The Pros and Cons of Instagram Advertising: Should Your Business Use It?

For those looking to promote their business on social media, Instagram is one of the most versatile social media platforms available to business owners and social media marketers alike. With its huge popularity (try 1 million users every months!) and a wide range of features and functions, Instagram is a powerful way to grow your business.

One method that has seen an uptick in popularity is Instagram advertising. Many businesses use Instagram ads to promote both their products and brand. But how effective is Instagram advertising? Is it worth the cost – both money and time-wise?

In this article we take a look at Instagram advertising as a whole. We learn what it is, and the pros and cons of Instagram advertising. We also give you our final thoughts and tell you whether it’s worth using for your business!

So let’s jump right into the colourful world that is Instagram advertising!

What is Instagram Advertising?

Instagram advertising (or Instagram ads) are posts that businesses and brands pay to show them on Instagram. Your ads are shown throughout the app. This includes places like home feeds, the explore page and even on specific features such as Instagram Stories.

All Instagram ads are marked with a ‘sponsored’ tag, letting users know that they are paid advertisements. Despite that, Instagram ads look very natural when done correctly. Additionally, Instagram ads can come in a variety of formats including photos and videos.

Instagram ads are marked with a ‘sponsored’ tag. Source @semrush

Instagram ads work on either a cost-per-click (CPC) or pay-per-impressions (CPM) model. That means that you’ll only be paying when users click on your Instagram ad or see it on their feeds.

Now that we’ve gotten a basic understanding, it’s time to look at the pros and cons of Instagram advertising.

The pros and cons of Instagram advertising

Pro: Cost-effectiveness

Instagram advertising is a low-risk, cost-effective advertising strategy. As we mentioned before, when you use Instagram ads you only pay when users either see or click your ads.

And while there are many factors which will determine how much you pay per click/impression (such as location, industry and ad placement), you’ll find that Instagram advertising is generally affordable.

In fact, the cost for a CPC Instagram ad campaign is roughly around 70c to $1. More competitive industries will garner higher CPC rates. CPM campaigns are generally more expensive, with an average price of $6 for every 1000 impressions.

But considering the high ROI and effectiveness of Instagram ads, the costs are well worth it.

Pro: Laser targeting

Like any good PPC campaign, Instagram advertising gives you the invaluable ability to directly target who you want. That means you can target specific audiences or groups of people based on age, location and even app behaviour.

Why is this so important? Instead of targeting just anybody, you attract the type of people that are the most likely to engage with your business and take actions that you want them to take. This includes things like signing up to a service or buying a product.

To find the most relevant target audiences for your businesses, you’ll need to conduct thorough customer research to discover the type of customers that are most likely to positively respond to your ads. Tools like Instagram Insights can help you do just that!

Pro: Different types of ads

Different strokes for different folks. That is especially true with ad content, where some content will resonate more with different people. Luckily, Instagram provides you with many avenues and formats to create your Instagram ads.

As of writing, Instagram ads can come in 4 forms:

  • Photos: the most straightforward and abundant ad type on Instagram. Photos and images are the core of Instagram and as such will resonate with a large portion of Instagram users. They are easy to create and when done well, can communicate your message very effectively.
  • Videos: a bit of motion and movement can make your ads highly attractive and engaging. While they take a bit more time and effort to create, they can be very effective pieces of ad content. Videos can also be used on Instagram Stories, giving you access to fun features such as stickers and text.
  • Instagram Shopping: launched in 2017, Instagram Shopping allows users to directly shop from your online store on Instagram. You can upload entire collections, display prices and showcase product details on the feature. When combined with stellar product photography, you’ll have your very own shopfront on Instagram!
  • Branded content: with the vast amount of influencers and micro influencers on Instagram, you can reach their audiences by working with them through branded content. Partnering with Influencers and content creators will help you find new customers and generate brand awareness.

Instagram Shopping in action. Source: @inkmeetspaper

Utilising a mix (or all) of these ad types will maximise your campaign’s performance and generate the highest ROI.

Pro: Accessible tracking and reports

One of the most important aspects of all advertising campaigns is being able to track and monitor the campaign’s performance. Doing so allows you to optimise your campaign and make tweaks and changes to ensure you’re always getting high results.

Source: Google

While there are many tools to help you track campaign performance, Instagram has a great set of built-in tools that monitor your ads. These include the aforementioned Instagram Insights, as well as Facebook Ads Manager, which also assist in adjusting budgets and scheduling your ads.

Con: Limited Audience

Amongst all the pros and cons of Instagram advertising, Instagram’s limited audience is an important point of discussion. Even though Instagram has a huge user base, it’s important to note that the majority of them are younger than 34 years of age. To drive this point even further, two-thirds of the entire Instagram population is aged between 18 and 29.

Instagram Australian Demographics 2020. Source: statista

When compared to other social media platforms such as Facebook, this is quite a limited age range for you to target. While most brands are fine with targeting younger audiences, you’ll find it tough if your main demographic falls outside that age range.

Con: Minimal Space for Text

Instagram’s emphasis on visual content and imagery means that there is little room for text and copy. Even though a picture is worth a thousand words, there are often times where it cannot communicate everything you want to say.

Copy allows you to share additional information such as product or service details, shipping information or important notices. And while there are captions available for you to place text, the truth is that a majority of Instagram users tend not to read captions.

That’s why it’s important to deliver your message via your image as best as possible or emphasise your CTAs and clickable links to direct them to places with more information (such as a landing page).

The pros and cons of instagram advertising: is it worth your time?

Even though there are a few considerations you need to take into account, Instagram advertising is absolutely worth the time, money and effort. Its cost-effectiveness and versatility makes it an incredibly viable strategy, especially if the majority of your audience use the social media platform!

When you combine it with great, compelling content and thorough customer research, you have a strategy that will quickly give you the results you’re looking for.
Want to know more than just the pros and cons of Instagram advertising? head on over to the ZipZipe blog for more articles about the world of social media and digital marketing!