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Everything You Need to Know to Run Instagram Ads

October 8, 2015 | Marketing Strategies, Mobile Apps, Social Media Advertising

Instagram Ads is officially here. After a lot of testing, Instagram is finally rolling out their new Ad platform to all businesses in select countries, including the US. If you don’t have Instagram Ads yet, you will soon.

While a lot of businesses and marketers are head-over-heels excited about getting started with Instagram Ads, knowing how to actually run the Instagram Ads is another thing. Fortunately, our Facebook Page was one of the first to get access to Instagram Ads, so we can give you the all-inclusive walk-through that you’ll need to get started with Instagram Ads.

The Benefits of Advertising with Instagram Ads 

IMG_8572While plenty of marketers and businesses have jumped on board and started running Instagram Ads the second they could, many more are just as skeptical. It’s a new ads system, and there’s plenty more than have been out there for a lot longer, which they may be familiar with, and they don’t see what the point is to start engaging users on Instagram.

There’s a lot of benefits to advertising with Instagram Ads, and while it’s normal to think “I’ll let them work out the kinks in the system before I start putting my money in,” Instagram Ads isn’t all that new of a system. Not only have they been doing extensive testing for quite a while with select businesses (Instagram Ads have been live for a while, but they’re just now rolling out to almost everyone else), Instagram Ads is piggy-backing off of Facebook’s Ad system—and we all know how powerful that is.

Instagram and Facebook are sister companies, and because of that, Instagram is getting access to Facebook’s highly refined ad system—including their renowned targeting. While Instagram is a newer platform and focuses on photo-sharing promoted with hashtags, Facebook has a lot more information on users that can make targeting on both platforms much more accurate.

In addition to the benefit of Instagram Ads coming ready-made with the strengths of Facebook Ads, there are a few more than shouldn’t be ignored, including:

  • Instagram currently has over 300 million users…and growing
  • Instagram has incredible click-through rates… even beating out Facebook.
  • Mobile app usage has increased, and with Instagram being a mobile-based platform, many users use it daily.
  • Instagram as a platform is ideal for branding. You can speed up the process with ads.

How to Run Instagram Ads

Instagram Ads can be created through Facebook’s Power Editor, as if you were creating Facebook Ads. As of right now, you cannot create Instagram Ads just through the regular Ads manager—it has to be Power Editor.

To check to see if you have access to start creating Instagram Ads, go to Power Editor and open the page that allows you to create a new campaign (not an ad, or an ad set, but an actual campaign). When you hover over “clicks to website,” you’ll see a “New: Create Ads for Instagram” tag next to it. If you don’t have this yet, you’ll likely get access very soon.

how to run Instagram Ads

To create Instagram Ads, you’ll need to create ads under a campaign with objectives that support Instagram Ads, which are flagged with that same tag shown above. Right now, these objectives include:

  • Clicks to Website
  • Mobile App Installs
  • Video Views

After you create your new campaign, you can create the ad set and the actual ad by selecting the “Create an Ad” option, just as you normally would. You’ll be asked to connect an Instagram account.

how to run instagram ads

The rest of the ad creation process is similar to what you’re used to for Facebook Ads, with a few changes—some features for Facebook Ads aren’t offered for Instagram Ads (such as CTA buttons or carousel image ads), and some features will be new. You can choose to crop your image specifically for ideal Instagram dimensions, for example, as seen below.

run instagram ads

Once your ad is ready, make sure you preview it specifically using the Instagram preview before you launch it.

Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 2.20.58 PM

Tips & Techniques for Success on Instagram Ads

Though Instagram Ads are new for most, there have been a few businesses that were able to test out Instagram Ads and help us shape what we know to be best practices of the platform before we even got started. Combining that with what we know about marketing on Instagram gives us a list of good tips and techniques to get started with success when taking a look at how to run Instagram Ads.

These current tips and techniques for success include:

  • Boost engagement with videos. Videos have been taking social media by storm, and Instagram is no different. Since businesses and marketers can choose the ad objective to “increase video views,” take advantage of this feature with occasional sponsored videos to increase engagement and gain more followers.
  • Make use of hashtags. Hashtags are a big part of Instagram, so unlike Facebook, you’ll want to slap a few onto your post in your description, whether they are your business’s personal branded hashtag, or a hashtag of a trending topic that you think could connect you with your relevant audience. Either way, you’ll want to make use of them, because after the imagery, they’re one of the most important aspects of using Instagram.

running instagram ads

  • Choose images that fit in. This is a bit of an oxymoron; you want your ad to stand out while fitting in. What that means is that Instagram is filled with images taken with cell phones and by regular, nonprofessional photographers; while filters are often frequently used, the images aren’t exactly the same quality that you’re probably used to posting to promote your products. Choose images that fit in with everything else in terms of how they look (ie: taken with a smartphone), but that will stand out in terms of content.
  • Put emphasis on the imagery. This makes sense; with Instagram being an image sharing platform, the images you choose for your ads are more important than ever before, because that’s what people go to see on Instagram. While hashtags are important, the image you choose will be solely what matters most, and can be the biggest contributor to what makes or breaks your campaign. Beautiful, unique, and stand out images are all strong contenders, whether you’re featuring an image of your product or giving customers a behind-the-scenes look.

tips for instagram ads

  • Keep it relevant. Relevant, timely posts are posts that often do well. Posting images of something that’s happening right now is a great way to get a ton of engagement and exposure for your Instagram Ad. Whether you’re sharing images of a live event, your promoting something seasonal, or your advertising new products or sales, posting relevant, timely information and images is a great tip to keep in mind.

Final Thoughts

Instagram Ads is offering us a new audience, platform, and branding opportunity, coming with the benefits of Facebook’s incredible tried-and-true (and continually improving) ads system. With soaring click-through rates and the chance to expand your reach to new audience members, it only makes sense to at least test out Instagram Ads for yourself and see how they perform for your business.

What do you think? Are you excited for Instagram Ads? Have you run any campaigns yet? Leave a comment and let us know what you think!


James Dickerson

Founder of CrushCampaigns

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