When asked about social media advertising, many marketers instantly think of the powerhouse platform, Facebook. However, since Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram in 2012, the image sharing site has also seen rapid growth, with their active user base reaching 1 billion this year.

Couple that with the fact that 80% of all Instagram users follow a business on the platform and it’s clear that Instagram is a great channel for brand advertising. Instagram has taken this opportunity to offer a robust range of advertising options for businesses to make their own.

Here’s a look at how to advertise on Instagram in 2019, the Instagram ad formats, goals, and the importance of creative to drive conversions.


why advertise on instagram

Why advertise on Instagram? You can reach over 1 billion highly-engaged users with a sophisticated set of creative advertising tools.                                        Source: The Brand’s Guide to Creative Performance on Instagram & Facebook


How to Advertise on Instagram


It used to be that if brands wanted to advertise on Instagram, they had to partner with an influencer and have them promote their products. While this is still an effective marketing strategy, there are several downfalls including:

  • A limited target audience
  • No way to track results from your own account
  • No accountability if the promotion didn’t do well
  • The hassle of negotiating promotion terms

Now, all you need to start advertising on Instagram is to head into Facebook’s Ads Manager platform or create ads directly from within your Instagram Business Account.

With this platform, you can track your ad performance from your brand accounts, scale or narrow down your target audience, and retain full control of your marketing efforts.


instagram ads manager

You can begin creating and purchasing ads directly from the Instagram app with a business account or using Facebook Ads Manager.      Source: Instagram


In order to understand how to advertise on Instagram, brands need to have an understanding of the 5 different ad types offered and how they should be used.


The 4 Different Types of Instagram Ads


1. Photo Ads


Simple but classic, photo ads are one of the easiest types of Instagram ads to make.

They’re made up of just one photo, featured in either landscape or square format, and are a great way for brands to draw in new fans with creative imagery.


instagram photo ads

Source: Instagram


2. Carousel Ads


Carousel ads feature between 2-10 images and let users swipe between them, allowing brands to show off their range of products in one ad.

This is especially useful for brands who are launching a new line of products or collections.

carousel ads instagram

Source: Instagram

3. Video Ads


Video ads feature videos that can be up to 60 seconds long and are featured in either landscape or square format. These types of ads are a good way for brands to inspire customers with dynamic footage.

video ads instagram

Source: Instagram


4. Stories Ads


Like Snapchat, Instagram now allows brands to upload photos and videos to their fan’s Stories feed for a limited amount of time.

With over 500 million people actively using Stories every day, this is a great way for brands to get in front of their target audience.

stories ads instagram

Source: Instagram


“Stories is still an under-utilized placement on Facebook and Instagram, and often ads aren’t properly fitted to a vertical ratio,” says Sarah Sanchez, Manager of Performance Social at Tinuiti.

“Stories will continue dominating social media behavior in 2019 and brands should focus on meeting consumers where they’re spending their time.”


The 8 Different Instagram Ad Campaign Objectives


In order for your Instagram ads to be effective, you need to decide what your goal is.

Do you want to increase your brand awareness? Maybe you want to promote your new fall collection. Regardless of what your goal is, it’s important that you have one.

Instagram Ads have made it easy for businesses to accomplish their goals by featuring 8 different campaign objectives. Instagram will optimize your ad performance to match your intended goal and make your campaign much more effective.


1. Brand Awareness

If you choose Brand Awareness, Instagram will optimize your ad to reach people who are more likely to be interested in your brand. If your goal is to get new fans, this is the objective for you.


2. Reach

Similar to Brand Awareness, Reach allows you to reach a large number of people. However, this group won’t be as targeted as they would be with the Brand Awareness goal–instead, Instagram will try to reach as many people as possible.


marketing objectives facebook ads manager

You can set different objectives within Facebook Ads Manager. Source: Facebook


3. Traffic

The Traffic option serves to drive traffic to your website or app, if you have one. Traffic is a good choice if you want to drive users to your online store or a landing page.


4. App Installs

While Traffic can help drive users to your app, App Installs is specifically meant for (you guessed it) persuading users to download your app. You can use any ad type with this objective, so don’t be afraid to get creative!


5. Engagement

Engagement is a versatile ad type that can be used to promote offers, your account, or your posts. Unlike the previous four objectives, Engagement can only be used with Image Ads, Video Ads, and Slideshow Ads.


6. Video Views

Video Views is a fun and dynamic way to raise awareness for your brand and products. Currently, it can only be used with Video Ads, Slideshow ads, Carousel Ads, or Stories Ads.


7. Lead Generation

Well-suited for collecting information, Lead Generation drives users to forms that allow you to capture user information for marketing efforts down the road.


8. Conversions

Conversions are a good option for businesses that want to encourage sales on either their website or app. Just be aware that if you want to use Conversions, you’ll need the Facebook SDK installed in your app and the Facebook Pixel on your website.


conversions instagram goal


Want to learn how to use the Facebook Pixel? Check out The Best Facebook Pixel Guide for Advertisers.


How Much Does it Cost to Advertise on Instagram?


In order to know how to advertise on Instagram, you need to know how much you’re going to spend.

So, how much does it cost to advertise on Instagram?

The answer: it depends.

In 2019, Adstage ran the info of over 390 million ad impressions and 5 million clicks on Instagram and the results are as follows:

  • The average cost per click is $1.41.
  • The average cost per mille is $7.91.
  • The average click-through rate was .52%.

Keep in mind that these numbers can vary depending on your target audience. It seems that the cost for very general or very niche audiences ran significantly higher than audiences that fell somewhere in the middle.


instagram advertising costs

Source: Facebook


Instagram as an Advertising Platform


As one of the fastest growing social media platforms, there’s no denying that Instagram is here to stay as an advertising platform. By keeping in mind how much it costs to advertise on Instagram and taking the time to play around with the ads manager feature, you’ll be able to find the advertising strategy that’s right for you.


Creative Performance Is A Brand Differentiator

Advertisers are going to continue to invest and compete more fiercely for the highly engaged audiences of Facebook & Instagram—and it will be the power of creative that drives performance more than any other input in the long run.

Advertisers can hone in targeting, ad formats, value props and more—but it will ultimately be the visuals that stop someone scrolling in their feed or swiping in their stories to stop and engage with your brand.


split testing instagram facebook ads

Regular split testing is key to refreshing your ads and driving incremental performance on Instagram. Source: The Brand’s Guide to Creative Performance on Instagram & Facebook.


That’s why it’s more important than ever to:

  • Organize and get strategic with your creative output
  • Implement design best practices that capitalize on the creative nuances of Facebook and Instagram ad formats
  • Regularly test, measure, and refresh your creative to drive incremental performance
  • Continue gathering data to optimize and inform creative strategy across your social campaigns


“Increased volume of direct brands has led to increased audience overlap and competition. This calls for a renewed focus on leveraging creative as a strategic differentiator. Brands need to design with
conversions in mind if they want to stand out from millions of creative agencies and competitors.”

jon gregoire

-Jon Gregoire, Director of Demand Generation at Tinuiti


Want to learn how to advertise on Instagram with creative designed for conversions?

Check out our Guide to Creative Performance on Instagram & Facebook


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