Instagram Sponsored Ads: The Good And The Bad

With over 75% of Instagram users claiming to have purchased an item from Instagram sponsored ads, they really do seem to be the way forward. However, there are both pros and cons to choosing to use Instagram advertising for your brand.

What Are Instagram Sponsored Ads?

Instagram sponsored ads were specifically designed for brands. So, if you’re in an influencer, be cautious about using Instagram sponsored ads.

Of course, they can be great for influencers wanting to grow their account, too. But you should definitely prioritize organic reach.

For example, using Upleap as an account managing service is a great idea! You’ll be paired with an Instagram account manager who will help you organically grow your account. They’re full of tips and tricks to manage your online social media presence. Click here to start your free trial today.

For brands, Instagram sponsored ads is a great consideration. You will increase your traffic which will ultimately lead to more sales. You’re likely to make back the money you spent on an Instagram ad from all the new customers you’ll attract.

Instagram sponsored ads are simply promotional posts that you pay Instagram to promote for you. When scrolling through Instagram, you will see them as every 3rd or 4th post you come across on your timeline and stories.

Instagram knows what you like to see, so sometimes you might not even notice that they’re an ad, because they look so similar to brands and accounts you already follow.

An Instagram sponsored ad always has a call to action. When you click on it, you’ll either be taken to that Instagram account, their website or their DMs.

If you create a sponsored ad, you get to choose the specific criteria of who sees it include age, location, and their interests. When investing in ads, Instagram sponsored ads seems to be the best way to go for most businesses, especially more niche brands.

One Major Downfall

One thing that most people have noticed with Instagram sponsored ads is this: it does not guarantee increased engagement over time.

Usually, your increased engagement will be born and die with the sponsored ad or ads you purchase. If you’re a brand selling something really amazing, you might make a ton of money on that product, but not many people actually visit your account to follow for more updates.

You’re going to have to put in the hard work to organically grow your account as well as doing an Instagram sponsored ad.

How To Create Instagram Sponsored Ads

If you’d like to create your Instagram sponsored ad through Facebook’s account manager, that’s also a great idea! It’s slightly more complicated but has great benefits. However, this article only covers using the Instagram app to create your ads.

  1. Set up a business account on Instagram. To learn how to do that, click here.
  2. On your profile, click “Promotions” and then click “Create promotion”.
  3. Select the photo you want to promote. Make sure you choose one of your best photo that clearly showcases your brand or product!
  4. Allow access to your Facebook account.
  5. Select where to send people. The options include your profile, website or direct messages.
  6. Select your target audience. You can choose the automatic audience but we recommend creating your own.
  7. If you are creating your own target audience, give the audience a name. Choose a location. A city is a good idea because it’s not too small or big. Choose the target audience’s interests. For example, if you’re selling tableware, choose people with an interest in food and interior decor! Lastly, choose the age and gender. Definitely choose age and gender that corresponds with your existing audience.
  8. Choose your budget and duration. Start small just in case Instagram ads don’t work for you.
  9. Add a payment method and create promotion!

How Much Does It Cost?

Unfortunately, we can’t give you an exact cost for an Instagram sponsored ads. They actually vary according to a lot of different factors including:

  • The age range you choose
  • Your location
  • What you’re advertising
  • What you’re chosen call of action is
  • The time of year
  • Your brand’s relevancy
  • How many followers you already have
  • How many people you want to reach
  • Ad placement: it’s cheaper to advertise on stories over Instagram feed

A huge factor is the time of year. The final quarter of the year tends to be much more expensive than the rest of the year. Of course, this is because of Christmas shopping.

Types Of Ads

We have already discussed one major downfall, but another one is that the aim of Instagram sponsored ads is that they create a seamless user experience. While this is good for your average Instagram user, because their Instagram experience isn’t interrupted, it’s not always great for brands.

Why? Because people aren’t always going to notice you.

It’s not that often that we tend to visit a person’s account, link in bio and all their other posts based on one of their Instagram photos. Therefore, a lot of people might like your sponsored ad but choose to do absolutely nothing about it because they don’t notice the call to action.

You need to make sure the image or images you use for your Instagram sponsored ads are obviously encouraging Instagram users to do something about it. Try using Canva or Over to create an obvious ad with text as well as a great photo!

The different types of ads you can purchase are:

  • Story ads
  • Photo ads
  • Video ads
  • Carousel ads
  • Collection ads

Each one of these has different call to action options.

Story Ads

Story ads include the call to action options: apply now, book now, contact us, call now or download.

Because Stories expire after 24 hours, they’re the ideal format for sharing limited-time offers and promotions.

Of course, you can also include a swipe-up link to encourage engagement. Story ads are great for catching your audience’s attention. With all the stickers and face filters, it’s easy to make your story stand out!

Photo Ads

Photo ads have the call to action options: apply now, shop now, book now, call now, contact us, get directions, learn more, get showtimes, and download.

Using the shop now button is great for new exclusive and exciting items. If you already create great compelling images, this is a great option for you! The brand @parachutehome actually made a 3.7x return on their Instagram sponsored ads.

@parachutehome instagram

The other types of Instagram ads are great options for more niche posts such as films or specific products.

Tips For Instagram Sponsored Ads

Like anything in life, using Instagram sponsored ads takes some trial and error. The first few times you test it out, definitely use a smaller budget to find out what works and what doesn’t work for your brand.

Know Your Audience

Spend a little while getting to know your audience. What age are they, which posts do they respond best to, what are they like? If you don’t know the answer to these questions, it will be difficult to tailor your sponsored ads to reach people like them.

You need to know your audience’s needs and desires before creating an ad. Of course, your ad has to be something so cool that your target audience can’t resist. For example, if you make notebooks, don’t use a sponsored ad for just another notebook. Use it for the coolest notebook ever, or even a really cool notebook deal, like buy 1, get 2 free!

Engage With Your Audience

While your sponsored Instagram ad is gathering up engagement, you also need to be doing your part with your regular Instagram game.

Interact with those new followers. Talk to them through your Instagram stories. Strike up DM conversations with new customers!

Attracting new people is easy. Getting them to stick around is the hard part!

Track Your Results

Spreadsheets will be your new best friend! Of course, you need to track the results of your Instagram sponsored ads to make sure that you are making a good return on it.

You’ll be able to view the performance of your ad through the app, but make sure you log the profits you are making, too.

Checking your Instagram analytics can help you set and achieve goals.

With all this being said, you’ve not got much to lose by testing out a $10 Instagram ad to see how it improves your engagement and sales! Using these tips, test it out today.

By Beth McCallum

I'm Beth, a Scottish writer and bookworm. I'm currently agent hunting for my debut novel while running a candle business from my home. I obsess over dogs, Hamilton, chai lattes and recently, Harry Potter. I know, I'm decades late.

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