Paid Social Media Made Easy, Part 3: Instagram



(Image Source)


Instagram has grown from a simple photography mobile application to become one of the world’s largest social media platforms. With Facebook’s acquisition of the app in 2012, it has little chance of slowing down and will surely continue to grow.


Currently, Instagram has 400 million monthly active users. Of these users, 75% live outside of the United States. Instagram has presented a new digital channel for marketers to engage with their audiences around the world in the way their audiences want to be engaged with: through short messages and strong visuals.
Kim Garst, Founder and CEO of Social Media Branding, a social media consulting firm, believes that visuals integrated in social media will only continue to grow. “Visuals are a huge part of social media and they continue to evolve. People are so busy today. Images catch their attention and are quicker and easier to process than text as they scroll through a social media feed.”
Paid advertising through Instagram is a new and great opportunity to market your business. Paid advertising through the application looks extremely organic and unobtrusive in your audiences feed. Personally, I often find myself engaging with sponsored Instagram advertisements in my feed without even noticing due to the native design for their sponsored posts.
So now that you are dying to know more about crafting your next marketing strategy with Instagram, let’s go over all of options available in terms of paid advertising with Instagram.
Types of Advertisements
Instagram offers three different types of paid advertisements for businesses to choose from.


  • Photo Advertisements: Photo ads are the basic paid offering from Instagram. Companies can post images and include copy just as they would on their personal Instagram accounts. The only differences include the call-to-action in the bottom right and the “sponsored” text in the upper right corner.


There are a couple different types of call-to-actions, too. Some examples include Book It, Shop Now, Learn More, Install (for mobile apps), and Sign up.



  • Video Advertisements: The next offering from Instagram for paid advertising are video advertisements. These work very similar to photo advertisements and look almost identical. It is important to note that businesses can only share up to 30 seconds of video content per post. You can also still include the call-to-actions mentioned above.

  • Carousel Advertisements:  The final type of paid advertisements available on Instagram are carousel advertisements. These ads are a little more complex and work differently that photo advertisements or video advertisements. Carousel advertisements allow advertisers to post more images and end on a call to action slide to visit the business’s website. Users have the option to swipe back and forth through the multiple photos and see more if they please. These advertisements work best if your business has multiple images that work well with the same message.


Inspiration for Doing it Right
Many brands have been able to successfully leverage Instagram paid advertising and incorporate it into their current marketing mix. In particular, one brand that is extremely successful in their paid Instagram efforts is Ben and Jerry’s. After launching a series of paid ads on the photo sharing application, the ice cream company saw a 20% increase in followers. Overall, Ben and Jerry’s gained 50,000 new followers after launching their first advertisements. The company also saw an increase in photo “likes.” The “most-liked” advertisement Ben and Jerry’s created received 386,877 likes.  This was a 2,000% increase from an average Ben and Jerry’s Instagram post.
Who wouldn’t love these photos?!



Image Source: Ben and Jerry’s Instagram
Meeting Your Goals
The paid advertisements outlined above can work to accomplish the following objectives for your business according to Instagram Business Solutions:


  • Clicks to your website
  • Mobile Application Installs
  • Video Views
  • Page Post Engagement
  • Website Conversions
  • Mobile App Engagement
  • Reach and Frequency
  • Mass Awareness


If your company doesn’t have a huge budget for paid Instagram advertising, have no fear. According to social media influencer Ann Handley, “The most successful companies advertising on Instagram won’t be the ones with the most money to spend. They’ll be the ones that understand the inherent strengths of the platform, and use it as a place to tell stories that make people feel something.”
The content covered in this blog is all about paid advertising through Instagram.  Another great way to engage with your audiences is by building your companies Instagram account from the ground up. To learn more about crafting your companies Instagram account check out our Vlog Episode 1: Instagram Tips and Tricks to Grow your Business.