How to advertise on Instagram? | Articles

A picture says more than a 1000 words. Let this point out the value and unicity of the brand-new online advertising channel, Instagram. Instagram advertising was launched the 30th of September in Belgium. With Facebook being an extremely popular and effective medium with a very broad range of targeting possibilities, many advertisers were thrilled with the announcement of Instagram advertising coming to Belgium.

Besides that, online mobile traffic keeps increasing, which the graph below, fetched with our in-house Howwebrowse tool, clearly displays. Howwebrowse measures and daily updates the internet usage in Belgium. This makes Instagram, one of the world’s largest mobile ad platforms, a perfect way to reach your audience on-the-go.


Advantages of advertising on Instagram

There are 1.2 million monthly and 720 thousand daily users on Instagram in Belgium. The largest Instagram population is between 18-24 years old, but also 25-34 and 13-17 year-olds are active Instagram users. Teenagers are more and more using Instagram, while their Facebook usage shrinks.

This opens up a whole new world for brands, who want to visually inspire a young target audience in a very creative way. It makes you a part of their idyllic world, on the condition that your ads are well implemented and customized to Instagram as a unique social medium and its active users.

With all the online existing clutter, this new creative approach makes brands really stand out from the crowd. Furthermore it lets you communicate a message and shape your brand image, while driving brand impact. According to Instagram campaign tests, 97% of those campaigns generated a significant lift in ad recall. Other case studies show big and very positive brand impact. Besides brand/campaign/product awareness, some see an uplift in sales, app installs and have a better ROAS.

If you’re already using Facebook advertising, an additional benefit is that there is no new platform to learn how to use. You can simply select Instagram in the placement options within Facebook Business Manager. This makes it very easy and quick to start using Instagram ads, especially for people who already advertise on Facebook.

Finally, since this is a fairly new advertising medium, CPC is still quite low, as not many advertisers are using this online channel yet. Reason the more to start considering to use this promising advertising channel!

How to rock it on Instagram?

What do you stand for? What is your story? These are the first questions you should ask to yourself when you want to get started with Instagram advertising. Think conceptually. It is all about creativity. Instagram users are triggered and inspired by people (and brands) who share the same passion. They don’t look for purely commercial messages on this medium. Very important is to first of all think of an appropriate branding strategy that’s integrated in your global plan and attributes to a strong brand image that’s consistent cross-channel.

8 tips to score with Instagram ads:

  1. Creative brand logo presence: Simply putting the logo in the corner of the ad won’t do the job. Integrating your brand in an interesting, slightly subtle, and creative way is a must.
  2. Minimize caption length & text overlay: Take into account that there is a character limit for Instagram ad captions. You can use max. 300 characters (including hashtags, mentions, and spaces). Besides this, text in the image itself cannot cover more than 20% of your image, which also applies for Facebook ads.
  3. Design with the objective in mind: Brief the creative designer based on your customized content strategy (/plan), where is specified what message you want to tell, when you want to tell it and to whom it is targeted. Several objectives are supported in Instagram. You can either choose to drive clicks to your website, video views, mobile app installs or impressions (mass awareness objective).
  4. Right framing: Think of correct centering and symmetry to create a positive brand impression.
  5. Lighting & detail: Details matter when creating Instagram visuals. Make sure you have high-quality images in order to keep your image professional. You can create certain scenes with different lighting to evoke a specific mood.
  6. Consistency: Consistency is a very important aspect when you think of implementing this new medium in your online marketing plan. Consistency matters when communicating within this medium as well as when communicating via other online channels. Make sure people recognize your brand’s ads on Instagram with a specific tone of voice, with certain kinds of visuals, that trigger certain feelings,...
  7. Build for mobile: Make sure your ads are adjusted to mobile devices. Everything on the picture should be well recognized and zoomed in properly. It should be
  8. Keep people involved afterwards: Post regularly once people start following your brand and make sure to use the right hashtags, so people can easily find you.

Advertising formats & objectives

The available formats on this mobile ad platform are photo, video or carousel ads in either a square or a landscape format. Videos can go up to 30 seconds and are especially interesting for new film or series releases. Notice the dots beneath the last picture, that visualizes the opportunity to swipe to other pictures.


Several objectives are supported. You can either choose to drive clicks to your website, to drive video views, mobile app installs or impressions (mass awareness objective).

How does it differ from Facebook?

Although Instagram uses the same interface and has the same possibilities as when creating Facebook ads in Facebook Business Manager, it is a completely different medium and should therefore be used otherwise. While people on Facebook use this medium more in a private way to interact and stay up-to-date with their friends, Instagram is used by people who are looking for inspiration and people who share the same passion. They do not just follow friends, but follow anyone who can attribute in creating the most user-relevant Instagram News Feed. A sort of fictive ideal world is created while following their idols and brands they love. Notice the bunch of opportunities as a brand to fulfil those needs. When this sinks in, you can really start rocking on Instagram!

On top of that, the user experience is also different. This asks for a different approach in visual creation. While Facebook ads should be well visualized on both Desktop as Mobile, Instagram ads should only take into account the size of a smartphone screen. This implies that the composition and size of visual elements amongst others should be adjusted per channel, while bearing in mind the respective user needs.

Go through the following steps for setting up an Instagram campaign in Facebook’s Power Editor.

  • Create a campaign: Choose your campaign objective here and optionally put a budget limit.
  • Create an ad set: Make one or several ad sets and define your audience here. Select the age, language, gender, interests, behavior,... of your target audience. Daily (or lifetime) budget, ad scheduling, placement and bidding strategy should also be specified here. In the placement section, select Instagram as on following image.


To have an estimation of how large your target group is on Instagram, you can see during this step the Daily Estimated Reach on Instagram at the top on your right. Interesting is to select Facebook placements as well to compare the size of your target audience (your Facebook page fans for example) on Facebook and Instagram. Although this data is not accurate, it can guide you in the right direction when deciding what channel is more suitable for different target groups.


  • Create ads: First of all, connect with your Instagram account. You can also just use your Facebook account, with which your Facebook page name and picture are displayed with your Instagram ad. It is however recommended to link with your Instagram account for best results. Create one or more (image or video) ads or boost a post (promoted post ads). When you create a new ad, you can either choose to advertise with standard ads or multi-product (carousel) ads. There is also the possibility to add call-to-action buttons like ‘Shop Now’, ‘Watch More’, ‘Sign Up’,... Do not forget to select the option to track conversions from your Facebook pixel if you would like to measure conversions originated from this social media channel.

Conclusion: start Instamizing your brand!

In short, this medium is, like Facebook, very interesting for its in-depth targeting possibilities. Furthermore, if you are already used to using Facebook Business Manager, there is nothing new when creating campaigns/ad sets/ads, since this is all possible in the same interface as Facebook. Besides, this medium lets you target a younger population group, among which teenagers, who have become less active on Facebook.

It is however a pity it is not yet possible to target people who use specific hashtags or follow certain people or brands. The latter would be interesting to target followers of big influencers within a certain branch, like people fond of cooking would follow great cooks like Jamie Oliver. This can partly be covered by targeting people who like Jamie Oliver on Facebook in this matter and can therefore increase the relevancy of your ads. There is a possibility that these features on Instagram deploy in the future.

Ultimately, don’t hesitate to look at Instarocking brands or at how your competitors implement their branding strategy on Instagram. Being inspired by other people is after all what Instagram is all about.

Author: Julie Pyck




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