Instagram is a photo and video sharing social media platform with more than 1 billion users, among which 90% of users follow business accounts. Evidently, people are willing to interact with businesses on Instagram and is a common means to get updates from companies. All Instagram accounts can advertise on Instagram once they their accounts are converted to business accounts. As Instagram is the sister company of Facebook, you can use the Facebook advertising tool Ads manager to create and manage ads across platforms.






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Instagram Advertising Formats

In Feed Ads: Instagram feeds are usually where people see posts and updates of other users and accounts in forms of images or videos. In feed ads are in the format of images or videos which would appear among the posts and blends in to look more natural so users will be more accepting of them; they appear as ordinary posts but has call-to-action buttons and the word “Sponsored” written under the brand name. Captions can be used to give description to your product. In feed images or videos must be in 1:1 ratio.

Story Ads: Stories are an interactive feature on Instagram which can be utilised for advertisements, giving users a full-screen experience and other features or buttons to react with. It also has a myriad of exclusive features such as filters, question stickers, text overlay, and polls, bringing more to the table than the usual like and comment. They expire after 24 hours and only appears for a few seconds before skipping to the next, it therefore encourages users to make quick decisions when seeing story ads and have higher click-through rates than in feed ads; It is best to add call-to-action buttons to bring users to a designated landing page. Story ads can be in image or video forms. 

Reel Ads: Reels are the newest addition to Instagram as a platform for people to create short entertaining videos. It gives viewers a complete full-screen experience and the ability to like, comment, save and share these less than 30 seconds long videos. Reel ads would be added between organic reels and automatically plays once the previous reel has been played. Call-to-action buttons can be inserted on reel ads to bring users to a designated website. While audios or songs are not compulsory, it can give the best results since users can use your audio in their own reels and further promote your brand.

Carousel Ads: There are usually multiple products you want to advertise at once but creating an advertisement for each product is too inefficient and cramping everything into one image seems too crowded; carousel ads allow you to put two to ten images in one advertisement in a gallery format so users can view different products at once by swiping on their phone. Carousel ads can be put in both stories and in feeds with a maximum of 10 images or videos, each with their own links. Carousel ads in stories would show one, two or three cards to users according to the viewers’ behaviour, then they would be given the option to “expand story” to view the rest of the carousel ad. In feed carousel ads look like regular in feed ads, the only difference being the multiple images or videos.

Collection Ads: Collection ads on Instagram appears in feeds and stories of users, with one larger cover photo or video and three smaller product images. When users click into a collection ad in their feed or swipes up to “shop now”, it takes them to a full-screen experience of other products you have in your collection so that the audience can grasp a better concept of what products you provide or immediately buy products they are interested in. Since the cover photo or video is the first, biggest thing your audience would see, it is crucial to put eye-catching advertisements as the cover.

Instagram Advertising Cost

In Feed Ads: in feed ads in Instagram can be measured by either CPC (cost-per-click) or CPM (cost-per-mil). The average CPC for in feed ads, including image and video ads would be USD $0.2-$2 (HKD $1.56-15.58) and the average CPM would be USD $5- $6.07. (HKD $38.94- $47.27)

Story Ads: The average CPC for story advertisements on Instagram in 2019 to 2020 would be around USD $0.39- $0.48 (HKD $3.04-3.74). Cost-per-acquisition is the cost on advertising to acquire a paying customer. It is not commonly used to calculate the cost of Instagram ads but can be used to monitor the result of the advertisements. The average CPA for story ads is usually USD $15 (HKD $116.82).

Benefits to Instagram Advertising

  1. Instagram has a high engagement rate. The median of the engagement of Instagram advertisements is 0.98%, though it seems like a small number, users that would engage with a post is larger than imagined considering there is 1.2 billion monthly active users on Instagram. According to Instagram, 87% of people were motivated to take action after seeing advertisements on their feed or stories. 
  2. Non-intrusive advertisements. As mentioned above, Instagram advertisements, either in feed ads, story ads, or reel ads all seamlessly appear among organic content such that the advertisements would not give a foreign feeling to the users or give them a feeling of being taken away from their usual content. Therefore, users would feel more comfortable seeing the advertisements.
  3. Interactive features. Instagram provides a lot of interactive features you could integrate into your advertisement, not only would it be more appealing to users it can also encourage them to have different actions when seeing your advertisement. For in feed ads there are hashtags users can search and follow, for stories there are filters, songs, stickers specifically created for the campaign that viewers could use on their own. For reel advertisements, although it is relatively new, people can use your original audio and add their own video to it, successfully helping you promote your content to their followers.