Instagram is rapidly gaining popularity as an advertising platform.
Early this year, Instagram’s parent company, Facebook, announced that Instagram had surpassed 1 million active advertisers. In early 2016, that number was around 200,000.
It’s easy to understand the appeal of advertising on Instagram. It’s an outlet for artistic expression for brands with advertising displays that are non-intrusive in Instagram feeds.
Companies with experience advertising on Facebook will find some familiarities on Instagram’s platform. But there are several Instagram-specific conventions and options.
Use this outline of Instagram advertising’s basic formats and structures to get started with an Instagram ad campaign!
Formats and specs
Instagram ads can take the form of a photo, video, or a swipeable carousel of multiple photos and videos.
- Photo specs: square, vertical, or horizontal; jpg or png format; 30 MB max file size; 2,200-word caption max
- Video specs: square, vertical, or horizontal; mp4 or mov format recommended; 60 second max length; 4 GB max file size; thumbnail image required.
- Carousel specs: 2 to 10 photos/videos; each can have its own call-to-action, link, and caption.
Earlier this year, Instagram launched Instagram Stories, a separate feed that follows from trends pioneered by up-and-coming social media platform, Snapchat. On Instagram Stories, like on Snapchat Stories, content disappears 24 hours after publishing. Also like Snapchat, content takes the form of an immersive full-screen image or video on smartphones.
Companies can advertise on Instagram Stories with vertical, full screen photos and videos that play for a maximum of 15 seconds.
Instagram ad objectives
Instagram will prompt you to choose an objective before launching an advertising campaign. The objectives cover each stage of a buyer’s journey from their awareness of a need, to consideration of solutions, to purchasing.
Objectives that speak to awareness fall under Instagram’s “reach” and “brand awareness” objectives and are optimized for a wide audience.
Objectives that speak to the consideration stage include:
- Increasing website traffic and app installations
- Getting video views
- Encouraging post engagements, including likes and comments
- Generating leads using Instagram’s native lead generation form. The form pre-populates with information from a user’s profile making it easy to fill out and submit to you.
Objectives that speak to conversions include increasing product sales and driving store visits. Product sale ads can target people based on the products they have viewed on your website. Your product catalog can be uploaded to Instagram to showcase and sell right from the app.
Ads that drive store visits are targeted to the geographic area around the store and include call-to-action options “call now,” “get directions,” and “learn more.”
The format of your ad - whether image, video, carousel, or story - will determine which calls-to-action are available. Some call-to-action options are common to multiple Instagram formats and objectives, including:
- Book now
- Contact us
- Learn more
- Shop now
- Open link
Instagram advertising gives companies opportunities to showcase artistic imagery, tell stories through videos, and distribute compelling calls-to-action, all in an unobtrusive format that feels native to the platform.
Check out our social media advertising program for help tailoring an Instagram advertising program to your business objectives!
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Breezy Hill Marketing is a Vermont web design company specializing in marketing strategy, social media marketing, and building beautiful, optimized, and mobile responsive websites. We work with clients in Vermont and throughout the United States.