Issue #16

The first step to creating Instagram ads

Ads and Sponsorships Social Media
6 min read
In this Article

While Facebook may still hold the biggest audience for many online creators, Instagram has become one of the more favored social media sites to advertise on. And this can be associated with the rise of the Instagram influencer.

Whether it’s their perfectly poised pictures, their thought-provoking posts, or their honest, behind the scenes stories, Instagram influencers are completely changing the marketing landscape. Instead of creating their own instagram ads, business are looking to these influencers to create their ads for them. There are two main reasons why:

Users are looking for inspiration

Unlike other social media platforms where users are primarily looking for information or a silly video from a friend, Instagram users are going to the platform for inspiration and to find and connect with new brands, products, and people.

People buy from people

Millennials, the core demographic using Instagram, grew up with a sense of “individualism” and want to find and buy from people and brands who they relate to. They are more likely to buy from a brand or take a look at a product that is recommended from someone they TRUST and who has similar interests and values.

As a creator, you can capitalize on this movement to Instagram by creating ads that hit on these two aspects. But before you start to think about images, captions, and comments, you first job is get in front of the right audience.

How to create an Instagram profile that interests the right audience

The first step to finding the right audience is creating an Instagram profile that will draw that audience in. These four steps will help you grow your following in a dedicated manner.

How to create instagram profile-businessCreate an Instagram business account or convert your current personal account into a business account

Having a business account instead of a personal account gives you access to additional insights and features. Through insights you’re able to:

  • View profile visits
  • View website clicks
  • View engagements
  • Learn more about your followers

It is also a way to verify your account stats when working with future partners. By having a business account, you’re also able to have a call to action on your account such as “email” or “call”, and most importantly for e-commerce businesses, it allows you to have shoppable pins!

How to create instagram profile-hashtagsUse hashtags your ideal customer/client uses

Hashtag research is especially important to help new potential customers and clients find you. Think of other brands or products your ideal customer would follow and look at the hashtags they are using in their posts as well as the hashtags their followers are using.

How to create instagram profile-storiesLeverage stories

More people use Instagram stories than Snapchat. When using stories for your business, use hashtags and location tags to help you be found by more people.

How to create instagram profile-engageEngage with your audience

Too often brands and businesses use social media to only promote what they have to offer. Instead view Instagram as a way to connect and engage your audience. Use it as a tool for them to like, know, and trust you.

7 instagram ad audience targeting tips

Instagram is a great place to promote your content, products, and offers, but you won’t get the most out of it if you’re not reaching the right audience, and getting in front of the right audience can be more difficult than you think.

Here are seven tips to help you maximize your dollars and find your ideal customer/client on “the gram”.

Audience targeting tips for Instagram-profitable-ad-managerUse Ads Manager

When running Instagram ads (or Facebook ads), you’re going to want to use Ads Manager instead of promoting posts directly from your account because:

  • You can optimize for things other than engagements like traffic to your website and conversions
  • You have more targeting behavior, interest, look-a-like, and custom audience options.

Audience targeting tips for Instagram-profitable-focusFocus on your most profitable audiences

If you have a small budget, start out by focusing on your warm audiences– those who have raised their hand in some way and said they are interested in what you have to offer. These include:

  • Your current and past customers
  • Your email list
  • Website visitors
  • People who have engaged with your account

Since these audiences have already showed interest in you, it is going to be a lot easier to get them to convert into a sale or customer.

Audience targeting tips for Instagram-niche downNiche down

This is a big issue with most businesses. If you have a food blog, your target audience can’t just be anyone who likes to eat. You need to be specific about who you are going after such as vegans, moms with young children, followers of paleo, etc.

If you are too broad then you are going to waste your money because those who see your ads are probably not going to be motivated to take action since it doesn’t resonate directly with them.

Audience targeting tips for Instagram-retentionShift your focus from acquisition to retention

This goes back to focusing on your most profitable audiences. It costs A LOT more to acquire a new customer than to get a past customer to purchase from you again or a current client to purchase an additional service. Shift your primary focus from acquisition to retention and you’ll see sales come in a lot more quickly if you’re providing a great product or service.

Audience targeting tips for Instagram-combinationsTest different combinations of interests and behaviors

If you do have the resources to run ads beyond your most profitable audiences, test different combinations of interests and behaviors. Often times even though you’re trying to reach a specific audience, different combinations of interests and behaviors will give you substantially different results.

When choosing behaviors and interests, think about other brands your ideal customer would follow, and demographics like age, income, and education.

Audience targeting tips for Instagram-exclude-audiencesDon’t forget to EXCLUDE audiences too

Yes, that’s right. In order to find your ideal customers/clients, you may want to exclude specific interests and behaviors. For example, if you’re a wedding photographer, you’d want to EXCLUDE those who are already married.

Audience targeting tips for Instagram-look-a-likeBuild look-a-like audiences

Within Ads Manager, you can build something called a look-a-like audience off of audiences that are unique to you such as your email list or website traffic. By building a look-a-like audience, Facebook (owner of Instagram) will find new people who have similar traits as the audience it is being built from.

The importance of the right audience for your Instagram ads

It is often your targeting that increases your costs and is the culprit behind not being happy with your results, not your ad or content. So next time you’re running a promotion, spend the same amount of time or more, selecting the audience as you do choosing the perfect image and writing the caption to go with it.

More tips on how to use Facebook and Instagram ads to grow your business can be found at

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Anna Konchar

Anna Konchar is the owner of Advisori, a marketing firm with a mission to make marketing expertise accessible to businesses of all sizes. Anna has placed over $15 million in advertising, including over $1 million on Facebook + Instagram, and has experience with e-commerce, infopreneurs, local brick and mortars, B2B, CPG, finance, healthcare, insurance, political candidates, non-profits and service based businesses.

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