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Advertising on Instagram: Everything You Need to Know

By Kristina
04 Sep, 2021
6 min read
Table of Contents

Advertising on yet another social media site? Should you use Instagram ads? Are they worth the investment?

YES - it is definitely worth using Instagram as a marketing tool and adding it to your overall digital marketing strategy.

In this article, we will explain the overall advantages of Instagram advertising and even take a look at some of the downsides to the platform so you can come up with a successful strategy for your business!

Why Instagram?

If you are just starting to build advertising campaigns, you may be wondering why Instagram is such a big deal. Instagram offers a unique advertising experience because of a few key factors.

  • Its popularity. Instagram is a massive platform, with nearly 500 million active daily users. This number is a great reason to at least have a presence on the platform.
  • Visual content. Instagram is based on visuals and, as we know, the internet lives and breathes visuals.
  • Hashtags. Hashtags are now an integral part of Instagram. They are perfect for connecting huge audiences through a shared experience or passion. Sounds like the perfect place to advertise to us!
  • Facebook advertising capabilities. Instagram ads run through the Facebook ads manager platform. It gives you the unique advantage of running your advertising campaigns simultaneously on both platforms.
  • It’s easy to use. Create a business profile on Instagram, and you’re good to go! A business profile is created and maintained just like a regular user profile.

As you can see, you don’t have to look far to find the advantages of Instagram advertising. Find a way to capitalize on and build ad campaigns around these points. This is a platform you probably already know well. Use that to your advantage.

Benefits of Instagram ads

Now that we have talked about why Instagram is a great place for you to advertise, let’s look at the specific benefits your business can find with a successful campaign on the platform. Social media advertising, when done correctly, can build up a business and increase your site traffic and sales.

Here are a few benefits your business could gain with Instagram ads:

1. Increased Brand Awareness

If you’re creating a new business Instagram is a perfect way to reach and engage a vast audience and, in turn, increase your brand recognition.

Running an Instagram ad is a great way to “show your face” and create awareness for your website. You simply add a “call to action” button to your content, such as “shop now”, and add a link associated with your shop or products. This strategy also works for lead-generating campaigns where you want your clients to know more about your services.

Building brand recognition is never a bad idea. Content marketing can take you a long way. Good-quality content can get more effective engagement rates and allow your audience to associate themselves with your brand.

Try not to focus on the number of sales you get at first. Focus on making sure people know who you are and then sales will follow.

PRO TIP: If you’re new to Instagram, concentrate on building your audience by increasing the number of followers first. The more Instagram users engage with your content; the higher the likelihood of turning users into potential customers!

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2. Targeting opportunities

Instagram, with its 1 billion user base, is one of the best social media platforms to reach your target audience. Instagram ads use the same targeting algorithms as Facebook, which are probably the most elaborate targeting tools you can find in marketing today.

How does this work?

Social media tracks and divides each consumer into categories, based on their behaviors, location, and other parameters. When targeting your audience based on consumer types, first you want to choose demographics - their age, gender, or location. Then you can find a list of audiences based on their likes and social media behavior - in other words, interests. Choosing your audience by what matters to them gives you a unique opportunity to “catch” your target audience where they genuinely engage.

Like Facebook, Instagram is a great place to play around with different targeting if you haven’t quite pinpointed who your target audience is. Start slowly and use the data you get from each ad to make the next ad better.

Find your target audience while advertising on Instagram

3. Letting your customers get to know you

Like any social media platform, Instagram is a great place to share your thoughts and ideas with an audience or even begin conversations. You can share anything as long as it is visually appealing. Feel free to share your views and experiences on Instagram - let your audience get to know you.

You can do this by posting photos or videos to your feed or making an Instagram story which will be visible to your audience for 24 hours. A good Instagram story, photo, or video is worth more than a thousand words on Instagram!

Inspire your Instagram audience to connect with your business with good quality content, and if your ideas match with theirs - BAM, you’re in for a long-term engagement!

Instagram app on smartphone

The downside

There are both pros and cons of Instagram. Although there are many benefits of using Instagram for business, you should know all of the facts before jumping into a new venture. Instagram is not a one-way road to success. Even though Instagram can be an excellent way to advertise your business, there are a few bumps you should be aware of.

  • High engagement, low conversion. Business owners tend to lose faith in Instagram as an advertising channel pretty quickly because it does not bring business profit as fast as they’d like. It’s true that Instagram users do not tend to buy through this social media platform, but you have to remember that it is an investment in your brand’s reputation. Instagram ads will help you build a name, and that is no less crucial than selling goods.
  • Competition. As we mentioned before, Instagram is extremely popular, and it comes both as an advantage and disadvantage. With so many users and so much content running daily, you have to find a way to stand out from the crowd.
Learn to stand out on Instagram

Tips for successful ad campaigns

#1 Keep it light and simple

Instagram users come there for entertainment or inspiration, not a lecture. Even if you want to make your content informative, keep it as simple as possible and, most importantly, keep it fun!

Social networks are meant to entertain people, and that’s what companies working with social media marketing should look for. Everything is different here - instead of a long article explaining the features of your product - make a series of Instagram stories and present them yourself!

Communication should be casual, effortless, and relatable. That’s how you find a real connection with your audience on social media.

#2 Synchronize your social media platforms

To save time and effort, we advise you to run your Facebook and Instagram ad campaigns simultaneously. Facebook and Instagram ads work well, but the combination of two makes you really stand out from your competitors.

Running all your social media campaigns together creates an “information bubble” for users, which means more visibility for you. Who doesn’t want that?

To learn more about advertising on Facebook check out this article on The Most Valuable Facebook Ad Tips for Beginners.

#3 Know your audience

Know your audience. Know their interests. It is easy to get lost in the sea of social media users, but you can break through by understanding what matters particularly to YOUR audience.

One way to get some insights is by testing your ads on both Facebook and Instagram. Facebook ads manager has a unique feature that allows you to run several ads at the same time and see which one is performing better.

How does it work?

You upload your ads and Facebook algorithms begin to track the actions of your audience. After some time, Facebook takes statistics from users’ responses to different ads and optimizes them accordingly. Testing your ads is the best way to save money when it comes to advertising and Facebook can do all of the hard work for you!

A final word on Instagram ads

As you can see, Instagram advantages and disadvantages are something that you will have to consciously plan around when creating ad campaigns.

Keep in mind that social media will play a crucial role in any good digital marketing strategy. If you’re a small business owner, it would be a mistake to ignore the potential benefits of Instagram. You don’t need to start by spending thousands. Start slow and use the data you receive from the ads to build bigger and better ads that target the people most likely to buy from you.

Although there are many advantages of using Instagram for marketing, remember not to get too caught up in just one channel. Run tests across multiple platforms, find out what works best for your business. Innovation will always be the key to success.


I'm a content manager at sixads. I'm fiery about marketing, writing and traveling, so you can often find me scribbling away in some unknown corner of the world. If you want to know more ways to increase traffic and attract buyers to your online store get in touch with sixads on one of the channels bellow.