Brad is frustrated. He wants to advertise his small business on social media but isn’t sure which one to choose. Facebook? Instagram? TikTok?
Figuring out where to put his time and money is hard enough, then there’s writing the ad, choosing a good photo and setting up a campaign. The whole process is frustrating.
Is there an easier way to do this? Well, yes, get help from someone like us. 😉 But it’s also possible to run ads on your own and there are ways to figure out which network is best.
Here are a few tips to help you decide if Instagram ads are right for your business.
Why should I consider Instagram? Isn’t it mostly for teens & 20-year-olds?
Well, yes and no. Yes, Generation Z (10 to 25-years-olds) is a big group on Instagram and no, it isn’t the only or even the biggest age group using it.
Can we give you some straight talk here? We see too many business owners who poo-poo Instagram and other social media because they feel these networks only cater to teens and Millennials.
First, let’s take a moment to realize that the oldest Millennials are now 41 years old. (Yes! 41!) Also, the largest group of Instagram users are 25 to 34 years old (per a Hootsuite study). Remember also, you can narrow the audience of your ad campaigns to the age group you prefer.
Here are a few examples of who you can reach on Instagram:
- New parents in their 20s or 30s
- Car buyers in their 20s, 30s or 40s
- Homeowners or first-time home buyers in their 30s & 40s
- Consumers of all ages who are comfortable shopping online
- Local consumers who book services online
So please don’t be swayed by what you may have heard. It could be wrong or outdated and you could miss out on a great opportunity to reach new prospects and expand your customer base.
How do Instagram ads work?
On Instagram, you can promote your business using photos or video with text. Remember, Instagram is a very visual platform, so quality images are important. Ads look like regular posts but have a “sponsored” label.
Keep in mind that Facebook owns Instagram, so you can create ads in the Facebook ads manager or within the Instagram app.
Like Facebook ads, Instagram ads are run on an auction system, which determines their price. Prices depend on the competition, the ad goal, the placement, and relevance.
For each ad, you make a bid for the max amount you’re willing to pay (per click, per impression or per ad objective). The bidding system will then compare all the ad bids targeting the same users and decide which ad gets what spot and at what price. It doesn’t always choose the highest bid either. Here’s a detailed description of Instagram’s bidding system.
Set your ad budget per day or for the entire campaign. For example, with a budget of $10 per day, it will run your ad(s) until it reaches $10 on average, then stop until the next day. With a campaign budget of $500, it will run continuously until it reaches that amount, which might be in 2 days or in 1 week.
Take advantage of turbo targeting
Since it uses Facebook’s advertising system, Instagram has a very powerful targeting ability. You can target your audience by location, demographics, interests, behaviors, and more. You can even target those who have bought from you in the past or engaged with your regular social posts.
One great option is to build a “lookalike audience.” This is like telling Instagram: “Here’s a list of customers who’ve bought from me. Now look for others who are like them on Instagram and show them my ad.” We’ve seen this work really well.
Once your campaign is set, you can use Instagram’s tools to track performance and see results.
Are they better than Facebook ads?
There’s no clear answer here. They both have their own strengths and weaknesses, and it really comes down to what you’re trying to achieve with your campaign and who you’re targeting. We will say that if you have good videos or images, it’s worth seeing how they’ll perform as Instagram ads, especially if you know your audience uses the network.
Also, since it’s in the same ecosystem as Facebook, it’s easy to compare results for your ads on Instagram vs. Facebook.
How much can I expect to pay for Instagram ads?
The price range varies depending on your campaign goals and audience. We’ve seen small businesses pay 50 cents to $1 per click or up to $3+ per click for very competitive industries.
This doesn’t mean you should spend the bare minimum. While it’s possible to get results with small daily budgets, we suggest spending at least $500 per month on ads for a small business. Based on our experience, clients start to see real results at that level. From $500 to $1,000 a month is a good starting point as that’ll give Instagram enough time to test and improve results.
Is it worth hiring someone to run my Instagram ads?
You can guess our answer. Honestly though, a professional will use your ad budget more efficiently to bring you better results. That’s because advertising on Instagram or Facebook isn’t an exact science.
Testing ad versions or options is the best way to figure out what works best for your goals and, unfortunately, that testing costs money. If you’re just starting out, your tests might cost you $500, while ours might cost half that.
We feel Instagram ads are a good option for many small businesses, even service-based businesses. At this time in 2022, Instagram users are more engaged and its algorithm isn’t as strict as Facebook’s, but that may change. If you’re unsure, we suggest running a test to decide between Facebook and Instagram ads.
We hope this post helps you understand how Instagram ads work and whether they might benefit your business.
Need help? Contact us and we can work together to create an Instagram ad campaign that drives results.