Everybody loves Instagram! It quickly gained popularity in 2010 when it was released for iOS. Nine years and several updates later, Instagram is now owned by Facebook with an estimated user count of around 1 billion monthly active users. As advertisers, this platform is too big for us not to utilize. Instagram’s business account feature was launched in May 2016 and is a nifty way of marketing your business.
What’s so special about Instagram business accounts?
Marketers have access to a large variety of audiences, just like Facebook, so you can promote pretty much any business on Instagram. Best of all, starting an Instagram business account is practically effortless; you can sign up for free with your email or phone number, just as you would for a personal account. The mode of operation is very similar to that of a Facebook business page with affordable marketing campaigns and transparent insight dashboards.
Now, let’s talk about the numbers. There are around 25 million business profiles with 2 million active advertisers on Instagram. According to the Instagram official website, around 60% of its users claim to find new products on this platform. It also says that over 200 million Instagram users visit business profiles per day. One in three of the stories with most views belongs to business profiles. These are some pretty impressive figures and it’s safe to say that the Instagram business account feature is too big not to be utilized.
Most users now use mobile platforms to use social media, and Instagram is arguably one of the best apps optimized for mobile users. This makes Instagram marketing more effective, increasing the chances of your campaign reaching its full potential on Instagram.
It’s also worth noting that you don’t have to create a special account if you use Instagram purely for business; you can convert your existing personal profile to a business account.
What can you do with an Instagram business account?
All of your business’ information can be updated on your profile including the year of inception, location, working hours and contact information. You can get detailed information about how users react and engage with your posts. For promoted posts, you can get instant updates and metrics as well. According to the nature of your posts, you can select a particular age group and specifically target their profiles to boost your post. You can also set the time period and budget of your campaign.
Setting up a business account on Instagram is not only easy but it’s also free of cost. At present, a Facebook page is required to start an Instagram business page, so make sure you have an active Facebook page!
Here’s our helpful infographic to take you through all you need to know about Instagram business accounts and how to create an effective strategy!
Here’s a list of all the ads you can run with an Instagram business account, and some tips for maximum reach.
The simplest and sometimes the most powerful way of advertising your business is an image. Instagram crops your image to a square (aspect ratio 1:1) when it is displayed on the feed, but you can also add it as a landscape or portrait image. Either landscape, square or portrait will do, but images are better viewed as a square on a mobile platform. You can always crop your images manually according to the design of your ad image. Here are some specifications for an image ad, whose format should be .jpg:
Square (1:1 aspect ratio):
- 600×600 pixels (minimum)
- 1936×1936 pixels (maximum)
Landscape (1.91:1 aspect ratio):
- 600×315 pixels (minimum)
- 1936×1936 pixels (maximum)
Portrait (4:5 aspect ratio):
- 600×750 pixels (minimum)
- 1936×1936 pixels (maximum)
Instagram allows you to add alt text to your image, which means you can add an extra description for those who can’t see the image. It won’t instantly boost your post, but it’s a good practice to add alt text to your image as they’ll rank better by the app’s built-in search engine.
Video ads are more likely to reach a wider audience since more weight is given to video content on Instagram feeds. The maximum length allowed is 120 seconds, and you better make it count! Like images, video ads play in 1:1 aspect ratio by default while landscape and portrait are also supported. Here are the basic specifications:
- File Size: up to 4GB
- Length: 120 seconds
- Caption Length: 2200 characters
- Aspect Ratio:
- Square – 1:1
- Landscape – 1.91:1
- Portrait – 4:5
Stories are the new big thing everywhere, and it’s a great way to market your business. Stories make full use of a mobile screen, giving you more design space to utilize. Stories work best when uploaded in portrait (9:16 aspect ratio). A story can be an image which stays on screen for 5 seconds or video which plays for 15 seconds. Here are some basic specifications for an Instagram story:
- Aspect Ratio: from 1:91 to 4:5
- File type:
.mp4 or .mov (Video)
.jpg or .png (Photo)
- Maximum File Size:
Maximum: 15 seconds
Images show for 5 seconds by default
Resolution: 1080 x 1920 (portrait)
Minimum: 600 x 1067
- Supported Codecs
Video: H.264, VoP8
Audio: AAC, Vorbis
Since stories are only viewable for a short amount of time, make sure your story image is captivating at the very first glance. And most importantly, don’t add too much text because most viewers won’t bother to tap and hold the screen to read your content. For video stories, try to focus on a single aspect of your business and make a video out of it, rather than packing too much information into a single video. With stories, you can be very creative as they play in series. You can create an array of stories, each one pointing to the next, creating a sense of suspense in the minds of your viewers.
Collection ads practically turn your page into an online shopping portal; it’s the best choice when your business has multiple products to showcase. A collection ad includes a cover image or video along with a number of product images. If a user clicks on it, they’ll land on a full-screen experience called Instant Experience, also known as Canvas, where they can browse through each and every product of your company. You can also add product prices and descriptions, too.
The aspect ratio of the cover image of a Collection ad should be 1:1 or 16:9, and the maximum characters allowed for text description is 90. The formats and dimensions are the same as those of a standard image or video ad.
You can add more than one image or video in a single post with carousel ads. The users can swipe through each of the images, and carousel ads can link to your facebook page or website directly using a “Learn More” button. It’s very useful when you have a series of services to showcase. As a story, you can use successive carousel cards to make a long image ad. Make sure you have plenty of good images before starting a carousel ad! These are the specifications:
- Minimum number of carousel cards: 2
- Maximum number of carousel cards: 10 successive carousel cards
- Aspect ratio: 1:1 (recommended)
- Resolution: 1080 x 1080 pixels (recommended)
- Image file format: .jpg and .png
- Image maximum file size: 30MB
- Video length: up to 240 minutes (15 seconds recommended)
- Video file format: .mp4
- Video maximum file size: 4GB
Using Paid Promotions
Paid promotions on Instagram is very cost effective. With the “promote” option on your post, you will go through the following steps:
- Decide where to post: You can promote your post on your profile, your website, your storefront or you can send your post as a direct message to all your contacts.
- Select Target Audience: Based on the nature of your post, it should have a target audience. Instagram will select it for you automatically according to your followers, or you can select the audience manually. You can select the location, age group, gender and interests of your potential audience and make your post reach people specifically based on your selection. It’s better to choose your audience manually based on the content and intention of each of your posts.
- Set your budget: You can set the total number of days the campaign will run along with the budget per day. Instagram also shows you a rough estimate your post would reach with your selected budget. Obviously more budget leads to more reach, but you can choose your budget wisely to run a cost-effective campaign. For example, if your account is a news page then it’s useless to opt a long-running campaign. Rather, your news should reach a large number of people as quickly as possible. It all depends on the relevance and content of the message you want to convey.
Bonus tips for your Instagram Ads
Always choose an objective: No matter what kind of ad you are using for your campaign, you should have a clear objective. On Instagram, there are primarily three objective concepts – Awareness, Consideration and Conversion. While awareness deals with increasing the reach of your page by frequent and catchy ads, consideration is more like building potential customers by letting them know what your products and services are, in detail. Conversion is aimed at sales, app downloads and visitors to your local shops.
It’s better to design your ad based on your objective. For example, if you are a digital media company, feed and story ads might be the best option for you. You can use collection ads if you provide online shopping and carousel ads if you want to display various designs provided by your fashion design company. Obviously, you can go crazy with ads but it’s always recommended to design your ads based on the objective of your business.
Design your ads for mobile: As mentioned earlier, Instagram is primarily a mobile app so it’s better to use the vertical space of a mobile screen. Portrait and square images or videos are viewed better on Instagram. Make use of the full-screen experience they provide by selecting a number of images and videos.
Use the description field wisely: URLs are not clickable from your ad’s description, so it’s best to avoid using URLs in the text description and put the 2200 character space to better use.
Don’t forget to use hashtags: Hashtags are very powerful on Instagram, and your posts become visible to viewers based on hashtag searches. Make sure you use trending, accurate and readable hashtags to increase the visibility of your posts.
Be consistent with your engagement: Instagram feeds work on an algorithm which is a blend of relevance and freshness. Feeds always show most recent posts, so always remember to post at regular intervals.
Check the post insights regularly: Make sure you check the post insights regularly. That way, you can see the total reach of your posts and number of engagements on them. Insights provide you with clear, useful, insights on which of your posts are liked more by your audience which enables you to plan your future posts and campaigns accordingly.
Easy integration with your Facebook business account is one of the greatest advantages. The pages you post on your Instagram pages can be duplicated to your Facebook wall with just one click, saving you a ton of time. Instagram is a very powerful social media platform and its marketing potential is just too much to be unused. With the right posts, right campaigns and an active account, Instagram marketing will give you the extra boost that you needed for the marketing of your business.