Updated on September 12, 2022
Many people think about the likes of Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter and also Instagram as the world’s leading social media platforms. They help people connect and interact with one another. That is of course, true, but people often overlook the fact that these are multi-billion dollar corporations that employ thousands of people and have a massive impact on our lives. Facebook is considered, by some to be the world’s largest Ad board, and Facebook ads are considered to be arguably the most powerful tool in the world of advertising. The same applies to IG ads which are dependant on Facebook (since Facebook owns Instagram) and they have proven to be amongst the most efficient ways to advertise your business and content. If you’re looking to sell more products and increase brand awareness – you need Instagram ads. To help you make the most of each and every cent you spend, we’ve prepared an in-depth guide on setting up the absolute best Instagram ads!
Overview & Must-know facts
What are Instagram ads?
In the shortest and most accurate way possible, we can describe it – Instagram ads are an Instagram advertising tool which can help a particular post be seen by your target audience of Instagram users. It’s also heavily customisable. So, with enough market research and knowledge, you can narrow down audiences to less than 100 people in a particular French village or target millions of users in the entire Northern Hemisphere.
The primary goals for nearly all Instagram ad campaigns are:
Increase sales & drive more website traffic
Increase brand awareness (popularity and engagement)
Should you get into Instagram advertising?
The consensus decision about Instagram advertising is that it’s incredibly efficient if you do it right. A lot more people praise IG ads rather than criticise them. Of course, as always – the effectiveness depends on a lot of additional factors. Those include your ad campaign goals, target audience selection, creative success, your market niche, budget and extra work that you put in to make your ads and content more appealing.
All in all, we can confidently say that if you handle the creative end properly, manage to accurately research your target audience and their behaviour as well as have a large enough budget to experiment a little, you should succeed 99% of the time.
With that being said, do not forget that Instagram ads aren’t the only viable advertising medium. You can explore influencer marketing, paid promotions, as well as advertising on other platforms, maybe that can work wonders for you!
Instagram business model
Knowing Instagram’s business model can also help you understand why Instagram ads are so effective. As of now, Instagram ads are the primary source of revenue for the company which runs the social network. In 2018, the company raked in close to 7 billion USD of revenue from advertisements. For 2019, ad revenue was projected to double and skyrocket to reach 14 billion USD. Future projections displayed a substantial upgrade, estimating a further, nearly 80% increase for the year 2020.
Due to the Coronavirus, it’s likely that that colossal growth is hindered, but not by too much. To sum up, Instagram barely has any other sources of income. It desperately relies on advertisements and their effectiveness to be even more profitable. This is why they invest enormous amounts to make ads as efficient as possible. So far, the business model has shown very positive results for both the advertisers and the company itself. Let’s hope this trend can continue well into the future, and you can get benefits from advertising on Instagram.
In this guide
To begin with, everyone has a different strategy for creating Instagram ads and targeting audiences. It is all directly dependant on the goals, which the advertiser(s) have set out. Different goals require different approaches. We can’t immediately say that something will work well for you, and also claim that something won’t, right out of the bat. Instead, in this guide, we’re going to overlook the ideas of what in general, makes Instagram ads effective and how you can tailor your creations and work to get the most benefit.
Our goals for this guide are:
- To help you understand your audience on Instagram
- To help you comprehend the process of ad creation on Instagram and the tools for it
- To help you create visually captivating ads and ads that convert
- Provide answers to FAQ about Instagram ads
- Give you examples of Instagram ads that work and help you begin your journey into advertising on this social media
In short, we’ll try to cover everything from the creative, all the way to legal and technical aspects. Let’s begin!
We’ve decided to start with the creative aspect of ads because everything starts with an idea. After an idea is born, only then the knowledge of technical elements can be tailored to make the ads work. Great creative and good Instagram ads aren’t easily found. In fact, there are a lot more mediocre ads and low-quality out there, than those which actually work. Let’s see how you can take your talents and mould them to make the best advertisements!
Necessary skills for creating ads
Instagram is all about visual appeal. If you post something that looks nice – you’re likely to be more popular. Hence, if you can create an ad that is eye-catching as well as intriguing – you can tremendously boost your popularity and/or business. However, if you do not have any experience with editing photos and videos, illustrating, creating visual effects – etc., it might be much simpler to go on Fiverr and hire someone who does. Alternatively, you can use something like Adobe Spark, Vimeo video editor, Canva, and similar apps to make advertisements for Instagram. Still, your creative capabilities will be limited, when compared to professional desktop or mobile software, yet not decapitated entirely, so to speak.
If, however, you are familiar with Adobe software like Photoshop & Illustrator (for photo and illustration editing), Premiere Pro & After Effects (for video editing), Audacity (for audio editing) or alternative competing software, like Final Cut Pro, Sony Vegas, and others, use your skills to design and custom-build the advertisements. Personalising and making original content is the essential-most ingredient in the whole recipe.
There are also cheap and affordable online courses that teach you all those aforementioned skills. Still, it does take time, and if you’re into dropshipping or something related to trends, it might take too long to learn and your ‘train could pass’ in the time it takes to learn a new skill. So, once again, don’t be afraid to hire a freelancer as he or she will do things quicker, thus saving you time and maybe even providing a new set of ideas in the process.
All in all, you need to be an experienced photo and video editor or find someone who is to make Instagram ads which convert.
Continuity in visuals
Instagram ads aren’t to be made with low effort input unless you are OK with losing money and not gaining any benefit. Instagram Ads are marketing tools which means that you have to have a branding and marketing strategy for them to work. Following a plan and embracing continuity and synergy between your posts is critical. Don’t forget that you can promote one of your posts. So, as your advertisements could very well be displayed in your feed, it means that they have to look like one of your posts. They shouldn’t stand out like ads. Please, let us elaborate.
How the ads should look
A piece on Warc.com, posted by Faris Yakob highlights that the most effective ads all over the world don’t look like ads at all. If you remember Coca-Cola’s – “I’d like to buy the world a Coke”, Nike’s – “Take it to the next level” and the VW Golf’s ad “The Man” – each one of these examples can undoubtedly be labelled as some of the best, landmark ideas in the world of advertising. And the best thing is that they all have the same thing in common. None of these is pushy and aggressive in shoving and aggressively promoting a product/service. All of them are keen to give viewers and potential consumers strong emotions. It’s more of a message rather than an ad, really.
The best ads are ones that don’t look like ads– every marketing specialist ever
You should strive for the same exact effect with your creation. Take an idea which can make the viewer remember your product and/or service. For example, let’s say you’re selling custom-made shirts. You know that people buy clothes because they like the way they look and because they want to stand out. Obviously, the latter part is easier to appeal to through an advertisement.
Then, brainstorm the possibilities of how you can present your product in a picture or video which can also plant the idea in the customer’s mind that this product is going to help them stand out.
Look at what we came up within three minutes of time and a stock photo.
This would be a light-hearted approach for advertising a product. Of course, it needs more work as the text could be more visible, but this is just a rough mock-up and idea of what could work for you. If your brand can put a smile on people’s faces – it’s easier to earn their trust. If you don’t believe that humour and ads go together, maybe Point Park University can convince you otherwise.
Do not forget that there could be an artistic approach, a shocking approach, etc. Frankly, however, humour is probably the easiest to do.
This would work best on the Instagram feed. When it comes to Instagram stories, make sure you always create videos as photos are much less efficient there. You can read Hootsuite’s blog post to find out more about technical know-how on Instagram story ads.
Text in pictures
Keep the images you use for advertisements clean. Some people are familiar with the recommended text-image ratio of 20%. This means that text in the image shouldn’t, in any circumstances take up more than one-fifth of the entire picture. If you can say a thing in three sentences, try to shorten it into one. If there are ten words, try to make it seven, etc.
Instagram ads are relentlessly notorious for being skipped due to having lots of text. If Facebook users are more forgiving when it comes to much text, on Instagram, people waste no time at all with posts that contain loads of text, it seems like.
If you have more text – your reach goes down, and Facebook, as well as Instagram, could do as much as reject your ad altogether. Try to make use of the caption to encourage people taking action instead of plopping a massive piece of font on the pic itself.
‘SALE’, ‘%’, ‘LIMITED-TIME’, ‘DISCOUNT’, ‘YOU’ – these are examples of words and text which has a strong effect on audiences. If they are at least a tad bit interested in your ad, and click ‘Show more’ to see the entire caption, your job is to lure them in using engaging copy.
You needn’t be Don Draper, Michael Ginsberg or anyone from Mad Men to create engaging copy. What you need to do is incorporate keywords and attractive terms into what you write.
What to say and what not to say in the captions
Once again, we don’t have the recipe for a perfect ad. We’re just giving you tips and guidelines on the creative aspect of the Instagram ads from a general standpoint. This time – we focus on captions and text.
Here are examples of some sponsored posts, let’s analyse them:
Ad Caption Example No. 1
This isn’t necessarily bad copy, but it isn’t very much engaging. The only way we see it working is if the target audience is selected right and if they feel the strong yearn for buying silk pillowcases.
Ad Caption Example No. 2
This is much better, and could definitely be improved, but it’s an excellent starting point. Even though it lists a few keywords, the author of this copy must be confident that he or she targets the right audience because, for an undecided buyer, this wouldn’t likely be persuasive. It has a humorous angle and lists the product benefits, which is great to do when you’re selling!
The best example should include more keywords we mentioned earlier. Try to curb your creativity in a way which could catch the eye of the buyer. Otherwise – don’t be afraid to copy and rewrite originally. Or hire a freelancer to write a few descriptions for you, if you don’t feel confident.
Good creative is always worth the extra penny
We often mention freelancers and encourage the use of their services. This is always a good idea because both new and seasoned freelancers are still more experienced professionals in a particular field than you likely are. It’s best to do things once and do them right, rather than repeating and reworking the same idea for 100 thousand times until you get it just so.
Even though experience and learning from your mistakes are key, minimising costs and eliminating mistakes, errors, bugs are the main goals for every business. But let’s not focus on money just yet (there’ll be plenty of time for that), and let us explain why it’s always worth spending on good creative.
It is easier to adjust the preferences and parameters of advertisement placement and the technical aspect of things. It is much more difficult, however, to be genuinely creative and present your ideas in such a way that people would feel the urge to interact with them. This is why it’s recommended to let an artistic or extravagant professional take over, even if it costs a lot because ideas are a lot more valuable than technical work. Believe us. We aren’t trying to put down anyone who isn’t creative, we just want to make it clear that you cannot grow a successful project without creativity and some out-of-the-box thinking. This is why you should value and not regret spending on good creative.
Examples of good creative in Instagram ads
With what we’ve already established, it is only natural to discuss some examples of Instagram ads. Let’s see some well-done ads, and for the sakes of contrast – some that are not as good. We’ll talk about their creative aspects and delivery as well.
Tommy Hilfiger – large business, vast resources. However, the blog author and the owner of this Instagram feed has absolutely 0 interest in men’s footwear and men’s apparel on Instagram. So, either this is a cross-target ad that targets people who have interacted with Hilfiger on other social media or it’s a complete mess-up of audience targeting. If you want shoes, you probably will scroll through the carousel, but the ad delivery could be improved nonetheless. The ad itself is bland and just a picture of trainers which is maybe representative of Tommy Hilfiger’s brand language, but it definitely won’t work for 99% of other brands.
Clean, simple, noticeable. This is an excellent example of ‘If it ain’t broke – don’t fix it’. Simple advertising, the text in the picture captivates your attention, and the campaign itself seems like it is going to interest everyone interested in sports or The Athletic.
Of course, who doesn’t know Netflix? But this ad is horrendous. Even if you know all about the shows and movies on this streaming platform, you couldn’t name one positive thing about this ad. Images change way too quickly, and the entire visual composition is just chaotic. Besides, Netflix has a great ad scheme on YouTube, where they show their intro and a short trailer for a particular show. Why not do the same here?
Wix is an innovative company, which relies on the success of the creativity of its customers, but this Instagram ad is too very creative. This one tells a lot visually. The twisting line indicates a connection between the most diverse sets of people. At the same time, the various illustrated items try to embrace the creativity of the person who’s watching. It’s sort of subliminal, but not too much which makes the ad appealing.
If you decide to do a video, Happy Socks shows you exactly how to captivate the attention of the viewer immediately. Bright colours, a recognisable character and a little bit of mystery to find out what’s inside!
This is a strange example because there is quite a lot of text. Besides, you could argue that the meaning of these words isn’t the clearest. This could lead you to believe that this ad encourages something like bionics or X-Men like, while in truth it is actually a lab test which you can use to find out more about yourself and your health.
One more example that could be considerably improved. If you don’t know anything about Minglemoose, you wouldn’t actually understand why should you get their product which seems to be a water bottle. However, the product is actually unique and exciting. Still, you’d have to visit their site and look at the descriptions to find out how. The ad doesn’t transpire the actual value and uniqueness of the product.
And to wrap things up – Ecwid gives you another good-looking and well-designed ad. It doesn’t say much but beneath the words ‘Start selling online for free’ hides so much opportunity and intrigue that you can make a case that everyone interested in dropshipping or retail as well as wholesale online could jump right onto the offer.
Common mistakes in creative
In the end, we would also like to cover common mistakes in the creative process. Some of which we’ll repeat (since they were already mentioned in this article) for learning sakes, but most of them will and should be at least somewhat new to you.
- Too much text – remember that text should never cover more than 1/5th or 20% of the entire image.
- Too many colours – when in doubt, just go with two or three-colour designs. Minimalism and clean looks are a thing now – go for that instead of using all sorts of tones and colours.
- Off-centred and poor object placement – make sure that everything is as level or as curved, as it should be. Distances from sides, top and bottom – all should be equal. Rely on smart guides and gridlines on Adobe apps to help you out.
- Showing too much – try to figure out of leaving a small mystery, some hidden meaning that you can show your audience instead of leaving all of your cards face up
- Poor selection of fonts – make sure they’re readable and fit in with the entire image.
Instagram Ad types: Feed Posts vs Stories
Before we talk about the juicy technical aspects of Instagram ads, you should definitely be aware that you can advertise in three different areas: Instagram’s main feed, the explore feed and in the story section. Besides the previous niches, there is also IGTV. The latter, however, isn’t optimised for ads per se, as you can create a video which contains sponsored content or product promotions. The feed/explore, and story ads are used much more frequently and thus will likely be the primary method of your choice.
In general, story and feed ads are relatively equal. Still, it seems like, in terms of non-retail related ads, Instagram stories have the upper edge. Agorapulse found out that when you run the same ad with the same exact audience for the same period on an equal budget:
- Instagram stories had a smaller cost per unique click (CPuC) of 0.29 USD compared to 0.53 USD CPuC for Instagram feed ads.
- Instagram stories ads had a higher reach (connecting with 26.7 thousand people) than Instagram feed ad (18 thousand).
- Instagram stories resulted in 23% higher conversion rates that Instagram Feed ads.
This example of Agorapulse does prove that in their particular niche, Instagram feed isn’t as effective as Instagram stories. However, feed ads were shown to have a higher CPM (cost per thousand impressions) which means that they are more expensive to do. This can be because at the time of this experiment – Instagram stories were kind of new. The actual cost numbers vary and aren’t public. However, people who spend a lot on IG marketing still say that advertising on stories cost less than putting up promotions in the feed.
However, even if you’re leaning towards advertising on stories to begin with, test out IG feed & explore ads as well. Maybe they’ll work better for you!
The best dimensions for Instagram Ad pictures and videos
Depending on your ad placement, there really are only two canvas and templates in terms of dimensions:
- Instagram feed images and videos selected as ads should be 1080×1080 px
- You could also do 1200×628 as it’s smaller and more compact, but as more and more people have larger screens on their phones, 1080×1080 seems like the more versatile choice
- Instagram story images and videos should be 1080×1920 px
Whether you select to post a picture or video is also essential and should be taken into account, depending on your goals.
Everything depends on what you’re trying to achieve and what you’re trying to showcase. Short videos seem like the best silver-lining, that perfect option which combines the best of both worlds, but really, a good short video can be the most time-consuming and expensive form of advertisement to make. An image is easy to tailor because you or the designer can create multiple variations of a particular photo or illustration and test it out. A long video is complicated to make.
So, pumping out different 1 minute-long videos is really expensive and if it doesn’t work out (we knock on wood hoping it does), it’d hurt a lot more financially than going wrong with images. This is why you need a lot of creative and marketing firepower to devise a video which converts. On the other hand, taking a nice picture or doing 2D minimalistic illustrating is a much safer route to take. Don’ believe us? Let’s compare a mockup pic from Saint Amsterdam with a video from Mouscase.
This looks clean and nice, Tumblr people will definitely consider buying. You needed a mockup of an iPhone (available online). And then, using Photoshop, plop up your design on top of them. Don’t forget to your logo at the bottom. This takes 30 minutes, tops (if you have the files ready).
Now this example from Mouscase is really impressive. You have everything that are ingredients of a prime time TV commercial. A cool guitar soundtrack, sound effects, professional camera shots with slow-mo effects, professional video effects, closeup shots, a fast step-by-step montage that requires like 12 different shots, professional voiceover, 3D renders of the product, top-notch animations of those same renders, lots of creative shots, social engagement from other people which meant organising events, persuasive copy and to top it all off – a helicopter and an aerial shot at the end. This isn’t the job for one person, this also isn’t something you can do in 30 minutes. From blank, all the way to releasing the video, it would likely take around a month to put everything together. And that is a low estimate.
Whereas the price of buying design services for a pic like Saint Amsterdam’s could be 15-20 USD from someone on Fiverr or UpWork, putting a team together to make a video like the Mouscase would likely cost around five digits. Both ads but transpire very different messages. One is aimed at creativity and trends while the other aims to plan the idea that by buying, you will be getting the absolute most best-est, super, turbo phone case. A revolution so-to-speak.
Both ads should work well, nonetheless.
There are two different format options you can select for Instagram feed ads. This is applicable to feed ads only, as IG stories are a unique format on their own. Each one of them has its pros and cons that you can tailor to gain advantage and interest the person who might be scrolling-by.
- Single image – this would be a standalone pic or video that appears as a Sponsored post
- A carousel of pictures – this is sort of the ‘Slideshow’ of Instagram feeds. You can add up to 10 unique cards to create unique and very wholesome ads for your product and/or page. The videos shouldn’t be shorter than 3 secs and longer than 60 secs.
Of course, don’t forget that you can use Boomerang’s and GIF’s as well.
Here are examples of single image ads and a carousel ad:
Targeting the right audience
In the world of social media marketing, audience research and audience targeting are probably the most important technical skills. If you can take advantage of local, global or social norms, tendencies, trends and rules, you can make the absolutely worst ads do really well.
At the same time, you can be selling a remote controller for gaming that is very good, but by targeting grandmas and people who have gardening as their main hobby – deal with disappointing sales figures.
Advertisement placement, whether it be Instagram or anywhere else, is as important as the creative part of the ad. One does not work without the other, and if you both poor creative and poor audience targeting – you won’t sell or get engagement. This is why it’s crucial to understand both. But theory aside, let’s talk about how you can find the right audience.
How to know your current audience
If you already have a page and an audience that’s at least moderately engaged you can go to your account and find out insights about your audience. To find you follow these steps:
1. Navigate to settings
2. Click Insights
3. Press Audience
Memorize, screenshot or write down these criteria about your followers:
If you don’t have an Instagram business page yet – look at your potential competitors and try to see who their followers are and what ad strategies do they use. This is also a must-do even if you have insights from your page.
Now, equipped with your knowledge – tailor your ads to attract more people that are similar to your current audience or make content which allows you to slightly transition to attracting an audience you prefer to build around. Let’s give an example of how to target the right audience.
Let’s try with an example – a new fashion magazine
Step 1: Targeting the right location
Let’s say you are trying to promote a new magazine, published online in English, for apparel style and fashion trends. Here are your best primary target audiences:
- Affluent, majority-English speaking countries (USA, the UK, Canada, Australia, Ireland and New Zealand)
- Age – probably between 16 and 50.
- Gender – females are more or less the more obvious choice
After we put in these criteria, the Facebook Business tool shows us our audience definition. Our example sees that we have around 100 million people that might and could be interested in your magazine. Facebook Business Manager (it’s the primary tool for creating Instagram ads, even though you can use the Instagram app as well, it is not as popular as the former) allows you to play around, so you can mess about to find a good starting point.
You could also select this approach:
- Location – major fashion hubs (London, Paris, Milan)
- Age – 16 – 40
- Gender: Female-only
This is a much smaller, but definitely more focused audience that is more likely to convert. However, we can narrow it down even more.
If you were to focus on the countries, you’d get a potential reach of 100 million people. This is too broad for most businesses, but considering a product (the magazine) that can interest anyone in your preferred age group, it’s not bad at all. With that being said, let’s stick with the smaller audience for now, as we don’t have a billion-dollar advertising budget to attack so many feeds at once.
Step 2: Selecting the right interests
Every woman in Milan, Paris and London isn’t interested in fashion, however strange this might seem. Only a certain percentage of them are. How much? Well, let’s find out.
After we plop in that we want to target women who are interested in magazines and fashion, it turns out that close approx. 85-90% of women in fashion capitals of Europe between the ages of 16 and 40 have an interest in fashion, style, shopping, street fashion and magazines, which is great marketing knowledge for the future.
There is also a tool that helps you exclude certain people. Just for this article, let’s say that you don’t want any of your competitor’s – Vogue fans. You can add ‘Vogue (magazine)’ to the list of people with matching interests you wish to exclude. This nearly halved your audience. We’re left with 3 million fashion crazed women we can target!
Step 3: Detailed targeting
You can also use Facebook Business’ (which is also home for IG marketing) tool for expanding detailed targeting. Artificial intelligence and clever algorithms will try to expand your audience by showing it to people who it thinks might convert into views and/or sales.
And voila! You’re actually done picking an audience for this particular project. Now it’s time to put your own market research skills to the test. Make sure you are thorough with your analysis. If you don’t know the particular traits of your potential audience, you can use Google Trends.
Just enter your main keyword, and look at the locations of where people are most interested in it, find out related searches (queries) and the overall trends of any particular market.
Best time to run Instagram ads
You could run your Instagram ads during the day and pause them during the night, or you can also optimise the schedule to make the most out of your budget. However, if you have your audience selected right, there’s really no need for that.
Of course, don’t think that you can just post and forget about it. Advertising exclusive Valentine’s day deals in mid-May is not a good look.
If you do want to avoid silly scheduling issues, look at the picture below as it will help you set that up.
Scroll to the Budget & schedule tab of your Facebook Business Manager ad creation page
Step 1: Select Lifetime budget as only this allows us to run ads on a schedule
Step 2: Select ‘Run ads on a schedule.’
Step 3: In the newly prompted window, click on the tiles to select hour intervals during which your ads could be shown.
It’s also useful to track your audience’s activity by day and by the hour. Remember how, in the previous paragraph, we explained to you the simple way of figuring out your audience? This is precisely the same. Navigate to the same spot and look at the time intervals during which they’re the most active.
Utilise this knowledge to select the best times.
How to get the best engagement and reaction rates?
If you’re keen on boosting your engagement (likes, views, comments, shares, etc.) rates, you should first read our blog post about ‘How to Boost Your Engagement Rate on Instagram’. This is a 2020 article, so the info is still fresh and will likely remain so, for the time being.
After reading, come back and utilise your knowledge to refine your content and craft an ad strategy. Your ads must always serve a purpose, and this is why every ad should have a goal. Whether you want to make 30 sales, get 200 likes or attract 100 visitors to your website, make a realistic goal for every ad. To give an example:
- Getting 10 thousand conversions (sales) from 20 USD budget – very unrealistic
- Getting 20 conversions for 80 USD – very realistic
Good engagement is the premier factor which indicates whether an ad is effective or not. So, if you were to follow all of our creative guidelines and tips, we laid out in the earlier part of this article, you will definitely have a high chance of getting good engagement. Furthermore, and finally, you can rely on Instagram meta itself to be more visible to the public. You can buy Instagram likes, comments, followers and video views from Buzzvoice to make your profile or business page look more prestigious. This is especially valuable to new and rising pages which are looking for a breakthrough.
Requirements for Ads: Why your Ads may get rejected?
Many people who want to advertise can run into problems, of course. This isn’t something uncommon or strange. Quite the opposite – if you were to create and try to post many different ads, you’re bound to have issues and errors along the way. To not jeopardise your ads’ chances of being published, you should read Facebook’s policies on ads.
On top of this – you also need to know Instagram terms & services. For the most part – the previous two documents are very similar. Still, some slight differences could bother you in the future, so it’s worth spending a bit of time on getting to know things better.
If you’re interested in advertising a lot in the future, this is a beneficial read that will definitely benefit your advertising efficiency in the future. However, if you haven’t read it yet or aren’t planning to, we’ll give you a short rundown of what are the most common ad rejection reasons:
- The content or advertisement contains references to illegal products or services (drugs, weapons, explosives, etc.)
- The ad is racist, bigoted or in any way discriminatory
- The ad contains something related to tobacco & smoking
- The ad contains something sexual or nudity
- The ad contains copyrighted content
- The ad highlights personal attributes in a derogatory way (You should really be familiar with Facebook’s approach on this)
- The ad includes curses or profanity
The following types of content will also be rejected
- Before & after content
- Penny and bidding auctions
- Short-term loans, advances and bail bonds
- Spyware and Malware
If you’re trying to advertise content with: alcohol, real-world gambling, dating, state lotteries, drugs & pharmacies, subscription services, branded content, financial services & products, cryptocurrency trading, treatment for addictions, weight loss and beauty products, ads about social issues and politics, IT IS LIKELY to be rejected. Still, it can be approved if it complies with all terms and rules.
All in all that might seem a lot to take into account. However, if you’re sure your advertising a standard good/service and don’t use profanity or false claims about the product/service – there shouldn’t be any issues.
Solving poor delivery, low engagement rates as well as other common issues
Also worth mentioning – very poor engagement and/or delivery rates. This is an issue which hurts many ad creators and project owners. It can be caused not only by inaccurate audience targeting and lacklustre creative but by a wide array of other factors. Let’s go over them and see how you can avoid getting lousy engagement rates on your ads as well as solve other issues.
You think that your ad was wrongfully rejected – what to do?
- You will be notified about the rejection
- Appeal that rejection and state your case in the gap where you can write your comment
- If after repeat appeals you still won’t agree, you can request another review by following instructions found here
Common reasons for low ad engagement
- Your conversion link (the website where the person who clicks on the ad is redirected) isn’t optimised for mobile or desktop devices (or whichever device you target)
- Prices and cost figures in the image are a turn-off for most
- Bad format choice – maybe the photo ought to be a carousel or vice versa
- A poor selection of time to advertise – you wouldn’t advertise plane ticket deals after 9/11, it’s also a poor choice to promote vacation deals after a hurricane, etc. Think about whether your product/service are not interlinked with unfortunate or sad events.
Is COVID-19 pandemic a good time to begin and/or keep advertising on Instagram?
According to the Wall Street Journal, average ad costs on Facebook advertising fell between 15 and 25% amidst the chaos and panic of the quarantine. Because of this, it can really be considered a great time to begin advertising on Instagram. Most people might think the complete opposite, but in all honesty, that’s likely just an excuse.
If you were to look at Google Trends, the current interest in outdoor activities like bike riding, fishing, rollerblading, swimming, etc. is as high as ever. Google searches related to bikes rose to a decade-high during March, which means that if you were to sell bike accessories via dropshipping and advertise yourself on Instagram, you would:
- Get lower ad rates which means that for the same amount of money you could get a higher reach and make more people see you
- Sell more goods (percentage-wise) than most bike shops have done in a decade
So, now really, is it truly a wrong time to advertise and keep advertising? We think not, and we strongly encourage business owners to not shy away from Instagram ads and to also consider other ways of boosting their popularity on social media.
How much money do you need to run a successful ad campaign on Instagram?
This is a question with many possible answers. If you were previously interested in advertising on Instagram, you might’ve heard two numbers thrown around. One is 20x, and the other is 150USD. For some reasons, social media marketing wiz’s and know-hows tell us that to know what really sells your product in terms of ads, you should spend 20 times the amount (hence 20x) of what it’s initially worth on advertising.
Other courses and experts say that 150 USD should be your minimum starting budget. If you’re on YouTube often and watch some dropshipping tutorials (since dropshippers are amongst the most avid advertisers on Insta), you’ve likely come across people like Biaheza or Chris Conrady. Why do we mention these particular Youtubers you ask? Because they do challenges where they start a business on Instagram and create ads by hand to successfully sell products.
The catch – they do it on a low or minimal budget. Biaheza told in one of his videos that he explores a few possible audiences, starting at 10USD per day, scaling up with successful targets to 50USD per day. Spending more, according to him, isn’t that much of a boost.
Some other experts recommend 150USD as a good starting point for small businesses. Depending on your niche, however, the recommended amount could slightly vary. In areas that are not too competitive, 100USD might be enough, while some areas like apparel could be much more demanding.
How much do ads on Instagram cost?
Ads on billboards have fixed costs. Ads on TV’s don’t have set one-time costs, and the price is usually calculated by run-time. On Instagram, you have a fixed budget which is spent over-time. Your cost for an ad is calculated in two ways
- CPC (Cost per click)
- Let’s say you paid 100 USD for an ad on Instagram
- You got 100 clicks on the link in the ad
- Your CPC was 1 USD (1 USD per 1 click)
- CPM (Cost per mille/thousand impressions)
- Let’s say you spent 100 USD for an ad on Instagram
- You got 10000 impressions (the number of times your post was displayed)
- Your CPM was 10 USD (CPM= Budget/Impressions in thousands or 100/10)
“On average, companies pay $0.20 to $2 per click and $6.70 per 1000 impressions for Instagram ads” – WebFx article
The quote could give you a rough ball-park estimate of what you must seek in terms of ad effectiveness. However, highly competitive industries like clothing, lifestyle and health could run up to 3USD per click. Usually, the age group between the ages of 25 and 34 are the most sought after demographic and targeting them proves to be the most efficient.
However, as we’ve mentioned in part about targeting your audience, you should be familiar with the ages and stats of your followers. Tools like Facebook Pixel and Google Analytics also help find out more about people that purchase from your store and/or interact with your store. Always strive to be in the range of 0.2-2 USD per click (CPC) and under 7 USD for per 1k impressions (CPM). This way, you’ll always know your ads are bringing their A-game.
Why ads for impressions aren’t worth that much money
Of course, spending money on Instagram ads which you want to bring in likes and followers isn’t bad, but there are much more affordable ways to bring in traffic and likes to your profile.
The average CPC rates show that it’s usually more than 10-20 times cheaper to just buy likes instead of spending cash on ads. Of course, bringing in future audiences is great, but if you’re looking for a quick head-start, definitely look at buying likes and followers as a much more affordable option.
Let’s just compare:
- 100 likes via ads should cost around 110 USD (1.1 USD per click)
- 100 likes from BuzzVoice cost 2.97 USD
I think you needn’t be a math genius to see what’s more useful to small and new businesses. Besides, the bought likes are genuine and do not seem fake, giving you credibility and prestige.
Why are there so many ads on my Instagram feed & stories now?
Yes, there was a time when your feed had no ads at all. However, as of now, this is the only way in which Instagram makes money. Facebook owns Instagram, and Facebook loves money. They have almost perfected the crafts of social media and advertising on it. If you aren’t used to ads or see one that you don’t like, click the three dots in the top corner and select to hide or report the ad if you think it’s inappropriate or if you just don’t want to look at it.
Should you use hashtags on ads?
You can, but if you’re not boosting a post which you previously posted, the hashtags won’t help users find your post through browsing. So, all in all – hashtags can be used, but aren’t very helpful.
How do I run my Instagram ads better?
Just read the entire guide from top to bottom again, and you should be good to go!
Do Instagram ads work well for everyone?
Pretty much. If you were to look at Instagram ads analytics and find examples of great Instagram ads, you’d definitely find examples in every category. From apparel to phone accessories and from subscription-based services all the way to mobile applications – if you can deliver something new or something better to the lives of people – you should definitely consider advertising on Instagram. It could definitely work well for you!
How to create the best Instagram ad?
If you aren’t a part or a lead of a team of creative know-hows, we recommend following our creative tips and also hiring some freelancers to help you brainstorm! Make sure the visuals are professional and pay much attention into targeting the right audience.
Can I pause my Instagram ads?
Yes, you can! If you want to allocate your funds elsewhere or if there has been a change of plans, you can pause any ad on Instagram and resume it later on or cancel it altogether!