Since October of 2015, we have been creating, running, and testing Instagram Sponsored ads. It’s now 2019 and we are still running Instagram Ads.
I’ve become obsessed because I think the platform is the perfect way to advertise certain products or services. It’s not just for branding. We have used Intagram ads for Plumbers, Body Sculpting, Helicopter Tours, Marketers and more.
Intagram has worked for all of them. This post was orginally created back in 2015. We are now going to update it with the latest information on Instagram.
Here’s your 2020 Instagram Marketing guide.
Instagram has come out with Stories and all the new features, it’s becoming a great tool for businesses.
Here’s a quick screenshot of the most popular social media networks.
Instagram ads are one of the most powerful tools we have as business owners.
Our path has not been all roses, but we have been able to achieve a huge ROI. Whether you’re looking to spend $5 a day advertising to a single zip code or $50,000 a day reaching fans everywhere, you can find your ideal target audience.
Make sure you give us some love and comment if you have any other ideas or suggestions below. I want articles to be the go-to place for Instagram Ads.
Before we get started I want to explain something about Instagram.
Instagram was purchased by Facebook for an obscene amount of money.
They control Instagram advertising. The way you advertise on Instagram is through the Facebook ads manager. When I show you how to create ads I will be using Facebook’s Ad Manager.
I have had some people get confused in the past and have no Idea how the 2 of them are connected.
Let’s jump into the top 7 things I have learned running Instagram Ads.
1. Instagram does not scale perfectly. There is a sweet spot.
What do I mean by this?
Let’s say you are spending $20 dollars a day on ads and your cost per conversion is $1.89. Common sense would tell you that if you increase your daily spend to $100 your cost per conversion should stay at $1.89 or close to it (assuming you have a big enough audience).
This has not been the case. As you will see, by the image below every time I increase my Instagram daily spend, my cost per result increases. Often times it will triple the cost. How do you overcome this?
You create more ads. Instead of increasing your daily spend, I suggest you create more ads. For now, that has been my workaround and it is working.
Over the past 3 years there has been a big change in this. It is more scaleable, but the cost of Instagram leads are higher than Facebook.
Here is a screen shot of our Facebook Ad Manger where we show you the cost per. You will see that Instagram is a lot higher, but we have found the quality to be better.
2. Lookalike Audience or Custom Audience will give you excellent results.
Facebook (Instagram) is under pressure from Wall Street to produce earnings. They can not do this unless advertisers are spending money. Advertisers will not spend money unless it is working. The more our ads produce for us, the more we will spend on Facebook and Instagram.
It’s a vicious cycle but one that benefits all of us. Facebook has taken everything they have learned from Facebook ads and applied it to Instagram ads.
Facebook/Instagram wants you to be successful, and their algorithm is extremely good at finding your ideal customers, as long as you give them the parameters.
Custom audiences and Lookalike audiences offer a simple and automated way to put your message in front of an audience that you know will perform well.
Here is how you will do that.
A. Create a custom audience from your Conversions. Meaning, place your conversion pixel on your Thank You page.
B. Create a Lookalike audience from your Conversion audience.
3. Instagram Does Work For Direct Response Advertisers
When Instagram Sponsored Ads appeared in 2014, it was for brand awareness. Now, we are seeing direct response advertisers getting big results.
Instagram is a direct response advertiser’s dream. You can create highly visual static ads or video ads and drive traffic to your landing pages.
It’s extremely easy to communicate your message which is what direct response marketers need.
Here are a couple of examples.
4. Your Target Audience Is Most Likely On Instagram
If you are searching for Lawyers, Doctors, CEOs, CMOs, Mothers, Fathers or Teenagers you are going to find them on Instagram.
Instagram currently has 300 million active users. Your target audience will be there.
The money is made in the audience. The most common mistake is people do not spend enough time researching their audience. Spend a couple of hours creating the perfect audience. Not 5 minutes!
5. Video Ads Create Better Engagement
A little unknown fact about Instagram ads is that you can run 60 second sponsored video ads. You are not limited to the 15-second video post.
Instagram has increased the amount of time you can run a video as long as you are running an ad. This is a nice little benefit. A 60-second ad is that it gives us a chance to deliver our message.
With video, you are able to deliver your message with words, images, and music. It’s much more entertaining and useful for your future customers.
It’s kind of a no-brainer.
These last two lessons are more for encouragement and motivation and might be the most important.
I have added a whole section to the bottom of this Articles where I give you a simple guide on why kinds of videos work.
6. Don’t quit too soon. You are going to screw up and lose money
Like everything that is worth doing, Instagram ads take money and endurance. If you have zero budget, don’t plan on running Instagram ads. If you’re a whine bag and expect instant results, try the yellow pages and Radio ads. Their ads always work…haha
And another thing…
I can’t tell you how many times I get people wanting to run ads with zero budget. If you can’t pay, you can’t play.
If you do have a budget, be prepared to make mistakes that will cost money. Keep moving forward. As long as you have a good product that produces value, you will get buyers.
7. It Is Only Going To Get Better
Since we started running Instagram ads in October, Instagram advertising interest is skyrocketing. Costs are going to increase, but at the same time, it is only going to get better.
Facebook is losing traction and Instagram is gaining. I can’t believe the amount of time and energy wasted on scrolling through Instagram posts.
Even though I want to advertise to 30+-year-olds, my ads are still being shown to 15-year-olds. Things like that will get adjusted.
Instagram will improve their platform and their targeting options are going to also get better. Instagram wants to get the right ad in front of the right people.
Don’t miss it.
Instagram Case Study
45 days ago we took on a Click that does HD Body sculpting. It’s a type of liposuction that gets rid of fat in a couple of hours.
Within a day we created the website, built out the social media account, and started running ads.
You can see by the screenshot below that Instagram produced 123 Consultation in a 30 day time period.
I have created video tutorials on How to Run Instagram Ads. There are also other blogs that will give you some tips.
I am loving Instagram video ads and I am going to take up the next 20 minutes of your life to give you a detailed explanation on why I love Instagram video ads and why you should be running them.
My job is to help you get more leads, sales, and customers. Your job is to test what I am teaching and see if it works for you.
So let’s jump in.
Why Instagram Sponsored Ads?
Instagram has been on the scene for a few years now. It was created by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger back in 2010. Their platform ended up taking over the world, so Facebook bought them for a small sum of 19 billion. Chump change for you and me.
Over the last couple of months of running Instagram ads, I am now beginning to see why Instagram is so valuable. With Facebook’s expertise in ads, and Instagram’s users, we have the perfect platform for video advertising.
Let me show you what I did.
1. I created a 30 second video ad. (whiteboard style)
2. I created an audience (200,000)
a. Marketing Director (job title)
b. 35 – 55 years old
c. United States
3. Upload the video to the Facebook Ad Platform and let it run (see the video below on where I walk you through this setup step by step).
4. Followed up with the comments and shares on my ad.
a. Interacted with users directly on Instagram.
b. Took down their handle names for future posts.
A video posted by Whiteboard Animation (@ydraw) on
I am going to walk you through the process step by step on How to Set Instagram Video Ad You will use the same platform that you use for Facebook ads. No longer do you have to use Power Editor.
1. Create the Assets for your Instagram Ad
If you are going to run a video ad you obviously need a simple 30 second ad. Below are some examples of Instagram Video Ads that we have created. No longer do you have to worry about the size of the video. You can edit the video in your standard 16:9 ratio. It just has to be 30 seconds or shorter. Like everything else, make sure you customize the video to fit the platform. A 15 second TV commercial may or may not get good results on Instagram. I am always mentioning this in my YouTube articles.
You can create Instagram ads using ad creation.
You’ll create Instagram ads the same way you create Facebook ads. All you need to do after creating your ad is make sure that you’ve selected Instagram in the “Ad Preview” section. However, there are a few things you’ll need to know before you start creating Instagram ads.
Preparing to Advertise on Instagram.
Do you have an Instagram account you’d like to use to run ads?
*Yes, I have an Instagram account.
Since you have an Instagram account, you’ll want to add it to either your business manager or through your business’ page settings.
*No, I don’t have an Instagram account.
If you don’t have an Instagram account, you’ll need to use your business’ Facebook page as the voice of your Instagram ads. You must have a Facebook page to run ads on Instagram.
2. Creating Your Instagram Ad
Choose an objective from the list.
Keep in mind that only the following objectives will allow you to create ads that will be eligible to appear on Instagram. Send people to your website (Clicks to Website), Increase conversions on your website (Website Conversions), * get Installs of your app (Mobile App Installs), get video views (Video Views).
3. Next to Campaign Name, add a name for your campaign or use the default name that appears.
4. In the targeting section, create an audience for your ad.
You can choose audience characteristics such as age, gender, interests and more. Learn about the targeting options available and tips on choosing the right audience for your ad. Spend at least 20 to 30 minutes creating the right target audience. Age, Job Titles, Interests, Groups, Purchasing Behavior, etc. The money is made in the audience.
5. In the budget & scheduling section, you can choose a budget and set your ad’s schedule.
Set your budget and schedule. If you choose, you can set a manual bid by updating the “Optimize For” and “Pricing” sections with your preferences. Set your ad’s bid.
6. Next to Ad Set Name, add a name for your ad set or use the default name that appears.
In the media section, choose the type of creative you’d like your ad to include.
7. In the text and links section, choose a Facebook Page to represent your business on Facebook’s News Feed.
Below “Instagram Account,” choose an Instagram account. If you haven’t added an Instagram account through Business Manager or through your business’ page, click Add an Account and follow the steps to set up your Instagram account.
8. Give your ad a Headline and Text.
Click Show Advanced Options to choose a call-to-action button for your ad. Below “Ad Preview,” you’ll see all of the placements your ad will be shown on. By default, all of the placements will be selected. It’s recommended that you run your ads on Facebook and Instagram at the same time. However, if you’d like to only show your ads on Instagram, click “Remove” next to all of the placements except for Instagram.
Once you’ve completed your ad, click “Place Order” in the bottom-right corner. **With Instagram ads you can add more to your text. I would also suggest adding hashtags. Here is an example of an Instagram Video ads. It’s our Ydraw Pants Video.
We started running Instagram ads about 10 days ago and so far, the numbers have looked pretty good. There is money to be made and I am loving the platform. In the coming weeks I am going to continue testing and fine tuning my campaigns. I will keep you posted on the progress, so keep an eye out for future emails and posts.
Below, I am going to give you The Lessons We Have Learned In Running Instagram Ads.
Instagram sponsored ads allow local businesses to tap into their local markets. We have been running and testing ads for small businesses like dentists, lawyers, chocolate companies, orthodontists, etc.
Here are some of the lessons we have learned along the way.
Let’s first start off with the cons of Instagram ads.
1. Targeting is a bit off
When I set up Instagram ads, I like to keep my demographics very specific. An example would be: I only like to run ads to people who are between the ages of 30 and 55.
That is not what is happening. I get a lot of teenagers seeing and liking my ads. This is a red flag to me and has an effect on my ROI.
This doesn’t stop me from running ads though, because when you are an early adopter you have to live with the growing pains. And besides…the numbers are still looking good.
2. Cost is rising
Within a couple of days the cost per click started to rise. I am now around 49 cents per website click. When I first started running the ads, my cost was around 17 cents per click. Either way the ROI is still there, and a rise in costs is to be expected.
3. Fake Instagram Accounts
Instagram, like Facebook, is loaded with fake accounts. People will use fake accounts to grow their audience, which skews the numbers a bit.
Now, that we have covered the cons of Instagram ads. It’s time we talk about the pros.
1. Instagram ads are working
Yes! Instagram ads are working and I think it is going to produce a lot of business for companies, including my own. A lot of eyeballs have navigated from Facebook to Instagram.
A great example would be my wife and all of her friends. They spend so much time scrolling down through Instagram. On a side note, many men have found that is it taking a big toll on their bedroom life.
Maybe I am not kidding.
The point is…your audience is there and the clicks will come.
2. It’s going to get better
They are fine tuning the system and over time, Instagram is going to get better at finding your buyers. Don’t wait too long to jump in.
3. Early adopters are being rewarded
Early adopters are rewarded with cheaper clicks. Like all other PPC platforms, Instagram costs are related to supply and demand. Marketers tend to ruin everything and they will eventually take over Instagram.
How to run Instagram Ads Successfully
Over the last 10 days, we have learned some tips and tricks that will help you run a successful Instagram campaign. I will give you the list first.
The more targeted the better
Your image is a big deal
Create a call to action
Offer something of value
Landing pages should match your ad
The More Targeted The Better
Although you get cheaper clicks by running to a larger audience, you are not going to get as many leads. When I run an ad to business executives, advertisers, marketers, CMOs, etc, I do not get the results I am looking for. My audience is too broad.
An example title would be…”Do you need Online Marketing?”
I get traffic, but I do not get much interaction in the form of comments and website visitors.
If I run a specific ad to a targeted audience, I get a lot better results.
Here is a Instagram ad screenshot. You can’t see it but within 12 hours (it took 10 hours to get approved) I had 14 comments where people had shared this post with their dentist or orthodontist and I received 168 likes. (10 hours later it was at 289 likes and 31 comments. The comments were people sharing the post with dental practices.)
Notice how this ad is targeting dentists and orthodontists. I am not just targeting CEOs or CMOs. The target is a specific occupation and I’m mentioning their occupation in my ad.
I hope that makes sense…
The Image Is A Big Deal
Your image has to be disruptive. When a user is scrolling they are usually moving pretty fast. If your image doesn’t apply to them right away, it will get skipped.
Here is an image that I tested for fun. If you know anything about Instagram, you will understand the power that Ryan Gosling has over Instagrammers. It is kind of a big joke but at the same time it works.
This ad produced a lot of likes and people did pass it around, but it did not produce leads. All I care about are the leads.
Create A Call To Action
Tell your audience what you would like them to do. Instagram does let you choose your call to action during the ad creations phase (see below), but I would suggest putting it on your images also. The ad below is a great image but I did not add the Call To Action like I should have.
Offer Something Of Value
This is pretty self explanatory. Give them a reason to click on the ad. People love FREE!
Landing Page Should Match Your Ad.
Your landing page should have a similar message to your ad. You want to keep the user experience the same. I would even go as far as the same color and images. If you are offering a 14 day trial on your ad, make sure you have that same offer on the landing page.
There you have it; those are just a few of the Lessons We Have Learned About Instagram Sponsored Ads.
Transcript For You Readers (there are errors)
[Start of video Why you should be running Facebook and Instagram Ads]
[Beginning of recorded material]
Jace: Good morning everyone. This is Jace over here, at Yinc Marketing and Ydraw. I am just calling to give you guys a little bit update on Instagram ad. So, let’s jump right in.
First off, Instagram ads are working tremendously. I’ve been running all types of tests from little campaigns I’ve created, a couple of new funnels just to see what kinds of clicks… We are running more tests; for example there is some carousels that we’re going to be trying; over the next couple of weeks we’re going to be expanding into some video ads. Couple of things like that, just to see what kind of traction we can get.
So, let me show you why these Instagram ads are so important and why you should be using them. So, I’m kind of running a simple campaign to dentist and orthodontist. Obviously, that’s a big deal. I did write a blog; if you want to refer back to blog it was last week about things that you need to do to improve your conversions with you Instagram ads. That’s one of the things you need to speak specifically to a certain audience. So, whether you’re writing one for lawyers, dentists, orthodontists, doctor, small business, you just need to be very specific and it’s going to help you on your conversions’ rates. So, let me show you why Instagram ads are so good right now. As you know, whenever anything new comes out, they still have their issues. So, there are some things, there are some problems with Instagram ads. One of those problems is they still haven’t got the audience note down. So, I get a lot of clicks from people, who are not in my target audience; like I always go for 30 years and older, well I’m getting a lot of young kids clicking on my ads, seeing my ad. So, just know that there are some growing pains when you get started.
So, let’s talk specifically for dentists and orthodontists, and you guys can apply this to any other type of business. So, one of the biggest, the most powerful things with Facebook and Instagram ads is the audience. You are able to go in here; let me expand this out, just so you guys can see it. So, let’s assume that you are a dentist, and you’ve been running phonebook ads, or you’ve been running yellow pages, those Valpak ads. And you’ve been doing a lot of those things. Well, here is something that’s nice about Instagram and Facebook. Now, they run on the same platform too, just so you understand that.
So, I go in here; let’s say that you are a dentist in San Diego. Then I’m going to expand this. So, you can create an audience; and let’s go location, we’re going to go to San Diego. And this is where it gets nice. So, you’re not going to waste a lot of money on people who are not in your area. You can go smaller net; let’s say, let’s go to a 10 mile radius within your practice. You can go down to zip code, do whatever you want.
Now, what we want to do is follow, and what we don’t want to do is restrict this. Your audience may be older; your audience may be younger. I like to go 30 years and older, just that’s who buyers are; you are not going to find a lot of buyers underneath thirty years of age. So, a lot of times you’ll be running a campaign, your numbers might not look that great. If you go adjust your age up to 30, you’re going to have some better numbers. Change this. I like to go down to sixty, unless you’re targeting some type of senior citizens. If you’re doing that, then you need to go higher.
And now I’m going to go women. Obviously, I’m going to go English, because most of the times it’s the women or it’s the parents that are going to decide, if they’re going to take their kid to the dentist. A lot of guys are working, so I like to eliminate that to just women. Got it?
Interest; you can say soccer mom. Isn’t that funny? Soccer mom right here; there is 1.28 million. So, you can say soccer mom; you can be a homemaking; you can be a parent. So, here are their interests. You’ll see, right now there’s 100,000 potential people in San Diego that we can target this ad to. And you can get very specific. So, you got interest. If there is anyone that’s got an interest in like let’s say you’re building a home or real estate, you can always define those interests, and there is a lot of stuff you can do with that. Like if you go over to Amazon, you are able to find like a magazine. Let’s say parent magazine; so Natural Parent Magazine, Today’s Parent Magazine. So you can target those people that are looking for those magazines or who have interest in those magazines. Makes sense?
Behaviour; you can go in here and say okay, I want somebody who is as a company, industry, seniority, charitable donations, job roles. I didn’t show you guys this.
You can go with relationship, in a relationship, relationship status. So, let’s go with complicated; let’s go with married. Got it?
And you can go with education, you can go with finance, net worth, home; do they own a home, do they not own a home. So, let’s say home ownership, home owners, parents. Actually, you can just go moms. That’s interesting. Strict that out. Take all these out.
160,000 people. Can you see how I’m doing that? So, that’s a good audience. 160,000; if you want to get more to find, you are more than welcome to, but you can see why a dentist in San Diego would want to market to mothers, who are 30 years and older and then they can run their ad. So, once you have your target audience defined, all you do is click there, create you audience, and then you can create an ad; a very customized ad asking those mothers to come in. Now, I hope you can see the benefit over running some type of print ad or yellow page ad; is just you can be so much more targeted. And that’s where your audience is. Think of how many mothers are on Instagram in the night. My wife, all her friends, that’s what they use. They use Instagram. So, the nice thing is Facebook bought Instagram, so you can run Instagram ads through your Facebook page, or through your Facebook ad manager. Got it?
So, of you guys have any questions about this… But that is the power behind Facebook and Instagram; you are just able to target an audience and put an ad in front of them. Now, this is not near as qualified as a typical search ad. You still want to be ranked on SEO. You still want to be at the top of search engines just because when somebody’s searching for it, they are more likely to buy. But Facebook and Instagram are a little bit different due to the fact that you are just putting it out there in front of them. So, if they have a need for a dentist or orthodontist, they’re going to see that ad and be like hey, what’s going on, especially if you make some type of offer. Get them to click on your website. Once they’ve clicked on your website, you can even go further. You can run a different ad to them. You can retarget them.
There is a lot of capabilities with Facebook with custom audiences. Though if you’d like, you can come into here and say I want to create a new custom audience. Anyone who’s come to my website- You can create an audience of visitors to your website. You can also go in here to customer list and import all of your customers. So, if you have a customer list of say 5000 people that have come to your practice over the last 10 years or something, whatever, you can take your list, upload it into Facebook. It’ll track all of their accounts. Then, you can start running them ads. So, instead of sending people out a birthday letter or anything like that, you might want to try to send them some Facebook ads. And you can get real creative; you can run a specific ad to somebody to get him to come back in; a lot of things you can do. Got it?
So, that’s just a few capabilities. If you have questions let us know. You can go over to marketinghy.com or ydraw.com if you’re looking for a video. Ydraw.com Email me, call me; let me know if you have questions. We would love to help. We do have a three-day trial, or a seven-day trial period going on. If you’d like us to set up your Facebook and Instagram ads, we will do that. We’re only taken one dentist, one orthodontist per city. So if you’d like us to do that, let us know, but there you have it. Short and sweet. Talk to you guys later.