Instagram: Ways to Advertise and Engage Potential Customers


With over 400 million users, AdWeek reports that Instagram is the second most popular social platform used today based on the number of monthly active users. But as a business or agency, how can you use Instagram to advertise and engage with potential customers?

Instagram Advertising

Much has changed since Instagram originally introduced advertising to its platform. Originally, it is reported that advertising on Instagram could cost businesses anywhere between $350,000 and US $1 million per month. Now, Facebook Ads Manager can manage Instagram ads with a $5 daily minimum.  Similar to Facebook ads, you can choose targeting that includes geography, age, gender, demographics, interest and/or behavior. As you select your targeting and placement, Facebook Ad Manager will give you an estimated daily reach. You can also choose to allow Facebook to set the bid that will get you the best price or monitor the bid amount and change as you see fit.  In regards to the performance of Instagram ads, Naningans reports that Facebook and Instagram see very similar Click-through rates (CTR), Cost per 1,000 impressions (CPM), and Cost per click (CPC).













Nanigans, Global Advertising Performance - Benchmarks, Facebook vs. Instagram, 2015


Branded Content through Endorsements

Looking for an Instagram advertising opportunity that seems more organic? Reach out to your influencers. Influencers are those who have a great number of followers and have no problem spreading the word about your products or services. Influencers can post photos of themselves enjoying your products or promote a contest that provides a lucky follower with a free trial. These influencers can be local bloggers will a decent size social following or an Instagram user who already uses their platform to promote your business by tagging your business page or by using hashtags related to your business in their posts.

Keep in mind; requesting the help of influencers can come at a cost. Depending on the influencer and their number of social followers, New York Times reports that “for influencers with 50,000 to 500,000 followers, the average is $1,000 for Instagram”. Some influencers can simply be paid in free products or services. If you are looking for an influencer who is more credible and are open to hiring a service to assist, companies like Tapinfluence  and Fohr Card have directories of Influencers for marketers to choose from. While the cost can be a bit hefty, this strategy can be effective as Nielsen reports that, among every generation, recommendations from friends/relatives, consumer opinions posted online and branded sponsorships rank more trustworthy than print, cinema, radio and digital advertising.

One thing to remember when taking this approach is the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has documented and enforced rules on how to proceed with paid brand endorsements and contests. One rule is that a post should be worded in a way that is clear and conspicuous if the endorsee is receiving payment by money, products or services. It is also suggested that the post include the hashtag #ad, #sponsored or #contest depending on the nature of the endorsement.

Here is a great resource that details more on the requirement of the FTC -

Advertising and Branded Content are both concepts that have been present in the media world for years. Now, business owners are adjusting their way of thinking to include emerging mediums used and trusted by new generations entering into the economy as consumers. And, while Instagram continues to grow and evolve, businesses will too and will find new ways to capture the attention of potential customers.



“Here’s How Many People Are on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Other Big Social Networks”, AdWeek’s Social Media Trends, 2016

“Global Trust In Advertising: Winning Strategies For An Evolving Media Landscape September 2015 - Nielsen Global Trust in Advertising Survey, Q1 2015”, Nielsen, 2015, Page 13,

Nanigans, Global Advertising Performance - Benchmarks, Facebook vs. Instagram, 2015,

“How Small to Medium-Sized Businesses Can Advertise on Instagram”, Shortstack,

“Endorsed on Instagram by a Kardashian, but Is It Love or Just an Ad?”, New York Times,

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