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Instagram Ads 2019

Instagram Ads 2019 – Your Comprehensive Guide for Successful Ads

Just as on Facebook, you can increase your reach and interaction rate on Instagram by using ads. Instagram gives you ample choice between types of ad formats – for some time now, among others, Stories Ads.

While creating Instagram Ads is quite simple, their success is hugely dependent on how well the format, content, campaign goal and target group fit together. The comprehensive overview we provide in this blog post is a valuable asset for making the right decisions.

Why Instagram Ads?

1 billion active monthly users, along with an impressive interaction rate, are what make Instagram one of the most important platforms for Social Media Marketing today. Consider that Instagram still provides significantly higher organic reach than Facebook. For accounts with between 10.000 to 100.000 followers, it was at 23 per cent in November 2018.

Nonetheless, companies are steadily more interested in working with ads in addition to organic posts, and here’s why:

  • In the long run, organic reach will decrease on Instagram too – a process that has already begun.
  • Cleverly designed ad campaigns help you in targeting exactly who you want to reach. Since Instagram is owned by Facebook, you can use Facebook’s Ads Manager to create Instagram Ads. In comparison to targeting via Instagram, the Facebook Ads Manager has a lot more targeting options, e.g. Custom and Lookalike Audiences.
  • Instagram Ads seem less invasive than ads on other platforms, since they integrate seamlessly into both the Feed and Stories.
  • You cannot add links to regular Instagram posts, unless your account is either verified or has more than 10.000 Followers. Ads on the other hand can be run by anyone. For instance, to connect users directly with a product page, include a “Shop Now” button in your ad.

Needless to say, Instagram Ads are particularly useful if the platform fits your products and target group. Most Instagram users are between the ages of 18 and 35, with people being less and less likely to be on Instagram from the age of 35 and up.

Instagram is all about visual content. Consequently, if you sell lifestyle products, you will have a much easier time promoting your products than say, an insurance company. Ms. Insurance Company Marketer will most likely have to be a lot more creative if she wants to run successful Instagram Ads, or shift her focus completely on to other platforms.

No matter if on Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn – truly great content is the fundamental component in Social Media Marketing. How to create content that really grips your audience, you can learn from our e-book “The Art of Social Media Content Creation”. Download it now for free!

The Art of Social Media Content Creation
Download our eBook and learn how to plan, create and distribute your social media content while measuring its effectiveness on your relevant social media channels. To ensure you don’t miss out on any big social media content trend or best practice, we’ve also included interviews of 5 experts in this field. Find out how to master the art of social media content creation using the latest available tools and determine what type of content makes your audience tick!

Ad formats: an overview

There are considerable differences among the various ad formats that Instagram offers, so we have compiled a handy overview of your options:

Photo Ads

They are the simplest form of Instagram Ads: a picture in landscape or square format. These ads are ideal for showcasing your products and connecting users with your online shop when they click on the picture. Obviously, you want to be using visually stunning, emotionally engaging pictures for Photo Ads.

Instagram Photo Ads
Simple, yet effective. Photo Ads are based on high-quality pictures. Source: sensible insights

Video Ads

Video content is king. Instagram gives you an entire 60 seconds for videos, but that doesn’t mean that you have to use them up fully. Sometimes, shorter videos may be just as effective, if not more so. Ideally, users are so fascinated that they just can’t look away from the ad – like with this clip, from Under Armour and GoPro.


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For videos, you also get to choose between the landscape and square format, and ways of using videos are endless. For instance, they are particularly successful in raising brand awareness.

If you want to highlight more than one product or tell more than one story at a time, Carousel Ads are the ad format of choice. Combine between 2 and 10 pictures or videos into one post, which the user can then experience by swiping through. If you have a multi-faceted catalogue, this is a great way of showing off the variety of your products.

Instagram Carousel Ads
Carousel Ads are very useful for presenting a number of products or product groups at once.

Slideshow Ads

At the first glance, Slideshow Ads seem just like Video Ads. However, instead of videos, they feature a sequence of selected pictures. In contrast to Carousel Ads, users don’t need to swipe from one picture to the next – this Ad type does it for them. The use cases are similar, of course: as with Carousel Ads, Slideshow Ads provide the opportunity to present a variety of products at the same time.

Stories Ads

Stories are definitely trending in Social Media Marketing. While they are growing on Facebook, they are an absolute staple of Instagram Marketing already. By using Stories Ads, you can use the fact that Stories have higher engagement rates than regular posts to your advantage.

Stories Ads are placed in between organic Stories, essentially connecting them. As a result, they ideally garner users’ attention without being too invasive. Being memorable and subtle, while having a clear message at the same time is a real challenge. We believe that this Spotify ad is a great example of how to do it right:

Instagram Story Ad Spotify
This Stories Ad is a true eye-catcher. Source: socialmediaexaminer

Your campaign goal determines which ad formats you will use.

Running Instagram Ads with the Ads Manager: a step-by-step guide

Instagram Ads can be created in various ways. In this blog post, we focus on ads you can create with the help of the Facebook Ads Manager, since it offers a great number of opportunities.

First, you need to connect your Instagram account with your Facebook page. To do so, follow these steps:

  1. On your Facebook page, click on “Settings”.
  2. Select “Instagram” on the left hand side.
  3. Finalize the process by clicking on “Sign in” and provide your Instagram login data.
Instagram Facebook Connect Accounts

How to create Instagram Ads:

  1. Create a new campaign in the Facebook Ads Manager.
  2. Choose your campaign goal. Right now you can select one of three goals, which each have their sub-categories. Note: Messages, Catalog sales, and Store traffic cannot be goals of Stories Ads campaigns.
  3. Then you can choose a name for your campaign, thereby keeping an overview of all your campaigns in the long run. You can also select the target location your ad should guide the audience to, e.g. directing visitors to your website, your app, or the messenger.
  4. Narrow down your target group. You can do so by selecting factors such as the users’ location, gender, or language. With the help of the visual representation of the target group size, provided to you on the right hand side, it is easy to determine which changes in your target group size are caused by which limitations on characteristics. This way, you can find out whether the target group you have defined is too broad or too narrow.
    Facebook Instagram Ads Estimated Results
  5. Choose a placement for your ads. With “Automatic Placement”, Facebook displays your ads autonomously. If you want more control on your part, we suggest you select the placement yourself. On Instagram, there are two options: the feed, or Stories.
  6. For pricing, there are two options on Facebook and Instagram:
    – Pricing per link click
    – Pricing per 1000 impressions
    You can also determine whether you want your ads to run on a daily or a runtime budget, and make further settings decisions. Here too, Facebook gives you an idea of how well your campaign is going to perform with your selected criteria, by providing “Estimated Daily Results” in the right column.
  7. Now, you can create your ads. Facebook’s Guidelines will tell you, which requirements you need to meet for Feed or Stories Ads. Focus on short and appealing statements, combined with clear Calls to Action. Enter your link of choice. The preview will give you an idea of what the finished ad will look like.

Creating Instagram Ads in-app

In addition to the Ads Manager, you can also create Instagram Ads directly in the app and thereby turn particularly successful posts into ads. But first, you have to turn your regular account into a business account.

Then follow these steps:

  1. In your Business Profile, click on “Promotions” and then “Create Promotions”.
  2. Choose a post that you want to turn into an ad.
  3. Decide on a campaign goal, target group, and Call to Action.
  4. Finally, click on “Create Promotion”.

Once you have created your ad, Instagram takes a little while to review whether your ad conforms to their guidelines. Once it is live, check your “Promotion Insights” to know how well your ad is performing.

Tips for successful campaigns

Choose your goals diligently

Make up your mind on what exactly you want to achieve with your Instagram Ads. If you want to increase the number of people who know your brand, Brand Awareness is a useful goal. Reach, to little surprise, wants to increase your account’s reach (but that is rarely efficient). If you want to direct users to your website, you want to set Traffic as your goal. Store Visits, on the other hand, is usually the ideal goal if you want to increase sales in your online store.

Additionally, Instagram gives you lots of opportunities to motivate users to carry out specific actions through selecting certain campaign goals. Through App Downloads for instance, you can create ads that enable your users to directly download your app. By choosing “Messenger” – “Messenger/Clicks to Messenger”, users are given the opportunity to get in touch with you via the messenger right through the ad. Lead Ads are perfect for gathering prospective customers’ contact details, because by clicking on them, they direct the user to a respective form where they can enter their data and e.g. sign up for a newsletter.

Using Instagram’s options for Targeting

Instagram gives you a number of options for defining your target groups precisely. Just be sure to not limit yourself to selecting age groups or locations.

You can additionally choose one of these two kinds of target groups:

  • Custom Audience: Members of the Custom Audience are those users who have interacted with your brand before. They can be followers on Facebook or visitors to your website or blog. Custom Audiences can also specifically exclude certain people. For instance, this might be helpful if you want to bring people to your website who haven’t been there before.
  • Lookalike Audience: These are target groups that are similar to your existing target groups. As a basis for creating a Lookalike Audience, you can choose from specific Custom Audiences.

Of course it makes sense to experiment with different target groups for Instagram Ads. The better you plan your campaigns ahead of time, the less effort it takes to experiment.

Ads that don’t look like Ads

Many of the most successful ads on Instagram are indiscernible from regular posts. What makes them so great is that they seamlessly integrate into users’ news feeds, without being invasive. Pro tip: create several organic posts that look very similar to your ad, so as to give your ad a harmonious context.

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Not recognizable as an ad does however not mean the same as unremarkable. After all, Instagram is all about visual appearance. This is why you should exclusively use high-quality pictures and videos for Instagram Ads.

Use Calls to Action

Calls to Action are especially important if you don’t simply want to spread a video to increase brand awareness, but actually invite users to take action. Instagram provides a number of Calls to Action for this purpose, ranging from “Book now”, over “Contact us”, all the way to “Buy now”. Be sure to integrate Calls to Action, the campaign goal and content of the ad properly. If you aren’t sure how well these components fit together, try out different versions with A/B tests.

Regularly exchange Ads

A successful ad moves users, and sticks with them. But the target group may get bored a lot quicker than you think, so make it a habit to frequently exchange your current ads for new ones. By doing so, you keep your account interesting and diverse. Also, this gives you a chance to continuously test and optimize different versions of your ads.

To mix up your Instagram account, it’s a good idea to promote user-generated content along with your own images or videos. This is a great way of generating authenticity, just make sure that you are allowed to use your users’ content.

Measure, Analyze, Optimize

The Facebook Ads Manager is a mighty tool for continuously analyzing and optimizing your ad campaigns on Facebook and Instagram. For ads, both the Click-through Rate as well as the Conversion Rate are significant. Additionally, it keeps you in the loop about your ad spendings.

Which key figures are most important for knowing how successful you are in your marketing activities? Find out in our blog post “25 Social Media Key Figures You Must Know By 2019”.

Instagram Ads work

More and more companies realize this, with estimates suggesting that Instagram’s ad revenue will double in 2019, compared to 2017.

You can reach more users by spending more money, but that is not the only fact relevant for this estimate. Considering the variety of ad formats, such as Stories Ads, and the option of managing all your campaigns through the Facebook Ads Manager, marketers are given unique opportunities for putting their spendings to great use.

Swat.io has lots of opportunities in store for you, too. Planning content, creating it in collaboration with your team, and publishing it across platforms, along with lots of exciting features – keeping your Social Media Marketing up to date, always. Start your free trial now.

Efficient Social Media Communications With Swat.io

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