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What is Instagram Advertising?

Tips for Getting Started with Successful Advertising Campaigns

What is Instagram advertising? With Instagram ads, businesses can drive awareness and increase audience through compelling creatives that stand out. With roughly one billion monthly active users, Instagram belongs among the most popular social networks worldwide. The social photo-sharing app is especially popular in India and in the United States, which have respectively 180 million and 170 million Instagram users each.


What is Instagram Advertising?


What demographics does Instagram advertising reach?

As of 2021, 25-34-year-olds represent the largest advertising audience on Instagram, followed closely by the 18-24-year-old age group. Men slightly outnumber women in these age groups. However, women outnumber men among users 35 and up. The younger the Instagram user, the more likely they are to use the social network multiple times per day. A poll by Ipsos breaks down the percentage of people who logon more than once a day by age:

  • 18-24 years old: 67%
  • 25-34 years old: 60%
  • 35-44 years old: 49%
  • 45-54 years old: 43%
  • 55+ years old: 31%


What are the different types of Instagram advertising?

There are many different types of advertising formats on Instagram, including:

  • Image ads
  • Stories ads
  • Video ads
  • Carousel ads
  • Collection ads
  • Explore ads
  • IGTV ads
  • Shopping ads
  • Reels ads

The wide range means that you can choose the best ad type that matches your specific business goal. Each ad format has its own selection of call-to-action options:

Image ads

Image ads allow businesses to use single images to advertise their brand, products, and services. They are best suited for campaigns with compelling visual content that can be conveyed in a single image. These images can be created from high-quality photography or design and illustration. It’s also possible to add text to images. However, Instagram recommends limiting overlaid text as much as possible for best results.

Stories ads

Instagram Stories Ads are full-screen image or video ads that appear between users’ Stories. Instagram Stories are a well-used part of the app, with over 500 million Instagram users viewing Stories every day. Engagement is often higher with Stories ads, as the format covers the whole mobile screen and feels much more immersive than in-feed ads. The best Instagram Stories ads are ones that look and feel like normal Stories and don’t stand out as ads. When designing Stories ads, businesses can use all organic Instagram Stories features like filters, text, GIFs, and interactive stickers. Stories ads can use still photos, videos, and carousels. The call-to-action is presented as a swipe-up link at the bottom of the Story.

Video ads

Like image ads, video ads on Instagram allow businesses to give users a closer look at their brand, products, and services. In-feed video ads can be up to 60 minutes long, but shorter videos are usually more effective. Read more about best practices for designing Instagram video ads.

Carousel ads

Carousel ads feature a series of images or videos that users can swipe through. They can appear both in-feed and within Instagram Stories, with a call-to-action button or swipe-up link that led users directly to your website.

You can use carousel ads to:

  • Showcase a collection of related products
  • Tell a multi-part story
  • Share up to 10 images or videos

Collection ads

Collection ads are a combination between carousel ads and shopping ads. They showcase products directly from your product catalog. Collection ads are best suited for eCommerce brands, as they allow users to purchase products directly from the ad. When a user clicks on the ad, they are directed to an Instagram Instant Experience Storefront. This is where they can learn more about the product and proceed to purchase.

Explore ads

Explore ads appear within the Explore tab. This is an area of the platform where users discover new content and accounts. They are also tailored based on their Instagram usage habits. More than 50% of Instagram users access Explore every month, so it’s a great place to gain exposure. Instagram Explore ads do not appear in the Explore grid or the topic channels. But, they are shown after someone clicks on a photo or video from Explore. As the content in users’ Explore tabs is constantly changing, Explore ads allow businesses to be shown alongside culturally relevant and trending content. Explore ads can be both images and videos.

IGTV ads

IGTV ads are video ads that play after a user clicks to watch an IGTV video from their feed. Videos can be up to 15 seconds long and should be designed for vertical full-screen viewing (more IGTV ad specs). They are shown midroll (in the middle of the video), potentially with the option to skip. IGTV ads are currently available to users with Instagram Creator accounts in the US, UK, and Australia. And more countries are rolling out soon. Creators can opt-in to having ads shown in their IGTV videos. They can also receive 55% of the advertising revenue generated from each view.

Shopping ads

There are 130 million users tapping on shopping posts every month. SO, it’s no wonder Instagram has been heavily improving its eCommerce features over the last 1-2 years. With Instagram’s newest Shopping features, users can now view and purchase products without ever leaving the app. (Limited to businesses with Instagram Checkout enabled). Instagram Shopping ads take users directly to a product description page within the Instagram app. They can then purchase through your mobile website. To run Shopping ads, you need to set up your Instagram Shopping catalog.

Reels ads

With the successful launch of Reels, Instagram recently announced the ability to advertise within Reels. Ads are shown in between Reels, with similar specs to Stories ads (full-screen vertical videos). They can be up to 30 seconds long and should include sound or music to be well-integrated with organic Reels.


Final Thoughts

To ensure the success of Instagram campaigns, advertisers must find the perfect balance of cost and visibility. This will also ensure maximum results. Use each advertising dollar effectively, by creating a unique campaign for your business. This depends on your market position, industry, size, and area of operation. Also, constantly analyze and improve keywords and locations.

Instagram advertising will continue evolving, too. We want to help you stay up-to-date with all the latest changes and strategies to succeed. Learn more about our advertising support services here.

what is Instagram advertising

Read our blog post, UA Media Buying Model, and see how it works in tandem with our Ad Concept Model. Learn the media buying best practice strategies for Facebook Android, Facebook iOS SKAN, Google, and TikTok.

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