How to Get More Out of Your Initial Instagram Testing Budget

Back in 2010, many marketers thought Facebook would have a permanent monopoly on the social media advertising industry. Although Twitter, Reddit and other social networking sites were taking off at the time, ads on those networks had very poor ROIs. Therefore, marketers allocated most of their digital advertising budgets to Facebook and Google Ads (formerly AdWords). Instagram is finally breaking that precedent. 

Instagram was purchased by Facebook for $1 billion back in 2012. Although both social networks share the same advertising platform, ad delivery is segmented between the two of them. The advertising targeting options may be the same, but there are other important nuances to be aware of. 

Even if you are an experienced Facebook advertiser, you will likely experience some frustrations trying to learn Instagram. Your initial campaigns will probably fail at first. You will just have to make the most of your initial testing budget to collect the data you need to excel later. 

How do you get the most value from your Instagram advertising budget? Here are some things to consider, whether your goal is to generate immediate conversions or earn Instagram followers

Create a larger number of highly targeted campaigns 

You might be tempted to use a liberal targeting strategy when you create your first few campaigns. If you have experience with Facebook advertising, then you might feel confident taking this approach. 

The problem is that Instagram users are going to engage with your traffic differently. The average cost per click is also about 25% higher with Instagram than Facebook. You could lose a lot of money before realizing that your Instagram campaign wasn’t as successful as a similar one on Facebook. 

Instagram has some unbelievably precise targeting capabilities. You can obviously target users based on their gender, age, geography, education, income and other common demographic variables. However, you can also experiment with more creative targeting options. You can restrict ads to people that own cars or have traveled recently, which opens the door for some interesting angles. 

It is best to start off with extremely targeted ads. This will set you up for the best chance of success as you try to navigate Instagram ads platform. You can go broader with your targeting as you become more familiar with Instagram ads and feel more confident. 

Set your daily budget a little over the minimum for the first 24 hours 

When you first launch a new campaign, you will have to set a daily budget. Once your budget has been exhausted, your ads will stop delivering for the day. 

It is a good idea to set the limit close to the minimum, until you are sure that you set the campaign up properly. There is always a possibility that you could make a mistake with your ads. If you forgot to add certain targeting options to filter poor converting traffic, then you could spend a lot more money than you were expecting. 

Make your posts seem authentic 

Instagram has a much higher engagement rate than Facebook. Part of the reason is that Instagram content comes across as being much more authentic. If you are using Instagram ads to grow your brand, you need to keep this in mind. 

You should avoid anything remotely resembling a traditional banner advertisement. Those types of images are going to have extremely poor engagement rates, so you will pay a lot for little return.

You should try to make your images look more genuine. If you are trying to promote a product, you should try showing pictures of people using it. You can also post videos of customers expressing support for your brand. Pictures of employees enjoying their work can also help. 

Choose your ad format carefully 

Instagram has a couple different ad formats that you can use. It is very important to choose your ad format carefully. You can waste a lot of money if you choose an ad style that doesn’t resonate with your campaign goals. 

Which one is best? The answer is going to depend on the nature of your campaign, as well as your conversion goals. 

Instagram photo ads are a great option if your goal is to merely increase engagement. You can use these to create a lot more visibility for your brand. Photo ads can also be highly effective for e-commerce funnels.

You can use a single image or a carousel ad. Carousel ads are basically a series of photos or videos. They are perfect when you need to feature multiple products with the same campaign. You may want to try them if you don’t know ahead of time which products customers are going to like the most. You can significantly increase conversion rates by giving them options. You can add up to 10 videos or images with your carousel ads. 

However, sometimes you need to share a longer message. Story ads tend to be the most effective. Some story ads use a video, which gives users a lot more control over the content and increases engagement.