The lowdown on Instagram Ads - Wildbloom

The lowdown on Instagram Ads

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“Yikes! Instagram Ads. Yet another thing I have to learn?!”

Bear with me. Instagram Ads are only about as complicated as tying your shoelaces with one hand, whilst balancing on one leg. Which, in the digital marketing world, makes them relatively simple.

If you’re unfamiliar with Instagram Ads, you’re forgiven for thinking that they’re the result of that enticing, blue “Promote” button underneath your Instagram posts. Yes, they’re technically a way to pay to get more eyeballs on your Instagram content, but they’re the Instagram equivalent of the Facebook Boosted Post. If you’re looking for an efficient way to part with your hard-earned moolah, you’ll get far more enjoyment out of buying some red-soled heels (#notspon).

The Instagram Ads I’m talking about are the ones you set up from inside Facebook Ads Manager. You see, when you go to set up your Ad Sets for Facebook Ads, there’s a little box you can tick to show your ads in the Instagram Feed placement. Or, rather, Facebook (that sneaky devil) ticks it for you, and it’s up to you to untick it, if you so please.

(Not sure where to start with running Facebook Ads? Click here to download my 2018 Facebook Ads Cheat Sheet).

Does this mean that Instagram Ads are simply an extension of Facebook Ads? Are they the same thing, just on a different platform? Nope.

Do Instagram Ads mean instant Insta-fame for anyone willing to pay? Sorry to break it to you, but no. They can, however, drive highly targeted traffic to your website and generate sweet, sweet leads for your business.

Want to know how to set up high-performing Instagram ads? Read on.

Don’t run the same ad on Facebook and Instagram

I want you to think about the type of content you see on Instagram. Then, I want you to think about the content you see on Facebook.

Do you see many aesthetically stunning images on Facebook, on perfectly curated Page timelines? Not often. Likewise, do you see many news stories on Instagram? This depends on who you follow but, for most of you, the answer will be no.

If the content you see on Instagram isn’t the same as what’s on Facebook, then how on earth would running the exact same ad on both platforms get excellent results for both?

Tailor the ad to the platform. This brings me to my next point…

Focus on the visual aesthetic of your ideal customer’s Instagram feed

Huh, say whaaat?

For the sake of this blog post, I’m going to assume (and hope!) that you know your ideal customer or client back to front, inside out and upside down. If you can’t tell me your ideal customer’s hopes, dreams, secret struggles and pet rock’s name, then you don’t know them well enough.

Oh, and PS. Your ideal customer doesn’t have to be a real person. A stick figure with a name is sufficient.

Think about Iggy-ideal-customer for a second. When she (or he) logs into Instagram, first thing after waking up, what does she see?

Does she see post after post of unicorn-coloured smoothie bowls? Does her feed feature the latest high-fashion brands?

The secret to running an Instagram Ad is to make sure it doesn’t look like an ad. Go figure.

You want it to fit in with the content that they’re used to seeing in their feed. Try your best to get your ads to fit the same look and feel. Using one of these pre-made Instagram templates can help.

Don’t run Instagram Ads if they’re not right for your brand or audience

I know that this isn’t exactly a tip on how to run Instagram Ads, but it could save you a little time and heartache.

Repeat after me: Not every business is right for Instagram.

As much as you might want them to be, your target audience might just not be on Instagram. In which case, you’re barking up the wrong tree (and wasting valuable time and energy in the process).

This goes regardless of whether you’re aiming for organic Insta-fame or you’re running a paid campaign. Try that old oak tree down the road instead.

Test, test, test… And learn

Some people have found that Instagram Ads convert better, others have found that Facebook Ads convert better. But, you know what doesn’t convert well at all? A hard sell for your pricey product on any platform.

Warm your traffic up on one platform, then try to convert them on another. Then, test the opposite and measure the results.

After a bit of testing, you’ll learn what works well for your audience and you can implement that going forward.

Remember that Instagram Ad viewers will be on their mobile

This shouldn’t be anything groundbreaking – after all, your Facebook Ads and landing page should both be mobile-optimised anyway. But, it’s a timely reminder that, for your Instagram Ads to be successful, they need to be optimised for mobile viewers.

This means that your landing page should look shmick, even on an iPhone 4.

Any opt-in forms should be quick and easy for people to fill in, even if they do have fat thumbs. Your checkout process should be slick and smooth as a block of Lindt 95% chocolate. Yum.

Your website images should be compressed. As someone browsing the “net” on my phone, I want your page to load quicker than my brain post-coffee, or else I’ll be distracted by some other bright, shiny object and forget what I was doing in the first place.


This article barely skims the surface of Instagram Ads. There’s still a lot to learn. But, in a terrible attempt to keep this post below 1,000 words, I’m going to leave it at this for now.

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