Instagram, first made its debut to the world of social media in 2010 and has continued to grow exponentially since.  Today, Instagram sees over 700 million monthly active Instagram users, that’s twice the size of the entire United States population. Like any social platform, what once started as a way for friends to share photos of their lives with others has now evolved into a vast community of users, business accounts, and advertisements.

We often get asked by our clients what platforms they should be focusing their paid and organic efforts on- the answer we give them is usually ‘it depends’. There are advantages and disadvantages to every social platform and Instagram is no different. In this post, we hope to give you a better perspective if Instagram is right for your business.

Instagram Advertising Benefits & Advantages

Visuals Are Everything:

One thing 2017 taught us so far is that consumers need engaging content more than ever. Why is that? Well researchers claim visual content is processed 60K times faster by the brain than test, making it easier for people to connect with photos and videos rather than lengthy text posts.

It used to be easy to create a simple ad with a photo and see engagements rates double or triple, but times have changed. In today’s social environment, sharing quality photos and video are essential to successful social campaigns. A major benefit of advertising on Instagram is the ability to easily share beautiful content with consumers and followers on a platform designed for sharing that type of content. There isn’t a lot of special tools needed to design Instagram ads or organic posts, which make this platform for brands who don’t have a large creative budget or resources.

instagram ad

The Power of the Hashtag

Although the hashtag may have originated on Twitter, Instagram has breathed new life into the symbol and the way people use it. People use hashtags on Instagram to share their photos to gain fame and followers, find new people/brands to follow, and engage in content that they are interested in. According to Hootsuite, posts with at least one hashtag average 12.6% more engagement on Instagram than those without.  Using the right hashtag(s) can help consumers discover your brand and gain new exposure. Instagram can be a great place to launch and monitor marketing campaigns containing custom hashtags or to see how your customers are interacting with your products and services.

Best of Both Worlds

There’s no denying that Snapchat has taken over the social world by storm in the last year, but Instagram has managed to incorporate some of the best things of other networks into their own platform. Take stories for example, Snapchat may have first pioneered the vanishing after 24 photo/video concept, but Instagram has taken it to a new and improved level. As of April of 2017, Instagram story daily users surpassed the Snapchat’s story users by over 50 million. Businesses can use paid and organic story posting to share a broader level of content with followers. Plus, Instagram users, including business pages, can now go live on their story which is an easy way to make announcements, show behind the scenes content, or just demo products and services. Instagram works well for businesses who have a lot of visual content to share and enjoy coming up with unique ways to make and share that content.

instagram stories

Reach Your People

The last, and arguably most important benefit to using paid ads on Instagram is the targeting capabilities that come along with the platform.  Facebook bought out Instagram in 2012 and have continued to expand and improve the targeting options advertisers have when it comes to the popular Instagram placements. Getting your content in front of the right people is the most important piece to running a successful and profitable marketing campaign. You can target by specific interests and behaviors related to your product or industry, or create a look-a-like audience based on your existing customers.  If there’s a particular segment you are trying to reach, chances are you will be able to hit them on Instagram.

Instagram Advertising Downfalls

If you’ve made it this far, you are probably wondering what Instagram can’t do. Although there are many great advantages to be had on Instagram, there are a few disadvantages or limitations that might be a deal breaker for your business.

Mobile, Mobile, Mobile

Although many see advertising to people on their smartphones advantageous, it doesn’t work for every brand. Instagram is primarily a mobile app, leaving no room to reach desktop users with content or ads. If you are targeting an audience who may skew more heavily to desktop usage, Instagram isn’t the place for you. Because Instagram users are on mobile devices, you also need to make sure your landing pages and website are all mobile friendly and optimized for that type of traffic.

Quality and Quantity

Twitter requires quantity, where Facebook leans more heavily on quality, and Instagram requires a marriage between the two. To be successful on Instagram, both organically and paid, you need to keep content fresh and frequent. People will easily forget or ignore an ad that they see too often in their feed, so it takes a large amount of planning and creating to keep up with the demands that Instagram presents. If you don’t have the time or resources to effectively create and keep up to date on posting new content, Instagram may not be the best place for your business to be.

target instagram

The Choice Is Yours

Ultimately, the decision to advertise or manage a business profile on Instagram is up to you. We always tell clients that it is better to do one or two things really well, rather than half-heartedly dip your hands into everything. Instagram is great for businesses who want to showcase their products or services visually and has proven that users are still active engaging with paid content that they like and can relate to.

If you are not sure where to start or have questions about Instagram (or any other social media platform) we would be happy to help! Interested in learning more about social media advertising? Check out our whitepaper below.