Instagram: Got Questions?
We’ve Got Answers.

We spoke to 2,146 leading brands and agencies about Instagram. They had questions. Hundreds of them. Here are our answers.

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Top 28


QUESTION 1

Why would somebody use Instagram versus Facebook now that they have a similar product set and the same targeting options?

ANSWER

For people who use both social networks, Facebook and Instagram serve meaningfully different purposes in their lives: Instagram is a place for visual inspiration, and Facebook is for personal discovery.

Many advertisers use both platforms uniquely to drive their objectives, just like other media (network TV, print) where you buy advertising. Now advertisers can manage campaigns for two powerful platforms in one place and apply similar targeting and measurement.

Advertisers should be incorporating both Facebook and Instagram into their digital advertising strategy. Exactly how will vary from brand to brand, based on business and advertising objectives. Facebook has really asserted its dominance as the number one platform to achieve the full funnel of advertiser goals, from brand awareness to direct sales. Instagram is quickly becoming more diverse as an advertising ecosystem, and with its launches of Carousel ads and website conversion objectives, it’s becoming a holistic advertising solution for all business objectives.

QUESTION 2

Can I run ads on both Facebook and Instagram in a single ad campaign?

ANSWER

Yes, when you start creating your ad in either Power Editor, ad creation or through a partner like AdParlor, and you choose an objective for your ad campaign that supports Instagram, the Instagram placement will automatically be selected for you along with the other placements, like Facebook’s desktop News Feed, mobile News Feed and right column.

If you want the same creative to run on both the Facebook and the Instagram ads, you’ll need to create a single ad set that includes both the Facebook placements you want to use and the Instagram placement. When you upload your creative, you’ll be able to crop your image for both platforms. When you choose this option, your ads will be optimized to deliver across both social networks, based on the objective you chose.

If you’d like to create ads with different images on Facebook and Instagram, you should create two separate ad sets within a single campaign. In one ad set, choose the Facebook placements you’d like your ad to appear on. And at the ad level, choose the creative you’d like to use for those placements. In the other ad set, choose the Instagram placement; at the ad level, choose the creative you’d like to use for that placement.

With this option, it’s recommended that you choose the same budget for each ad set, and cap each budget equal to your campaign spending limit. Keep in mind that if you create your ads this way, you won’t be able to optimize across the platforms.

Many advertisers are unaware that because Instagram ads leverage Facebook’s hierarchy, targeting, and bidding algorithms, they can actually run both in a single campaign or IO, and optimize performance across platforms.

QUESTION 3

Based on your experience, what is the top performing ad type? Engagement ads? Ads driving clicks? Other?

ANSWER

Before you think about ad units, advertisers will always want to start with their objectives. What are you trying to achieve and what does success look like for you? And that will be different for every business.

For app install and website traffic campaigns, test both Link and the newly released Carousel ads to drive success on Instagram. Link ads have been the primary driver of success here, but with Carousel ads now available via API partners like AdParlor, advertisers have an engaging new ad unit that also resonates really well for direct response objectives.

For brands focusing on awareness and engagement, we’ve seen a lot of success with both photo and video units to generate lift in ad recall and purchase intent. While we encourage brands to test both units, if your objective is ad recall, you can likely generate a lot of success with Photo Posts, as long as you leverage proper branding principles. Video is more immersive as a content type, and may generate stronger lift in deeper metrics like purchase intent.

QUESTION 4

How will prices on Instagram change with the introduction of more direct response ads?

ANSWER

We don’t publicly discuss our prices, but self-serve advertisers bid through an auction for Instagram ads, just like they do Facebook. This gives advertisers more flexibility when it comes to price. Advertisers are able to bid their price for a business outcome versus a fixed price. The business outcome varies; in some cases, it’s increasing a brand’s association with a passion like music or food. In others, it’s measured by the cost to drive the purchase of an item or the download of an app.

QUESTION 5

What targeting options are available for Instagram ads?

ANSWER

The same targeting options available for the ads you create on Facebook are available for Instagram ads: these include location, demographics, interests, actions and more. Keep in mind you don’t have to use all of those options. The only targeting that’s required is country, age and gender. Use the other options if you want more control over the types of people who see your ads.
You can also target your Instagram ads to a Custom Audience or Lookalike Audience.

All Facebook targeting is available for Instagram campaigns, with the exception of FBX and Dynamic Product ads. It’s something that makes Instagram advertising so powerful, being able to leverage Facebook’s trove of data as the world’s largest social platform.

QUESTION 6

What ad objectives can I choose for my Instagram ads?

ANSWER

We currently support for DR objectives such as clicks to a website, mobile app installs, video views and website conversions. Instagram is rolling out brand objectives such as reach and frequency to all advertisers in the coming weeks.

QUESTION 7

If you’re trying to reach Millennials, do you go to Facebook or Instagram?

ANSWER

When advertisers buy television, they don’t buy on one channel; brands trying to reach Millennials should be on the platforms where they’re spending their time. Since one in every five mobile minutes is spent on Facebook and Instagram, these social networks are the places to be. That being said, Millennial users spend an average of 21 minutes per day on Instagram.

For advertisers new to Instagram, it represents a highly engaging “hub” for brands to connect with Millennials in an immersive environment. Facebook still represents the largest scale of any platform when it comes to reaching them (or any other demo, for that matter) with brand messaging.

QUESTION 8

Are there any best practices for creative on Instagram?

ANSWER

We’ve uncovered three creative principles that apply to all successful Instagram campaigns. It’s important to make sure your creative is on-brand and includes familiar color palettes or logos, has a concept or purpose (we’ve seen many brands develop amazing creative based upon existing themes like #thingsorganizedneatly), and that craft really matters. People are very curated about what they share on Instagram, and there are even higher expectations for brands.

Something to consider: your creative should be built for mobile devices. If you’re looking at your future posts on large monitors, consider what these will look like on a smart phone.

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QUESTION 9

Can you give some specifics about best practices with video?

ANSWER

Brands are seeing a lot of success testing different video creative elements. Most brands have seen a little better success with 15-second videos rather than 30s, but Instagram is encouraging advertisers to test both based on access to assets. For the actual content itself, it depends on the primary objective. If it’s ad recall, ensure your branding is top of mind and ideally in the early stages of the video. If it’s awareness or purchase intent for a specific product, make sure that’s conveyed in the message. Feed-based video really rewards brands that get their point across quickly.

Instagram is increasingly seeing advertisers leverage video beyond just traditional brand objectives, including driving app installs. App developers have had a lot of success finding higher customer lifetime value by leveraging video. An image may drive efficient CPIs, but immersive video content displaying app value and functionality can drive more qualified leads.

QUESTION 10

How about best practices with Carousel ads?

ANSWER

Advertisers have had a ton of success leveraging Carousel ads, first with Facebook and now with Instagram. Two really important points on Carousel ads are:

  • What is the first image in the set? This is the most important one since this is the image users will see first and gauge whether or not they want to swipe through.
  • How are you grouping images together? They need to make sense in a sequence. For instance, we’ve seen product-focused companies group images by product category—shoes, for example, or specific brands, or outfits.

QUESTION 11

How does Instagram decide which ads to show me?

ANSWER

Instagram wants the ads you see to be as interesting and useful as possible.

To decide which ones you see, the algorithm uses the information you share on Facebook (such as Pages you like); demographics from your Facebook account (such as your age, gender, and location); information advertisers have about you, such as your email address; and your activity on- and off-Facebook. From an ad serving standpoint, the auction determines which users actually see your ads, and it’s a function of your ad’s relevance to your audience and your bid.
Instagram has been using Facebook’s ad serving technology since the beginning and is moving from broad segments to more interest segments, which will allow brands to deliver more relevant ads on Instagram.

QUESTION 12

How can I tell if my Instagram ad is performing?

ANSWER

Like Facebook ads, performance metrics for Instagram ads will be available in Power Editor, Ads Manager or a through a partner like AdParlor shortly after your ads begin running. Instagram ads will use the same reporting tools that Facebook ads use. You’ll be able to look at metrics at the campaign, ad set and ad levels. You’ll also be able to schedule and save reports, as well as customize columns so you only see the data you care about.

When advertisers are looking at performance, they’ll be looking at different metrics depending on their goals. “Performance” would be dependent on what the brand is looking to achieve with Instagram advertising, which can be a variety of objectives. Once you know what success looks like, you can determine your KPIs.

QUESTION 13

Can Instagram guarantee that people will see my ad?

ANSWER

It’s not possible to guarantee your Instagram ads purchased through the self-serve interface get impressions. Like Facebook ads, Instagram ads are part of the ad auction. For each impression, our ad auction system selects the best ads to run based on maximum bids and ad performance. All ads on Facebook and Instagram compete against each other in this process, and the ads that our system determines are most likely to be successful will win the auction.

Other factors that could affect the delivery of your Instagram ad include, but aren’t limited to, the targeting, objective, budget and creative you choose.

However, Facebook will be rolling out reach and frequency buying on Instagram soon.

QUESTION 14

What will my Instagram ads look like?

ANSWER

Your ad will appear in Instagram feeds along with images shared by their friends, family and other Instagram accounts they follow. Your ad may appear in the square or landscape format depending on which you choose.

All Instagram ads will have a SPONSORED icon on the top right and a call-to-action button below the image. Your ad’s caption will appear below the image and call-to-action button.

QUESTION 15

Where do I find the option to advertise for Instagram on Facebook?

ANSWER

You can run Instagram ads using Facebook’s self-serve tool, Power Editor. You’ll need a Facebook ads account to start running Instagram ads. You can log into yours on Power Editor, or contact your Facebook sales rep to get started directly.

QUESTION 16

How do you get started with an API partner?

ANSWER

If you want to explore AdParlor as an API partner to manage Instagram campaigns, it’s really easy to get started. You can visit AdParlor.asia to see our offerings across social platforms, or email AdParlor Asia Marketing at marketing@adparlor.asia if you want to get going right away!

QUESTION 17

How many users are watching entire 30-second videos on Instagram?

ANSWER

Completion rates for videos on Instagram can vary based on the advertiser, the video creative, and targeting segments. While completion rates will likely be higher for 15-second videos compared with 30-second options, brands have been successful with both. AdParlor recently completed a campaign with a TV show in which the objective was to drive “tune-in”, resulting in more than 440,000 video completions.

QUESTION 18

Are video or photo ads more successful on Instagram?

ANSWER

It depends on your objective. A lot of brands are moving towards video for awareness and engagement objectives, and at AdParlor, we’ve seen brands be very successful running cross-platform social video campaigns, including on Instagram. That being said, brands are still able to generate awareness, engagement, recall, and purchase intent with imagery as well. We’re actively encouraging brands to test both, and to determine what works for them, based on their objectives.

QUESTION 19

How many seconds constitutes a view on Instagram?

ANSWER

It’s three seconds or more—same as Facebook.

 QUESTION 20

Facebook has a 20% text rule for promoted ads. Is it the same for Instagram?

ANSWER

Yes. The same rules apply for Instagram as Facebook to make it easy to run ads across both platforms.

QUESTION 21

What’s the recommended number of hashtags used on a post?

 ANSWER

Instagram’s best practice is to reduce clutter by keeping hashtags to a maximum of three. Any more than that, and the hashtags take over the ad.

QUESTION 23

What call-to-action buttons are available?

ANSWER

“Apply Now”, “Book Now”, “Contact Us”, “Download”, “Learn More”, “Shop Now” and “Sign Up” are available for all ads, with “Install Now” available for app install ads.

QUESTION 24

Can you specify lifestyle preferences in Instagram targeting?

 ANSWER

Just like Facebook, relevancy and targeting is based on information and interests users share—pages Liked, age, gender and location, for instance. This will also include activity on- and off-Facebook.

QUESTION 27

How can brands engage with Instagram commenters?

 ANSWER

After you’re created an ad, there will be a permalink that you can click and engage with anyone who has left comments. It’s where you can also remove negative comments, but without revealing that decision to the person who posted it. It’ll still be visible to that commenter, but not the rest of the audience.

QUESTION 26

How should B2B advertisers take advantage of Instagram?

ANSWER

Again, it depends on the objective. Advertisers have taken existing Facebook campaigns and used them on Instagram to find their target audiences there. Even though it’s B2B, you’re still advertising to people—just those who work at specific companies or in certain industries.

QUESTION 27

How can brands engage with Instagram commenters?

 ANSWER

After you’re created an ad, there will be a permalink that you can click and engage with anyone who has left comments. It’s where you can also remove negative comments, but without revealing that decision to the person who posted it. It’ll still be visible to that commenter, but not the rest of the audience.

QUESTION 28

Are there best practices for “over-posting” on Instagram?

 ANSWER

Your followers want to get something in return for their dedication to your page, but if you’re over-sharing, they’ll be turned off. Before you post, just ask yourself: “Is this something I’d want to see?”

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Features


QUESTION 29

Are Instagram ad formats, like panograms, swipe rights, etc., available to all advertisers in Power Editor or API providers?

ANSWER

Carousel Ads will be available to all advertiser directly and through marketing API partners like AdParlor in Q4 of 2015. Here’s the timeline:

  • Oct. 28: 100% global release to API
  • Nov. 11: 100% rollout to Power Editor
  • Nov. 25: 100% rollout to Ads Manager

QUESTION 30

Is it possible to target audiences based on their Likes and groups they belong to on Facebook?

ANSWER

Yes, all targeting options available on Facebook are now available on Instagram with the exception of FBX and Dynamic Product Ads.

QUESTION 31

Any limitations on ad formats if buying through Facebook console?

ANSWER

All Instagram ad formats available through Facebook Marketing Partners are also available through Facebook’s Power Editor.

QUESTION 32

To what extent does Instagram not enabling live links in posts limit click-through capability for advertisers?

ANSWER

Advertisers can link to relevant pages using Instagram ads.

QUESTION 33

How are ads served up to the Instagram audience? Do users have to be following your brand to see them?

ANSWER

Ads are served to Instagram users that fall within that ad’s target audience. The person who receives the ad does not have to follow the account to be served an ad.

QUESTION 34

You can’t add URLs to posts/ads right?

ANSWER

URLs added to the copy of Instagram posts are not live/clickable; the media and CTA button on the ad drive the user offsite via Instagram Link Ads.

QUESTION 35

Can you target a Facebook Lookalike Audience on Instagram? How about Custom Audiences?

ANSWER

Yes, all targeting options available on Facebook are now available on Instagram with the exception of FBX and Dynamic Product Ads.

QUESTION 36

How can you move a consumer from Instagram to an external website or to click somewhere else, if there are no links, except for the bio section?

ANSWER

Instagram started offering the ability to drive offsite within an ad when it launched Carousel Ads in June of 2015. In September, Instagram globally launched Link ads that allow advertisers to drive users to either an in-app browser or App Store/Google Play destination.

QUESTION 37

What parts of an ad are clickable, or is it only the link in your bio?

ANSWER

The media (image) and call to action are clickable through Instagram ads.

QUESTION 38

Has Instagram opened up to social scheduling platforms yet? Or do you still have to upload content via a smart phone? Any way to push from a PC?

ANSWER

Instagram does not have it on the roadmap to allow for content creation via a PC.

QUESTION 39

There have been complaints lately in regards to the latest update. What is the timeline to address these issues from lag time, bugs, freezing, etc.?

ANSWER

Instagram strives to look into every issue that is reported within 24 hours. The goal is to deliver the highest quality product to both consumers and advertisers.

QUESTION 40

When do you expect the feature to target hashtags?

ANSWER

There are no plans to enable hashtag targeting at this time.

QUESTION 41

Are there best practices for geo-tagging?

ANSWER

Instagram does not currently support location or people tags on ads purchased through Power Editor or Facebook Marketing Partners.

Want to know how Instagram can drive your holiday sales? LEARN MORE

Instagram or Facebook?


QUESTION 42

Are advertisers able to target specific Instagram users by demographic, location, interests, and other brands they may follow?

ANSWER

Yes, all targeting options available on Facebook are now available on Instagram with the exception of FBX and Dynamic Product Ads.

QUESTION 43

Can you run campaigns to drive new followers only to an Instagram account and not to a website landing page?

ANSWER

Instagram does not have plans for an ad product to build followers.

QUESTION 44

Can advertisers use the reach/frequency tool with Instagram (through API)?

ANSWER

Reach and frequency is a buying type on Facebook and Instagram that is available in Power Editor and the API. It enables advertisers to predictably buy unique reach on Instagram and/or Facebook, while giving them the tools to manage frequency throughout their campaign. Core to gauging the impact of any media is understanding who you reach and how many times these people see your messages. Traditional media, like TV and print, are planned and bought on reach and frequency, and with this tool, Facebook and Instagram can provide the predictability and control advertisers desire.

QUESTION 45

Can you push one ad to a Facebook page and a separate ad to Instagram? Or do you have to promote the same creative to both platforms?

ANSWER

Advertisers can create Instagram-only, Facebook-only, and/or mixed placement (Facebook and Instagram) campaigns.

With this option, it’s recommended that you choose the same budget for each ad set, and cap each budget equal to your campaign spending limit. Keep in mind that if you create your ads this way, you won’t be able to optimize across the platforms.

Many advertisers are unaware that because Instagram ads leverage Facebook’s hierarchy, targeting, and bidding algorithms, they can actually run both in a single campaign or I/O, and optimize performance across platforms.

 QUESTION 46

If our client does not have a dedicated Facebook page to link to but Instagram is available, how do we create ads without linking a FB ad?

ANSWER

Advertisers are able to use their Facebook Page credentials as a voice for their Instagram campaigns. This feature allows clients to try Instagram advertising by using their Facebook page profile and name when placing ads. In Ads Manager or Power Editor, the flow will prompt advertisers without an Instagram account to either create an account or use their Facebook page to represent their ad. The advertiser’s page name and profile picture will be ported over from their Facebook page.

QUESTION 47

Can you run a paid instagram campaign without having a Facebook account set up?

ANSWER

Since our delivery system is built on Facebook’s ad technology, you must set up a Facebook advertising account to run ads on Instagram.

QUESTION 48

When will Carousel photo ads on Instagram be available to smaller brands like mine?

ANSWER

Here’s the timeline:

  • Oct. 28: 100% global release to API
  • Nov. 11: 100% rollout to Power Editor
  • Nov. 25: 100% rollout to Ads Manager

QUESTION 49

When will the conversion optimization goal roll out on the platform?

ANSWER

  • Oct. 28: 100% global release to API
  • Nov. 11: 100% rollout to Power Editor
  • Nov. 25: 100% rollout to Ads Manager

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Best Practices


QUESTION 50

If you can only chose one, would you recommend to advertise with a photo, video, or Carousel ad?

ANSWER

We recommend choosing an ad type based on your business objective. Test and learn to discover which formats work best for you.

QUESTION 51

What is your experience or perception of using Instagram ads with political campaigns?

ANSWER

Direct response ads are resonating with campaigns that want to deepen their relationship with people – “Learn more” and “Sign-up” are effective. Instagram ads are another arrow in the quiver for candidates looking to inspire voters in a visual, personal way and build awareness going into 2016.

QUESTION 52

Where do I find the option to advertise for Instagram on Facebook?

ANSWER

Instagram is available through API partners and Power Editor as a placement.

QUESTION 53

Can you run Instagram advertising without running FB ads?

ANSWER

Yes, you can run ads to only Instagram, or run across both Facebook and Instagram.

QUESTION 54

We’d love to know about your advertising quality control, because what we’ve observed is there is no quality control and it’s basically just anything anyone wants to post. (i.e., used car sales, horoscope quizzes)

ANSWER

We closely monitor engagement and ads’ “hide rate” is a key signal on performance. This feedback loop will impact advertisers’ ad delivery, just like it does on Facebook. A high-quality ad experience is incredibly important at Instagram. It wants the ads you see to be as interesting and useful to you as possible. Instagram thinks relevance is a huge part of that, which is why it has enabled Facebook targeting.

QUESTION 55

Do you think it’ll be harder for advertisers to get the same level of engagement rate on organic, unpaid content now that advertising is rolled out to all businesses? Will Instagram be like Facebook, a pay-to-play network?

ANSWER

We know people want more relevant advertising, and that’s why we have enabled the best-in-class targeting capabilities Facebook offers.

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Case Studies


 QUESTION 56

Do you have any specific case studies on Instagram success stories?

ANSWER

See these links for a general overview of some case studies we have worked with.

ACROSS SEVERAL INDUSTRIES

ECOMMERCE
MOBILE APP
CPG
AUTO
COSMETICS
AIRLINES
QUICK SERVICE RESTAURANTS

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Performance/Metrics


QUESTION 57

User post 80 million photos every day, but what’s the average number of Likes?

ANSWER

3.5 Billion

QUESTION 58

How does metric reporting of Instagram ads work? Do they show up in the Power Editor on Facebook? Or do those results funnel to somewhere else?

ANSWER

Reporting can be viewed through Facebook’s Power Editor and/or through Facebook Marketing Partners.

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Targeting


QUESTION 59

Can you speak to the demo on Instagram? Does it skew female? Can you provide a user profile?

ANSWER

Instagram is very popular with Millennials in general, especially teens, but we don’t share specific demographic information. When great advertisers buy television, they don’t buy on one channel; advertisers trying to reach Millennials should be on the platforms where Millennials are spending their time, and that is Facebook and Instagram (One of every 5 mobile minutes is spent on those two networks.)

QUESTION 60

What video types perform best on Instagram? Facebook?

ANSWER

This depends on your campaign objective. We recommend testing to see what performs best based on your goals.