Pros and Cons of Instagram advertising

Instagram's advertising platform allows you to connect with a much wider audience and can provide a huge number of benefits for your business. However, this doesn't mean that the platform will be right for every business. In this guide, we'll take a look at the pros and cons of Instagram advertising and how it could help you reach your business goals.

While Facebook and YouTube are still the most used social media channels, Instagram is quickly becoming one of the most popular apps in the world. Instagram is a platform that lends itself well to visual content and allows businesses to advertise and connect with new audiences. 

23.1% of Instagram users are aged between 18-24 and 30.8% are aged between 25-34. This provides you with access to a much younger audience that is more engaged and willing to participate in brand engagements. 

Instagram’s Advertising platform allows you to connect with a whole new audience and can provide a huge number of benefits for your business. However, this doesn’t mean that the platform will be right for every business. 

Let’s have a look at the pros and cons of Instagram Advertising to help you decide whether or not it is the right platform for your audience and business goals. 

What is Instagram Advertising? 

Advertising on Instagram allows you to pay to show posts and content to your audience across the Instagram platform. Your ads may show in the home feed, the explore page and Instagram Stories. 

Whenever you run an ad, it is always marked with a sponsored tag to let users know that they’re interacting with a paid ad. However, if you run your ads correctly, they can look natural which can help to improve engagement rates. 

As with Facebook Ads, Instagram Ads work on a cost per click (CPC) or pay per impressions (CPM) model which means you only pay when users click on your ads or see them in their feed. 

Pros of Instagram Advertising 

Instagram offers a number of benefits when it comes to advertising for your business. 

Detailed targeting 

Like Facebook Advertising, Instagram provides you with the ability to target customers based on a wide range of options. You can target by interests, locations, behaviours, demographics or to match a current customer list. 

Instagram Advertising helps you to get in front of the right audience for your brand and increase the chances of engagement or conversion. 

Different types of ad

Instagram provides you with a number of different ad types to provide the most engaging content for your audience. Ad types include:

  • Photos - photos are the core of the Instagram platform and will resonate with the majority of users. They are easy to create and, if you create them properly, can help you communicate your message effectively. 
  • Videos - creating a video can make your ads more attractive and engaging for your audience. Whilst they can take more time to create, they are an effective piece of content. Videos can also be posted to your Stories which allows you to add features such as stickers and text. 
  • Instagram Shopping - this allows users to find products on your website by clicking on your ads. You can upload your product collections, show prices and product details too. If you combine this with high quality product images, you can create your own shop front on Instagram. 
  • Branded content - there are a huge number of influencers and micro influencers on Instagram and you can use branded content to reach their audiences with your ads. This will help you to find new customers and build brand awareness. 

Increase sales 

Having an Instagram Business Page gives you the ability to create shopping posts and a number of features that will allow you to showcase your product or service. These features allow you to tag products and can lead customers through to your website to browse products and buy. 

Drive more traffic 

Unlike organic Instagram posts, Instagram Adverts allow you to include clickable links as part of your promoted posts. Being able to include a call to action and a link can help you to drive traffic to your website. If you don’t boost the post, you won’t be able to add a link or call to action to drive your audience to your website. 

Increase visibility and build brand awareness 

With so many brands using social media channels to promote their businesses, it can be hard to break through the noise to get your brand seen. If you create compelling and engaging content, users are more likely to follow and engage with your brand. 

When you boost an Instagram post, it will appear in your audience’s feed without seeming out of place or being disruptive. In addition, Stories will been shown when user’s are browsing the Stories of the people they follow. Unobtrusive ads like these can help to increase awareness of your business. 

It’s important to remember that just paying to appear in your audience’s feed doesn’t guarantee engagement. You will need to create an Instagram feed that will encourage your audience to interact with your brand. Advertising helps to give your content an extra push by ensuring that the right people see your content. 

Access to analytics 

Instagram provides you with access to analytics when you run your ads which allows you to see all of the data in one place. It will show you cost per result, whether your leads are turning into conversions and the demographics of the people who are viewing your ads. All of this helps you to determine the ROI of your ads. 

Cons of Instagram Advertising

Whilst Instagram offers a number of advantages for your business, there are also disadvantages to consider to understand whether or not Instagram Advertising could be an effective option for your business. 

Limited audience 

Whilst Instagram has a huge active monthly user base of over 900 million active users worldwide, this audience is made up of users between the ages of 18-29. So, if you’re looking to reach an older audience, Instagram ads might not be the most effective way to reach your audience. 

As a result, you may find Facebook Advertising more effective for your business. If you have buyer personas, this will tell you the average age of your audience which will help you to determine the right channel for your business. 

Heavily image based

If your business is more focused on text or written content, Instagram is not going to be the best place to promote that content. You can be creative to showcase or release content and direct users to your website but you might find that Instagram isn’t the best place for you to spend your advertising budget. 

Time consuming 

Like any type of advertising, Instagram ads take time to create, manage and update. Users also have the ability to comment and interact with your ads which will need monitoring so that you can respond quickly. 

Instagram is a visual channel so you will need to frequently update your ad creative and messaging to avoid ad fatigue and keep your audience engaged. If you recycle content on a regular basis, your audience will start to notice. 

Less effective than Facebook ads 

Instagram is a much less click friendly platform than Facebook as it doesn’t allow you to add a clickable link to your posts. Users do not expect to be able to click on a post to be directed to another website - they expect to double tap to show that they like the posts they see. 

When you boost a post, you can add a link but link clicks are currently less popular on Instagram than on Facebook.

If you’re trying to decide which social media platforms are right for your business, it’s important to consider this list of pros and cons. A huge number of people use Instagram every day and, if you find that they match your target audience, Instagram provides you with the opportunity to connect and engage with them. 

Social media provides the perfect platform to build brand loyalty and a following for your business. It’s up to you to decide where your customers are and how you target them to get the most from your budget. 

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Blog written by

Dylan Bonsall
Digital Marketing Executive