Instagram is the world’s most popular social network. Instagram’s simplicity and focus on imagery and photography make it ideal for a wide range of businesses..

Many businesses use Instagram as their primary marketing channel, but even those that do often miss out on one exceptional opportunity: Instagram ads.

Instagram for business consists of paid advertising targeted at your audience. Through its parent company Facebook, Instagram offers advanced targeting so that your ads are delivered to your most relevant audiences. With the appropriate testing conditions, brands that use Instagram ads can often achieve impressive clickthrough (CTR) rates and the results that flow from effective digital campaigns

Few advertising channels are as exciting as Instagram for businesses

Steve Yanor, Managing Director, Sky Alphabet Social Media

Instagram offers exceptionally creative campaigns

For very large and small businesses, Instagram is the perfect way to deliver a culturally relevant experience for prospective and existing customers, as well as stakeholders and employees.

People who don't use social media can still be targeted

Many people are unaware that social media campaigns are often served outside of social media environments.

Using what is known as “audience extensions,” Instagram and other platforms including LinkedIn and Instagram can deliver advertising impressions outside of the specific platform. This is the formal way of saying that social media ads can “find” people as they are browsing partner websites.

Facebook maintains thousands of partner websites and digital properties. These partner websites are fair game when it comes to launching Instagram and Facebook campaigns; the target audience does not have to be using Facebook or Instagram.

Social media has become a tool to accomplish strategic objectives

From a corporate branding perspective, Instagram has become much more important because of its increasing relevance with target audiences.

For this reason, brands that intend to use Instagram for business should look to exploit the creative possibilities afforded by these four types of campaigns:

Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories Ad

Instagram Stories is one of the hottest — if not the hottest — ad format. Instagram Stories is a full frame, full video immersive experience. Stories give brands a way to use video with sound over 5 or more seconds. As part of the format, Instagram allows one button for clickthrough to an external website, landing page, lead generation form or phone call.

Instagram “In-Feed” Ads

Instagram Ads include Instagram Stories and Instagram in-feed

Shown above is a typical Instagram “in-feed” image. Studies have shown that simple images without overlaid text often work best, especially if the photography is polished and professional.

In-feed Instagram ads often perform better than other ad formats because they are viewed as being less intrusive and therefore more “native” to Instagram. This is another way of saying that they fit in well and don’t scream this is an ad, even though they are clearly labeled as such.

Instagram Carousel Ads

Instagram carousel ads are a great option for the brand that has multiple products or variations that it wants to showcase. Each image in the carousel (up to 10 are allowed) are clickable to a landing page or web URL. This format is square, although Instagram allows three Stories Videos to be stacked together, which effectively increases the total duration of a Stories Ad to 15 seconds, albeit in five second chunks.