Instagram Ads for your Small Business

Beloved photo-sharing app, Instagram, announced a few days ago that advertising for businesses of all sizes was now available in Hong Kong and Asia. What does this mean for your small business? Should you look into Instagram ads? Here are a few things to consider.

Instagram Ads 101

There are currently three different kinds of Instagram ads – Image Ads, Video Ads, and Carousel Ads. They’re pretty straight forward with Image Ads featuring one image, Video Ads featuring a video, and Carousel Ads featuring multiple images that rotate. They all live within the typical Instagram post layout that comes with a caption, and the ability for users to to like and comment. Users will know it’s an ad from a an icon saying “Sponsored” at the top right.

Three Types of Instagram Ads

On top of asking people to engage with the Instagram content, follow your brand on Instagram, or click a link to learn more, Instagram is also adding a direct response call to action. Their full list of actions they support includes:

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  • Watch More
  • Book Now
  • Contact Us
  • Download
  • Learn More

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  • Shop Now
  • Sign Up
  • Install Now
  • Use App
  • Listen Now

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  • Play Game
  • Sign Up
  • Watch Video



For small businesses who may not be spending big bucks, ads can be created, purchased and managed through Facebook’s self-service ad platform, called Power Editor. For businesses looking to spend more and work in partnership with the Instagram sales team, ads can be managed through Instagram’s ad API.

What marketing objectives are Instagram Ads are good for?

On Instagram’s site, they provide four performance metrics that they believe their ads would hit – Clicks to Website, Video Views, Mobile App Installs, and Mass Awareness. The Mass Awareness metric has a caveat that shows this is a metric best suited for large ad spends through working with their sales team, meaning this probably wouldn’t be a plausible solution for small businesses.

Instagram Advertising Objectives

Should I use Instagram Ads for my small business advertising?

Here are a few things to think about when considering whether to add Instagram ads to your advertising budget:

  1. Are your customers medium to heavy Instagram users? If you know you can reach your target customers through Instagram because they use it often, then you may want to consider adding a full Instagram strategy to your marketing mix. In the United States, Instagram users tend to be between 18-29, from Urban areas. (Study: Pew Research Center).
  2. Do you have an Instagram account and strategy? It’s not enough to merely have opened an Instagram account to start advertising. You need to build credibility and value on that account with content. Good, relevant content. I’d recommend populating your account with at least 12 photos before starting any advertising, and continuing with at least 2 photos a week. There are many other aspects to an Instagram strategy, such as the use of hashtags and location tags, but at minimum, having good content that offers value to your audience will keep them interested in what you have to show them.
  3. What are your advertising goals? Whether you are looking for clicks, for followers, for video views, or for a conversion to a call to action, make sure you set your budget according to what numbers you’d like to hit and tailor your content likewise. Having a tiny budget may not help you hit a huge goal that you’ve set for yourself. Remember that many times it takes multiple views of your brand across different touchpoints before a user may acknowledge or even remember you.

Creating Instagram Ads

Facebook (who owns Instagram) has provided an advertising guide for the different Instagram ads. Take a look:

Clicks to Website: Instagram Links

App Installs: Instagram Mobile App (I don’t think they named this ad type well. This seems to be more of a general Call to Action ad)

Instagram Video Views

Ads can be targeted in the same way that Facebook Ads can be targeted – by demographics, location, interests, actions and more.

Help Me With Instagram Strategy and Instagram Ads

Here at First Days Digital, we believe that social media advertising can only act as a support to a sound social media strategy. This includes understanding how to deliver value to your audience as well as community management (i.e., the ongoing management of an Instagram Profile). If you’d like to learn more about social media marketing and advertising, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We look forward to hearing from you!

Images courtesy of Instagram (

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