How to Advertise on Instagram In 6 Simple Steps

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Alexz Miller

Last Updated: May 19, 2021

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Your Instagram truly is your brand’s virtual storefront, but getting the right traffic to your page isn’t always easy. You need to know exactly how to advertise on Instagram to attract potential real Instagram followers to your profile, create a chance for you to showcase your brand identity, and entice new customers to join your community.

Instagram advertisements are on the rise, and for the sake of your brand, you need to know the ins and outs of how to successfully advertise on Instagram.

Instagram users are an extremely engaged audience that your brand should already be tapping into. Thankfully, due to the extremely advanced targeting features on Instagram, you have the ability to reach hyper-targeted users who would not have stumbled upon your page otherwise – dramatically increasing your reach.

The truth is, your competitors are advertising here, your friends are tapping on ads, and your mother-in-law has already bought two shirts from an Instagram ad link. So, let’s get started with a step-by-step guide on how to advertise on Instagram.

Step 1: How to Advertise on Instagram – Instagram Advertisement Page Setup

You’ll want to start by making sure you have a Business Page on Facebook, which allows you to run ads on Instagram.

Then, you’ll need to make sure your Instagram is a Business Profile.

how to set up a business profile on Instagram

Step 2: How to Advertise on Instagram – Research Examples in Your Industry

Now, time for some research and creativity. To make sure your brand is putting out top-notch content, you’ll want to take a look at how your direct competitors and leaders in your industry are utilizing Instagram advertisements.

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Let’s say you are a trendy makeup brand for on-the-go girls. Then, your industry leader and main competition might be Glossier. So, let’s look at how they run their Instagram ads.

glossier instagram ads

Start by clicking on the link in their bio, which will direct you to their homepage. We tapped on a few of their products to trigger an advertisement.

examples of different Instagram ads by glossier

Interestingly enough, Glossier is a brand that makes use of Facebook pixel— essentially, they are able to track users who tap on the link in their bio and which specific products they check out.

The Facebook Pixel allows them to measure the results of their ads, build their advertising audience, and drive more targeted sales, giving you a great idea of how to advertise on Instagram and how much.

Then, they can follow-up with an ad on that user’s feed almost immediately after, like the ad we received below:

example of glossier video advertisement

Let’s take a closer look at Glossier’s ad.

They chose to use a video advertisement because it allowed them up to 60 seconds not only to showcase the different colors that they offer but also how to use their product– making the ad more interactive than a still photo of the finished look.

Step 3: Choose Your Type of Instagram Advertisement

The type of Instagram advertisement you choose will depend greatly on what your goals are with your campaign and how your followers most commonly interact with your page.

“Sponsored Ads have helped me a lot to get my name out there so people who maybe before would of never found my page.” -Brooke Boyce , @brookes_wedding_planning

It’s important to keep in mind that your ad should always be native to the platform you are promoting on, meaning you should adapt your media to match the type of videos and images that are already being shared on Instagram. That way, when someone comes across your ad it should feel like a natural post to stumble upon.

Take the images below for example. Rather than just posting a product shot with a boring white background, showcase your product in action! This model shot with a lively background is much more comparable to the types of images being shared on users’ Instagram feeds and will make your ad feel less abrasive when it shows up unexpectedly.

advertising your product in action

Here are the 3 main forms of Instagram advertisements:

example of a photo ad on Instagram

1. Photo Ads: A clean, simple look in either square or landscape.

2. Carousel Ads: Take it up a notch. Carousels allow you to present multiple photos, with the flexibility to put even more of your best work on display. Include clickable links with captions like “Shop Now” and “Learn More” to entice users to visit your site.

example of a carousel ad on Instagram

3. Stories Ads: Instagram stories are an increasingly popular feature on Instagram and the perfect place to showcase video ads. As Instagram rolls out more customization for Instagram stories, such as the question sticker and shoppable tags, the popularity of Instagram stories is projected to continue rising.

example of a story ad on Instagram

There are so many ways to display your ads, but believe it or not, we’ve only just begun the ad process.

Step 4: Customize Your Instagram Advertisement

Let’s talk about the next steps you need to take in customizing your advertisements to ensure their efficiency and to get the most bang for your buck.

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Start by visiting the Ad Manager on Facebook. Here you will be able to select your marketing objective from their easy-to-use-interface. The selection process includes objectives in terms of awareness, consideration, and conversion.

Here you will want to consider the overall goal for your campaign and select the most appropriate category.

example of managing your ads on Facebook Ads Manager

The system will have you create your Ad Account, and then customize your Ad Set.

Here are some of the key features you will find in the Ad Set section:

  • Conversion: Choose where you want to drive traffic, then select a pixel or event to track conversions. If you don’t have a pixel or event, you’ll see instructions for creating one.
  • Offer: Drive more conversions by creating an offer people can save and get reminders about.
  • Audience: Define who you want to see your ads.
  • Placements: Show your ads to the right people in the right places.
  • Budget & Schedule: Define how much you’d like to spend, and when you’d like your ads to appear.

Let’s try an example:

Say you want to expand your brand’s reach to young adult women in Canada, and drive their traffic to your website with a budget of $400.

In this case, you would choose “Conversions” as your conversion, so you can see just how many taps your advertisement link got (a.k.a. how many visits your website got).

For your “Audience,” you would set the location to Canada, with an age range of 18-35, and women as the gender. You might also add a few additional interests and behaviors to further define your niche.

To specifically advertise on Instagram only, you’ll want to change your “Placements” settings from “Automatic Placements” to “Edit Placements.” From there, you can deselect other platform options on Facebook and only select Instagram. You can even take it a step further by selecting either feed, stories, or both. Keep in mind the format of your ad is directly the type of placement you’ll want to select.

For this example, let’s imagine we created a carousel ad to feature our new products. In this case, we would want to select Instagram “Feed” only.  

how to place your ads on your feed

Finally, you will select to run your ad for twenty days, costing you around $20 per day.

Step 5: Design Your Instagram Ad

Now we’re getting into the good stuff: Creating the visuals for your Instagram ad.

On the “Ad” Page, you will select your Ad’s Identity, which will be your Facebook business page.

Next, you’ll want to select the design style you selected in step 3 and add your media.

how to design your Instagram ad

Ok, we’ve pretty much covered all the basics… you have your post all ready to go– not so fast!

What we might consider the most important part of the Instagram advertisement is that you create an extremely enticing call to action. This is the final push in getting you the click-through traffic you’ve been on the hunt for.

Ask yourself exactly what action you want your customers to take and what will entice them to take that action.

Some options might include a first peek at a new product line, a fun coupon code, a limited time discount, or any reason for your ad to become the user’s favorite new rude interruption.

Finally, keep in mind that your advertisements can be liked, commented on, and shared, so the more engaging you make it the better.

Step 6: Publish & Track Results

Posting your Instagram advertisement is only half the battle on how to advertise on Instagram. Now you’ll need to track the progress of your campaign to get a clear depiction of your RIO and make adjustments on future campaigns.

You can track your results directly in your Facebook Ads Manager. Remember to look at the results that directly relate to the objective you picked for your ad.

For example, if you selected “engagement” as your example, you wouldn’t expect to see a high increase in sales. Instead, you would measure success by analyzing the increase in likes and comments on your post.

Setting a clear objective is key to creating a successful Instagram campaign.

Then, rinse and repeat this process for your next campaign, while making adjustments based on your previous results and you’ll become an Instagram advertisement guru in no time!

Stay tuned for more tips and tricks from Kicksta, so you know just how much to advertise on Instagram, and the best ways to do so!

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