How to Run PPC Campaigns in Instagram
Instagram currently has over 700 million monthly active users. To put the number into perspective, the amount is more than double the monthly active users of Twitter, and three times more than the monthly active users on Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp.
Instagram ads launched in late 2015, the network has been growing steadily since then with 70.7% of US businesses using the network’s advertising capabilities to launch their marketing campaigns:
Instagram now has more than 1 million monthly advertisers and 8 million business profiles, making Instagram ads a viable avenue for businesses looking for customer engagement and business growth through PPC advertising.
Before we dive into the step-by-step process of creating and launching PPC marketing campaigns in Instagram, let’s do a quick recap of why Instagram ads are the right choice for your business.
Why you should invest in Instagram ads?
Listed below are just a few reasons why using Instagram ads for your PPC campaigns is the right choice:
1. Rapid audience growth: As evidenced by the statistics mentioned above, Instagram has one of the fastest growing audiences among social media platforms.
2. User attention: On average users spend 50 minutes a day on Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger. Because users spend a good chunk of time on the network, the chances of them interacting with ads is high.
3. User intent: A study conducted by Instagram concluded that 60% of Instagram users learn about products and services through the network. And, according to 75% of users they take actions including searching, visiting websites, or telling a friend about a brand after seeing an Instagram post.
4. Laser-focused targeting: Instagram uses Facebook’s advertising system to run Instagram ads. Facebook advertising has the most powerful targeting ability – you can target audience based on location, demographics, interests, behavior, and much more.
Now that we’ve covered why you should use Instagram ads, let’s look at the way you can get started by creating and launching your Instagram ad.
Getting started with Instagram ads
There are five different ways to set up and manage Instagram ads:
- In the Instagram app
- In Facebook Ads Manager
- Power Editor
- Facebook’s Marketing API
- Instagram Partners
This guide will only discuss the first two ways of creating and managing Instagram ads in detail, because they are most commonly used by businesses.
The Power Editor is Facebook’s advertising tool designed for larger advertisers who want to create, edit, and publish multiple ads at once. Through Facebook’s Marketing API you can build marketing automation with Facebook’s advertising platform, the app created is a container for any type of Facebook ads functionality.
Similar to the Power Editor, the Marketing API is mostly used by larger advertisers who have the development capabilities to manage multiple ads at once.
Managing ad campaigns with Instagram partners involves using experts who can help you unlock the platform’s potential for your business. Through this method you can find proven experts in everything, ranging from buying ads for Instagram, to sourcing and delivering ad creatives at scale.
The list of Instagram Partners is categorized into specialties including Ad Tech, Community Management, and Creative Platforms. Ad Espresso, Adobe, AdRoll, and Hootsuite are just some of the Instagram Partners available to businesses.
Creating Instagram ads with Facebook Ads Manager
Using Facebook Ads Manager to create Instagram ads allows you run a PPC campaign on Instagram, even without an Instagram account. If you don’t have an Instagram account, you can simply choose a Facebook page to be associated with your ad campaign. This Facebook page then represents your business for Instagram ads.
If you do have an Instagram account, you can connect the account when you are adding the ad itself.
These are the steps you need to follow to create Instagram ads with Facebook’s Ads Manager:
- Choose a marketing objective
- Name your ad campaign
- Define audience, placements, budget, and schedule
- Create the ad
Marketers prefer to create Instagram ads through the Ads Manager rather than within the app itself because they can do much more with the Ads Manager. Creating Instagram ads is very similar to creating Facebook ads.
We discussed the process in detail in chapter 3. Go through the section to get a more in-depth look at every step.
Step 1: Choose a marketing objective
Facebook offers a total of 11 objectives in the Facebook Ads Manager:
However, only 8 are available for Instagram ads:
1. Brand awareness: You can help raise awareness for your brand by reaching audiences more likely to pay attention to your ads.
2. Reach: You can maximize how many users see your Instagram ads and how often they see them through this marketing objective. Contrary to the brand awareness objective, with reach your ads are seen by people who might not be interested in your ads.
3. Traffic: You can send audiences to your website or to the app store. However, it’s ideal to send traffic to a dedicated post-click landing page. We’ll discuss more on this in the coming section of the chapter.
4. Engagement: You can get more people to view and engage with your post. You can choose the type of engagement you prefer, such as page likes, event response, and offer claims etc.
5. App installs: You can send users to the app store where they can download your app.
6. Video views: You can promote a video to your audience.
7. Lead generation: You can collect lead information from your target audience through lead ads. One thing to remember is that lead ads on Facebook and Instagram have a few differences. For example, not all pre-filled form fields are supported on Instagram. Only email, full name, phone number, and gender fields are currently supported by the network. Instagram lead ads require users to click the ad and go to another page to add in their information, while with Facebook lead ads they only need to scroll down and not click. Instagram lead ads also need to fulfill Instagram’s requirement for lead ads, which vary from Facebook’s requirements.
8. Conversions: You can get users to take action on your post-click landing page, such as signing up for a free trial or requesting a product demo. You can also use the Facebook Pixel or app events to track and measure conversions.
Step 2: Define your ad audience
Facebook empowers you with the ability to target a very specific set of people. You can create a precise audience pool by combining factors that make up your target audience:
1. Location: Enter global regions, local areas, countries, postal codes or addresses to include people who make up your target audience and exclude people who don’t.
2. Age: You can select a range of age – the widest set of age range is 13-65+.
3. Gender: Choose to show your ads to every gender, or just men or women depending on the product/service.
4. Languages: This option can be left blank, unless the target audience uses a language that’s not common in the locations you’ve selected.
5. Demographics: You can include or exclude people based on their employment, education, lifestyle, and household.
6. Interests: Target people based on their interests, their Facebook activities, the pages they liked, and interacted with etc.
7. Behaviors: Target people based on their buying intent, device usage, activities etc.
8. Connections: Target users who are connected with your pages or your app.
You can also target people through Custom Audience and Lookalike Audience.
Step 3: Choose ad placements
Facebook by default selects both Facebook and Instagram ad placements. If you only want to run your ads on Instagram you need to select ‘Edit Placements’ and deselect ‘Facebook’ from the placement options:
You can also use the advanced options to pick out the mobile devices and operating systems (iOS or Android) you want the ads to appear for. This is extremely helpful if you’re promoting a mobile app, because if you’re promoting an iOS app, selecting ‘iOS devices only’ can help narrow the audience pool.
Step 4: Set a budget and schedule
Setting a budget determines how much you want to spend on the ad, and how long you want the ads to run:
You can select a lifetime budget or a daily budget. The ad schedule determines if your ads will run continuously until you pause them or the lifetime budget runs out. You can also select a start date and an end date. How much your Instagram ad costs you is determined by you, you have the option to pause the campaign at any time and adjust the budget as you see fit.
Step 5: Create your ad
There are 6 ad formats you can choose from for your Instagram ads:
If you’re looking to create Instagram feed ads you can use the following formats:
1. Carousel: the ad has two or more scrollable images or videos.
2. Single image: you can create up to 6 ads with one image without any extra cost.
3. Single video: the ad has one video.
4. Slideshow: the ad has a looping video with up to 10 images.
You can also launch Instagram Stories ads, here are the two available formats:
After you’ve selected an ad format, you need to add a ‘Destination’, this is the page you want the visitor to be taken to after the ad click. You should always connect your Instagram ads with relevant post-click landing pages instead of a busy homepage or a cluttered product page, because post-click landing pages increase the probability of conversions.
We’ll discuss the importance of connecting your Instagram ads with post-click landing pages at the end of the chapter.
After the ‘Destination’ you should add a headline, ad text and a call to action button. The characters available for your headline and ad text vary depending on the ad format you’ve chosen.
Creating Instagram ads within the Instagram app
If you prefer not to use the Facebook Ads Manager, you can also create and manage your Instagram ad campaign from inside the social network’s app.
Before you can create ads, you need to do the following:
- Convert to a business profile on Instagram.
- Be an admin of the Facebook page connected to the Instagram account.
- Follow Facebook’s advertising policies.
After you’ve completed the pre-requisites, these are steps you need to follow:
Step 1: Select the Instagram post you want to promote
Select the post you want to promote and then proceed to click on the blue ‘Promote’ button.
Step 2: Choose an objective
You only get to select from two objectives, instead of eight in the Facebook Ads Manager:
- Visit your website
- Call or visit your business
Step 3: Set your action button, audience, budget, and duration
Depending on the objective you’ve selected, you have different call to action buttons to choose from, such as Get Directions, Learn More, and Call Now. You can now select your audience i.e. who you want to target, your ad budget and duration.
You can target audience based on location, interests, age, and gender. You can allocate a total budget for your ad, and choose the number of days you want to run the ad:
Once you’re done with your selection, you can go ahead and promote your ad.
Now that we know how to create an Instagram ad, let’s look at the process of optimizing your Instagram ads to guarantee conversions.
How to optimize Instagram ads
Instagram users are increasing rapidly, which is good news for your business because this means more and more people from your target audience will get to see your ads. Sadly, not all ads can prompt a user to take action, this is why you don’t need to just create ads, but optimize them for the target audience.
Here’s what a typical Instagram ad looks like:
Instagram ads usually have three components – copy, image or video depending on the ad format and a call to action. Instagram is primarily an image centric platform – the main purpose of Instagram was for people to share their images, this is why it’s critical you choose the right visual assets for your ad.
Let’s have a breakdown of the optimized elements of an Instagram ad.
A visually appealing, relevant visual
Your Instagram visual shouldn’t only be able to grab visitors’ attention, but it needs to be relevant to the product/service you’re promoting. As the image makes up most of the ad, it needs to be able to tell a story itself, so you don’t have to use a lot of copy to explain what you can do for visitors.
Lushorganix’s Instagram ad’s image is a perfect example of a visually appealing image that’s relevant to the product and tells a story:
Just by looking at the image the visitor understands the product has to do with shiny, healthy hair.
Copy that piques user interest
Ad copy that piques visitor interest is what gets you the click. Your Instagram ad copy needs to explain clearly and succinctly what your service does.
Tawkify’s copy, that also serves as a headline explains what the service is about:
A call to action that is relevant and click-worthy
The call to action button of your Instagram ad needs to be relevant to the offer being promoted, so users know exactly what action they’ll be performing next – immediately making it click-worthy.
Yelp’s CTA button ‘download’ is relevant to the offer, the ad description talks about downloading the app for free, which corresponds with the button copy:
After you’ve optimized Instagram ads with the right components, the next step is to connect your ads with dedicated, relevant post-click landing pages.
In contrast to homepages and product pages, which highlight and promote multiple products/offers at once, post-click landing pages have only have to promote one offer – making it the center of attention, helping you achieve your conversion goal.
When a user clicks through your ad, they’ll have certain expectations for the post-click landing page. It’s your job to meet those expectations with something called message match.
When users land on a post-click landing page that has message match, they are more likely to convert because their expectations are met which increases credibility for your product or offer.
Your Instagram ad is promoting a specific offer, connecting it to a dedicated page that also promotes that offer makes perfect optimization sense.
Don’t make visitors go on a finding spree by sending them to a homepage or product page after they’ve clicked the ad, because chances are they won’t do the work to find what they were looking for after bypassing pesky navigation links.
Instead, make converting for the offer the easiest thing for them to do by diverting them to a post-click landing page where all the elements are created to promote a single offer.
Instagram is rapidly becoming one of the most popular avenues to run PPC campaigns, owing to its expanding user base and ample targeting options. Start creating optimized Instagram ads today to take advantage of the platform’s flourishing user base.