Marketing Strategy Blog

The Beginner’s Guide to Instagram Advertising

What is Instagram?

Instagram is a social media platform owned by Facebook which is based primarily around images and videos. It is a free medium to use for personal use, and also for business use. For those that utilize it for financial gain, they have to keep in mind the advertising resources that are available for a fee, as well as, the successful account practices that encourage viewership and engagement with their online community. 

This platform can also provide advertising data on Instagram users who visit the page of the paying organization and how they interact with the company’s ads. With over one billion people actively using Instagram to chat, share experiences, promote their businesses, and sell their products; it would be remiss of some companies not to attempt using Instagram to their advantage in regards to advertising and sales.

Paid Advertising Options 

Instagram offers several built-in ad formats. Some of these are: stories ads, photo ads, video ads, carousel ads, and IGTV ads. Many of these are displayed in a format that blends the ad design rather seamlessly in with the general look and feel of Instagram content. Business accounts also can choose to promote their posts, which is a process similar to boosting a Facebook post in that the company pays money for their content to show up on the feeds of prospective customers. “The average Instagram ads CPC (cost-per-click) is around $0.50 – $1.” according to Depending on which industry the ads are targeting, this is more affordable than Google ads, which can cost between $1-$2 per click.

A popular but sometimes more expensive option in regards to Instagram advertising can be recruiting brand influencers and ambassadors that already have established accounts and blogs. These individuals will then create content that is in line with the branding and mission of the campaign and create brand awareness for the company amongst their own community.

An important thing to remember when hiring influencers is that their feeds may be carefully curated. It is much easier to get in touch with an influencer that already suits the company’s image and moral standing than to try and make someone who may not match the campaign vision fit. Not to mention, the influencer aspect of a campaign will be more effective when the content being released by the influencer matches the interests of their followers.

Free Marketing Options

For the more frugal marketing manager, Instagram does have a business setting available for accounts that is free of charge. This setting enables the user to view insights, add a Contact button, enable shopping and item tagging, and offer checkout to customers. This feature also offers branded content approval and quick replies to direct messages in order to more effectively manage an account that receives more traffic or similar messages consistently.

Organic Posts are another option that is less in the control of the company, but are effective nevertheless. When a customer is pleased with their service or has been encouraged to post something involving the product it creates content that has not been designed by the company initially and which the company has little control over. These can be created by telling customers to use a hashtag or post specific, theme-related content. If these align well with the marketing campaign, the team can reuse the content on the company social media pages which may encourage more organic content creation by the customer base. 

Engaging with accounts that are similar to the company’s business in style or mission can also be advantageous in regards to marketing. Tagging their social media, or displaying how their product interacts with the one being marketed, or further publishing a pre-existing partnership, are all viable options for free advertising on the company social media account.

Social media was designed for creating a community online, and this allows customers to work together or follow a larger theme. By providing an opportunity for the company’s community to organize and make some decisions, the company will find that more content is created by the community itself coming together and the need for the marketing to create all of the content will be alleviated. It is also important to loop the digital campaigns and content into the same themes as print materials and make sure that the whole campaign has a lot of continuity. 

Contests are also a technically free advertising option, as they would be offering some of the company’s product as payment or incentive rather than part of the advertising budget. These can help drum up interest amongst the company’s social media followers and give them incentive to share company content which can heavily increase brand awareness. These can be created with graphics and slides in a more formal capacity, or be something that is offered for a limited time through stories. The contests are not a part of Instagram’s built in resources, but they can be mediated through story replies, reposts, and the use of hashtags.

How Can Someone Use Instagram Ads?

As Instagram is owned by Facebook, familiarity with the Facebook Ads system can be very helpful in getting started. If the company’s marketing team does not have experience with Facebook Ads, there are various trainings available in order for those people to learn more. Using Facebook Ad analytics can help to define specific interactions with customers which can be viewed and utilized when planning out the next moves or adjustments for a campaign.


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