What to Know Before Investing in Instagram Ads

Pile of Photographs

By Erin Minty

Instagram’s 300 million monthly active users have made it the second largest social media platform, pulling it ahead of Twitter, and it’s only getting bigger thanks to its new ad program.

In 2014, a select number of companies debuted ads—which have the same look and feel as organic posts—on the network, with only the highest quality ads displayed. But last week, the Instagram Application Programming Interface (API) finally became available to everyone. Instagram writes on its site that the ads are now “available to businesses of all sizes,” which means that while ads used to cost upwards of $200,000, the new API allows brands without those resources to promote their content. The photo-sharing platform is about to become one of the most successful, and most wanted, marketing platforms on the internet today.

Considering an investment in Instagram ads? Here’s what you should know about their potential:

Involved, Millennial Users

While other social media networks are seeing a plateau in users, Instagram grew 50% in 2014 alone. More users are engaging with Instagram posts more often, which means an ad on Instagram will potentially be more successful than one on Facebook or Twitter. If your company targets Millennial consumers, Instagram is the best place for you: 44% of its users fall between the ages of 18-29. And because millennials in the United States alone have almost $200 billion in annual buying power, that's a demographic to which you’ll want to appeal.

Crowd-Pleasing Promotion

Because Instagram is a visual platform, its ads appear just like any other post and are signaled with a “sponsored” tag at the top, which allows you to advertise subtly to consumers. Like its parent company Facebook, Instagram offers comprehensive ad targeting. Users may block any ads that disinterest them, and the Instagram algorithm will determine whom to target (and whom to avoid) over time.

Higher Ad Recall

Perhaps most importantly, Instagram claims an ad recall 2.8 times higher than any other online advertising platform. Having your ads seen is one thing, but having them remembered is key. Instagram has had great results with this (as seen by the case studies on the Instagram for Business website), so it may be time to think about integrating Instagram ads into your social media marketing process.

What do you think about Instagram ads? Share your thoughts in the comments below. 

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