing what to share. Authenticity is important.
Look at the reach. Instagram Ads is currently set up to optimize for reach more than engagement. While this could change over time, right now if you want to see which campaigns are doing best by Instagram’s standards, you want to keep an eye and monitor the reach.
This is a much different model of how to measure success compared to most social media ads models, which emphasize engagement; it’s much more similar to how media like magazines, for example, will view success—by reach and estimated impressions instead of direct engagement.
This model may change over time, but it’s how Instagram is prioritizing success at the moment.
Though Instagram Ads is a new marketing platform for most marketers (it has been around and been tested by a few select brands for about a year and a half), we’re going to be seeing a lot of them in the next few months. As with any new platforms, a certain amount of trial-and-error will likely take place in the immediate future while brands figure out both individually and as a whole how to best connect with their audiences on Instagram.
What do you think about Instagram Ads? Have you tried them yet? Will you? Leave us a comment and let us know what you think!