Getting started with Instagram advertising in 2020

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How to grow your audience on social media’s most visual platform

Instagram, thanks to its mobile-first design and its ties to parent company Facebook, has exploded in recent years as one of the most-used social media platforms.

And just like Facebook – and pretty much every other social media platform – Instagram is becoming increasingly pay-to-play. Businesses and organisations can have a hard time reaching the right audiences with organic traffic alone – which is why the use of paid ads is so appealing. 



So if your company is looking to grow its audience on Instagram and potentially convert some fans into customers in 2020, it might be worth considering an investment in Instagram advertisements.

Now, let’s get into the ‘how’ behind the ‘why’ of advertising on Instagram.

Get an Instagram Business Account

First things first: you need to create – or switch over to – an Instagram Business account. This will allow you to set up ads and create promoted posts.

But that’s not the only benefit to making the switch to a business account. You also get access to cool features and helpful tools that regular accounts don’t, such as:

  • Access to Instagram’s built-in analytics tool. See how your posts are performing and get valuable insights about your audience.
  • The ability to add a contact button, as well as your industry, phone number and address onto your profile. Give your audience the information they need to get in touch without sacrificing precious bio space.
  • Instagram Stories with links. While this is only available to accounts with more than 10,000 followers, this is an incredibly handy feature once you have access to it.
  • Access to Instagram Shopping. There are a few caveats when it comes to using this feature. But if you qualify, it gives you the ability to let people purchase your products directly in the Instagram app.

Switching to a Business profile is simple: just head over to your account settings and select ‘Switch to Business Profile.’ Once you fill in a few key details about your business – and in some instances, create your Facebook Business page – you’ll be on your way to creating enticing Instagram ads.

Understanding Different Types of Instagram Ads

When creating your first Instagram ad, it can be a bit overwhelming to decide which kind of ad is best for your business goals.

There are several types of Instagram ads, and each requires different sizes, files types and more. So check out this great guide from Voy Media on Instagram ad specs and sizing for 2020 to get started.

Carousel ads are a great way to tell a story with multiple images


The last thing you need is an advertisement that’s in the wrong format or stretched out because it’s the wrong size!

A few things to ask yourself when choosing which ad type to use:

  • What is my goal for this advertisement? What am I trying to get the audience to do?
  • Who is my target audience? Will the content resonate with them?
  • Where do I want the ad to show up – in their feed or in their Stories? Do I want to use multiple images or just one?

Answering these questions can help quickly narrow down the type of advertisement that makes the most sense for you and your business.

Time to Create!

Once you create your Business account and determine the type of ad you want to run, it’s time to actually create the ad.

When it comes to ads, it’s always better to keep it simple and catchy than detailed and complicated. Wouldn’t you rather be remembered for one simple message than forgotten because you were determined to cram five messages into a single ad?

Since Instagram is a visual-first platform, remember that the photo or video you use is the most important element. You may write a great caption, but if the visual isn’t clear, interesting or bold, it won’t get noticed.

And be sure to have a clear call-to-action – Learn More, Click Here, Follow Us, etc. – and to be authentic in your messaging. Authenticity goes a long way on Instagram, considering how filtered everything can be. And don’t be afraid to use hashtags or even create your own.

In the end, it’s all about getting the right message to the right people at the right time. If you can get these factors to align, you’re going to see a very clear return on your investment.

Another thing that can greatly help the success of your ads is to be active on Instagram. If you’re only posting ads but don’t really have any additional content for your audience to check out, it’s going to come off as a fake account. Or it could give off the impression that your organisation is just trying to sell rather than add value to people’s lives.

Advertising on Instagram can be a rewarding process, but if you feel like you aren’t getting the most out of it, check out the treasure trove of resources, tips and success stories that Instagram Business has to offer.

And if you’re looking to up your Instagram game this year, be sure to check out our newest course here at Clear Europe, Instagram for Pros. We’ll dive head-first into all of the features, tips and tricks to get your organisation up and running on one of the world’s largest social media channels.

About Ali Colwell

Ali Colwell is a trainer, copywriter and the Managing Director of Clear Europe. Her previous work includes helping finance and technology companies in Belgium and New York elevate their online branding and social media efforts.

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