Jul 11, 2024

Mastering Instagram Ads: Your Ultimate Online Guide

Grace Jee
Growth Marketing Manager

If you’re new to marketing, SWIDIA is here to help. The world of online advertising has gotten pretty crowded and although TikTok is all the rage, Instagram shouldn’t be left out. According to Oberlo, they believe the number of Instagram users will only continue to grow, far exceeding 1.4 billion worldwide by the end of 2024. 

With a reach of 96.6% of active users and over 1 billion potential customers, Instagram ads offer unparalleled access to your target audience. Despite changes in ad reporting, Meta data shows a 21% increase in ad reach over the past year.

In this guide, we'll walk you through the process of advertising on Instagram, providing an easy 8-step plan to create your first ad. Plus, claim your free pack of 15 professionally designed Instagram ad templates from Hootsuite, customizable in Canva.

What are Instagram ads? 

They're paid posts that appear in users' feeds, Stories, and explore pages, mimicking organic content but with added features like links, CTA buttons, and product tags. With various ad formats like image, video, carousel, and collection ads, you can choose the type that best suits your business goals.

How much do Instagram Ads cost?

Costs for Instagram ads vary based on budget, duration, and targeting options. Meta suggests starting with a minimum of $5.00 per day, but there's no one-size-fits-all approach. Factors like audience targeting and industry competitiveness influence costs, but starting with a low bid and adjusting as you gain insights is a smart strategy.

For companies just stepping their toe into Instagram advertising, it's crucial to understand bidding strategies. You have the option to manually set maximum bids for each auction or allow Instagram to optimize them automatically. If you're new to Instagram advertising, starting with a conservative maximum bid can help you gain valuable experience.

As you gain insights into your industry and target demographics, you can reassess your bidding strategy.

To effectively manage your budget, it's recommended to create a draft campaign in the Instagram Ad Manager. Utilize tools like the Audience Definition and Estimated Daily Results modules to gauge if your budget aligns with your audience reach and campaign duration goals.

The Different Types of Instagram Ads

Explore the different ad formats available on Instagram, including image, video, story, carousel, collection, explore, reels, and shopping ads. Each format offers unique opportunities to engage with your audience and achieve your advertising objectives.

Image Ads

Instagram image ads are ideal for campaigns featuring captivating visual content that can be effectively communicated through a single image. Whether crafted from high-quality photography or design and illustration, images play a crucial role in capturing audience attention.

While text overlay is an option, Instagram suggests minimizing it for improved accessibility and optimal performance.

These appear in the newsfeed naturally while people are scrolling through their feed. This is a popular option as it allows you to use the carousel feature, so customers can browse through several images of the items you’d like to highlight. 

Video Ads

24 Inspiring Instagram Video Ads You Need to See

Instagram video ads offer a powerful platform to showcase your product or service in a captivating and visually appealing manner. Whether demonstrating product functionality, spotlighting unique features, or narrating your brand's story, video ads provide an immersive experience for viewers.

While in-feed video ads can be as long as 60 minutes, shorter videos tend to be more impactful and effective in grabbing audience attention. 

From our experience, there is no perfect length for how long video ads should be on Instagram so we highly recommend testing out all lengths. We also recommend utilizing UGC videos for video ads versus videos simply describing your brand or the company, as UGC videos are the most effective form of advertising we utilize. 

Story Ads

Instagram Story Ads are immersive full-screen image or video advertisements seamlessly integrated between users’ Stories. It's a very simple and effective way to capture your audience’s attention. 

With over 500 million daily viewers, Instagram Stories are a highly popular feature, fostering higher engagement compared to traditional in-feed ads. Their full-screen format captures users' attention, providing a more immersive viewing experience.

The most effective Instagram Story Ads blend seamlessly with organic Stories content, ensuring they do not disrupt the user experience. Businesses can leverage various Instagram Stories features, including filters, text, GIFs, and interactive stickers, to create engaging and authentic advertisements.

We recommend playing around with the stories ads, as they can still use photos, videos, as well as carousels. The option to try out so many different forms is a great way to collect data for A/B testing, to see which photos work the best with which CTAs. The call-to-action is also presented as a swipe-up link at the bottom of the story, so your customers won’t have to leave the app to browse your website.

Carousel Ads

Instagram carousel ads display a sequence of images or videos that users can swipe through, appearing in both the feed and Instagram Stories. These ads feature a call-to-action button or swipe-up link directing users to your website.

Carousel ads offer versatile opportunities, allowing you to:

  • Highlight a collection of related products
  • Narrate a multi-part story 
  • Share up to 10 images or videos in a single ad.

We find the carousel option to be one of the more effective method of advertising on Instagram, as it allows you to highlight your best sellers or give you an opportunity to showcase an entire story without having to force people to sit and watch a video. 

Collection Ads

Instagram collection ads blend elements of carousel ads and shopping ads, presenting products directly from your catalog.

Ideal for ecommerce brands, collection ads enable seamless purchasing directly from the ad. Clicking on the ad directs users to an Instagram Instant Experience Storefront, where they can explore product details and make purchases with ease.

Explore Ads

Explore ads are featured within the Explore tab, a section of the platform where users discover tailored content and accounts based on their Instagram activity.

Instagram Explore ads do not populate within the Explore grid or topic channels. Instead, they are displayed after users click on a photo or video from Explore. Given the dynamic nature of content in users' Explore tabs, Explore ads enable businesses to align with culturally relevant and trending content.

These ads can take the form of images or videos. At SWIDIA, we find it very effective to repurpose existing Instagram ad assets rather than creating new ones.

Reels Ads

With the successful launch of Reels, Instagram recently announced the ability to advertise within Reels.

Advertisements are displayed between Reels, possessing similar specifications to Stories ads, characterized by full-screen vertical videos, with a maximum duration of 60 seconds. To seamlessly integrate with organic Reels, ads should incorporate sound or music. Moreover, all Instagram Reels ads will feature a Sponsored mark beneath the account name.

Shopping Ads

As 44% of Instagram users engage in weekly shopping on the platform, Instagram has diligently enhanced its ecommerce capabilities over the past 1-2 years.

With the latest Shopping features on Instagram, users can seamlessly browse and buy products without exiting the app, primarily available for businesses with Instagram Checkout enabled.

Instagram Shopping ads efficiently guide users to product description pages within the app, facilitating purchases through your mobile website.

To initiate Shopping ads, it's imperative to establish your Instagram Shopping catalog.

Top tip: Optimize your workflow by leveraging Hootsuite's integration with Shopify, granting convenient access to your catalog directly from your Hootsuite dashboard.

Don't miss out on the opportunity to harness the power of Instagram advertising for your business. Contact SWIDIA if you’re interested in reaching more customers and driving results today. 

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