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If you’ve been using Instagram for a while, you’ve probably noticed advertisements from businesses popping up on your feed – and you may be thinking that using Instagram ads is the next step for your business. Instagram can be a great advertising platform, allowing you to not only grow your brand through visual organic content, but also allowing you to run ads that can increase the number of eyes that see your posts. Instagram ads help to drive traffic to your website and increase brand awareness.
However, there are cons to advertising on Instagram as well, especially when compared to advertising on its big sister platform, Facebook. Instagram ads are less sophisticated than Facebook’s, and linking on Instagram has been shown to be less effective than on Facebook. Instagram’s user base is more limited, which can make it a less productive platform for advertising than Facebook.
Weighing the pros and cons of advertising on Instagram is important before your business makes the leap into Instagram advertising. Read on to see how we unpack the different sides of Instagram advertising to help you make an informed decision for your business.
Pros of Instagram Advertising
1. Instagram Ads Drive Traffic to Your Website
Unlike regular, organic Instagram posts, Instagram ads allow your business to include clickable links as part of a promoted posts. This is a key reason to consider advertising on Instagram. The ability to include a call-to-action with a link in an advertised post is immensely helpful in driving traffic to a your business’s website. Posts that are not boosted as advertisements do not have this ability.
2. Instagram Ads Increase Visibility
The biggest struggle any business has with social media marketing is breaking through the noise of millions of posts to be seen. Pay to play is the quickest and most effective way to do this. It’s imperative that you create compelling Instagram posts that will make people want to follow you and engage. Just because you are paying to get into your target audience’s feed with your post does not mean you will be followed or that people will engage with you. It takes a lot of creativity and commitment to curating an amazing Instagram feed to build an audiences and get the engagement you desire. Instagram ads will help you get there by ensuring people see your posts.
3. Instagram Ads Increase Brand Awareness
When you boost an Instagram post as an advertisement, the post will appear in the newsfeed of your target audience without seeming too out of place or disruptive. If you’re advertising using an Instagram story, the advertisement will automatically be placed in between stories when a user is watching the stories of users they follow. These unobtrusive ads can greatly increase brand awareness for your business.
Just like advertising on Facebook, your business can set its own budget, audience, and duration for an Instagram ad. When you build your audience you can set the demographics such as age range, gender, location, and interests. This allows you to show your ads to a targeted audience and reach the individuals who have the highest chance of being interested in what you are advertising.
4. Instagram Offers Options in Advertising
Another pro of advertising on Instagram is that businesses can use their Facebook Ads Manager account to set up ads on Instagram. Facebook Ads is the most sophisticated social media ad platform available, and Instagram ads are strengthened by piggybacking off of Facebook Ads. Instagram offers the ability to advertise based on goals such as driving link clicks, visits to your business’s Instagram profile, and increasing visibility.
Instagram ads also offer different options for advertisements. Businesses are able to promote videos, individual photos, or multi-photo carousel ads. Advertising within Instagram stories is also an option! Instagram is continually rolling out new features, so the options for advertising on the app will continue to increase over time.
Cons of Instagram Advertising
1. Instagram Links Are Less Effective Than Facebook Links
Instagram is not a click-friendly platform as it does not allow users to place a clickable link in their post. This means that the billion people who use Instagram don’t ever expect to click, but just double tap to show they like the posts they see.
By boosting a post, a business can add a link into the post. This is a huge perk for businesses who want to drive traffic to their websites. But our studies show that currently link clicks are less popular on Instagram than on Facebook. Instagram users tend to scroll through their feed, double-tap to like a post, and move on. The visual nature of Instagram, while helpful in many ways, becomes a double-edged sword when you consider how easy it is to see and like an Instagram photo without reading the caption. Even though advertising on Instagram allows you to place clickable links, those links are less likely to be used than ones placed in an advertisement on Facebook. If your goal is to drive traffic to your website you should test Instagram ads with Facebook ads to see where you have the most success.
2. Instagram Has a Limited Audience
Instagram is a widely-used platform, with over one billion active monthly users – which can be looked at as a reason to advertise on Instagram. Why not, when so many people are on the platform engaging, right? Perhaps, but it is important to look a bit further into the data. Even though Instagram has a huge user-base, the vast majority of these users are between the ages of 18 – 29. This is great if you are a brand looking to engage with young people.
But brands targeting an older audience might be hesitant to invest in Instagram advertisements, as the reality is that many of their potential customers are not using the app, at least not actively. These businesses may find it more worth their while to invest more time and resources in advertising on other platforms, like Facebook. Our advice is to test Instagram ads and see if you get the best results reaching your target audience by comparing to similar ads placed on Facebook or other platforms.
3. Instagram Ad Features Are Less Advanced
Advertising on Instagram is pretty straight-forward, which makes it easy – this is a pro, right? Not always, as the flip-side of this is that the more simple Instagram ads don’t have all the capabilities of Facebook ads. With Facebook, you can set up a Like ad campaign that will build your page followers directly – there is no such option on Instagram. Facebook ads also allow for more detailed targeting than Instagram ads do.
Although your business can use Facebook Ads Manager for Instagram advertising, the options of what can be done on Instagram are more limited than Facebook at this time. Instagram ads can still be helpful and effective – just maybe not as much as an advertisement on Facebook. So, once again, you’re left considering if maybe your business is better off focusing its energy on other ad platforms.
Deciding on whether or not you want to use Instagram ads can seem like a daunting task given the pros and cons. Our advice is to review the Instagram ads platform and if you feel it may suit your goals, give it a try. Testing is the best way to know if a social media ads platform works for your business goals. Regardless of any list of pros or cons the only real way to know if a platform is for you is try it out. Have fun!