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How To Advertise On Instagram (A Quick Guide For Beginners)

Instagram's popularity is growing every year, and with over 1 billion active users, it's undoubtedly one of the largest social media platforms in the world. And more importantly, one of the best opportunities to grow your business, if many of your customers are under 40 years of age.

The United States has the highest percentage of Instagram users (with over 100 million), so if your customers are in the U.S. or you are trying to enter the U.S. market, then Instagram may be one of your best vehicles to get your message across. 

The business case for Instagram is no different from other social media platforms. It is one of the most effective ways to increase your awareness, and connect with more customers. 

However, with organic posts getting squeezed out by promoted posts, advertising has become a vital tool in reaching customers effectively.

Related: Pay-to-Play Trend in Social Media

Instagram Advertising Goals

When you promote a post, your goal is often to increase awareness, connect with more customers, or to boost sales. However, which specific goal is your primary objective may vary. For example, raising awareness should be your primary goal if you are trying to build a brand, launch a new product, or enter a different market segment. 

On the other hand, "boosting/increasing sales" is a clear goal when you promote special offers on Instagram—for example, offering a limited-time discount. 

How To Promote (Advertise) On Instagram

To promote a post, you will need an Instagram professional account or a Facebook business page. 

If you already have an Instagram account, then you can easily convert your profile to a professional account. Set up a professional account on Instagram

Steps:

  1. Click on the "Promote" button 
  2. Select destination (where will your ad redirect users to? Profile, website, or direct message?)
  3. Choose your target audience (automatic or create your own)
    • Automatic - will target people similar to your followers
    • Create Your Own - allow you to set targeting options manually
    • In most cases, our advice is to set targeting options manually, because accurate targeting is essential in online advertising 
  4. Set your ad budget parameters (daily spend and ad duration)
    • What should your daily budget be? If you don't have any experience with Instagram advertising, then start small ($5-$10/day).
  5. Overview (review your ad settings)

Your ad has to be reviewed and approved before your audience can see it. The approval process is usually swift, so you can expect to see your ad online in less than an hour. 

As you can see, promoting your post is relatively easy. Creating compelling, engaging, or useful content that you will eventually promote is the challenging and time-consuming part.  

Reporting (Insights)

Insights allow you to view data on your followers, and in general, how your content is performing. For example, you can see how many people engaged with your promoted post. 

When analyzing reports, the 3 most important areas to look for are:

  • Audience: information on your audience. For example, age, gender, location, and activity
  • Content: offers insights on your promotions, stories, and posts in general
  • Activity: how your audience is interacting with you on Instagram. For example, number of profile visits and how many people see your content

How To Access Insights (Reports)

  1. Go to your profile
  2. Click on the menu
  3. Choose Insights

Instagram Advertising Tips

  • Make sure your Instagram profile looks professional. For example: logo, description, photos, etc.
  • Only promote posts your current followers found engaging (e.g., higher than average likes, comments, saves, etc.)
  • Most Instagram users scroll quickly through their feed, so your promoted photo or video should be catchy - needs to grab attention
  • Videos often perform better than images
  • If you are new to Instagram advertising, then start small (daily budget)
  • Optimize, Optimize, and Optimize. Incremental improvements will make a big difference over time, so try different images, colors, call-to-actions, etc. 

Summary

In a crowded social media space, promoting social media posts has almost become a necessity - to ensure your message gets across to a broader audience. 

Instagram is no different, irrespective if you are trying to build awareness, followers, connect with customers, or boost sales. Having a healthy mix of organic and paid content is always advised. Unquestionably, it will get you to your Instagram goals faster than using "organic only" or "paid only" strategies. 

Related: 7 Simple Tips To Crush Your Instagram Marketing

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Aleksandar (Sasha) Radonjic Evolving Digital Profile Picture About Evolving Digital
Hello, I am the Founder & Chief Growth Strategist at Evolving Digital, a digital marketing agency specializing in Growth Strategy, Digital Marketing, and more.