Do you have a limited ad budget? Wondering how to use your ad spend more wisely on Instagram?
In this article, you’ll discover four ways to make your Instagram ad spend go further.
#1: Repurpose Organic Posts for Top-of-Funnel Instagram Ads
Quite simply, if you do a good job with your Instagram organic content and your customers find it engaging, Facebook is more likely to show your Instagram ads to your desired customers and prospects.
Your organic content will also show you what your Instagram audience is interested in. The best way to find out the types of content or topics people are responding to is to look at the engagement rate per post on Instagram, which reveals your most popular pieces of content.
A quick way to see which posts have received the most engagement is to look at your Insights. Go to your Instagram business profile, tap the three lines in the upper-right corner of the screen, and select Insights from the pop-up menu. On the Content tab of your Insights where you see your weekly posts updates, tap on See All.
From here, use the drop-down menus at the top of the screen to find the content that has received the most engagement in the last year, in ascending order.
You’ll also be able to see:
- Emails via the quick action button at the top of your profile
- Get Directions via the quick action button
- Profile Visits
- Texts via a quick action button
- Website Clicks
For a comprehensive look at your Instagram engagement, you need to analyze each post to calculate your engagement rate. Watch this video to learn how.
Total Post Engagements / Total Number of Impressions = Engagement Rate
After you calculate the engagement rates for each post, determine your average engagement on Instagram—this will be a benchmark for your content. It will also reveal the types of content that your audience engaged with most.
Using this information to shape your organic content strategy will set you up successfully for the next part of the low-cost ad strategy: using interactions to create an Instagram ad funnel.
When you’ve identified the types of content and posts your audience engages with most, use the in-platform promotional tools to begin developing a sales funnel. You don’t need a huge budget for this; a few dollars behind your top-performing posts will suffice.
To begin, click on the Create Ad button under one of your high-performing posts that lends itself to creating awareness for your business.
You’ll then be prompted to select where you want the ad to send people: your profile, your website, or your direct messages. Your goal at the top of the funnel is to increase the number of people interacting with your content, not to generate leads or sales straight away. I suggest sending people to your profile or Direct Messages. In this example, I’ll be using Direct Messages.
As you move through the setup interface, you’ll define the audience you want to reach. Choose the settings that allow you to reach more people with your awareness ads.
Finally, you’ll set your budget. Depending on your available budget, you may choose to promote several posts to build out the top of your sales funnel.
The next step is to retarget people who have interacted with your Instagram profile or sent you a direct message.
#2: Use Instagram Interactions to Create Warm Custom Audiences for Retargeting With Middle- or Bottom-of-Funnel Instagram Ads
Open the Facebook Custom Audience tool and click on the Instagram business profile source to build warmer audiences of customers who are already interacting and engaging with you on Instagram.
Choose whether to include people who have met only one or several criteria using the All option. You’ll be able to select whether you want to reach people who have visited your Instagram business profile, sent you an Instagram direct message, saved your Instagram post or ad, or engaged with your Instagram posts or ads.
You can also use the Exclude feature to refine your targeting. For example, you can reach people who have engaged with your posts but exclude anyone who has sent you a DM.
Now you can retarget these warm custom audiences via Instagram placements or the wider network of placements across Facebook, Messenger, and the audience network for your next step in your funnel.
To serve middle- and bottom-of-funnel ads only on Instagram, use the Facebook Ad Manager platform to create your ads. Choose to use Manual Placements and select only Instagram.
Two Examples of Sequenced Instagram Ad Funnels
By sequencing your ads and retargeting based on user interaction, you can reduce the costs of the campaign by focusing only on the warmest prospects at each stage of the journey. Here are two examples to get you started.
#1: eCommerce product campaign using only Instagram ads:
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- Top of Funnel: Share organic posts about a new product in your Instagram feed and stories. Use your Instagram Insights to see which post performed best. Promote that post within Instagram to encourage more profile visits where your audience can see more posts or Stories highlights about the product.
- Middle of Funnel: To show potential customers more product features and ways to use your product, retarget your warm custom audience with an instant experience ad designed to open to your micro-site when opened on mobile.
- Bottom of Funnel: Retarget people who opened your middle-of-funnel ad or interacted with your Instagram profile with a conversion ad such as a collection ad to generate sales.
Pro Tip: Instagram is a mobile-first platform, so using ads that deliver on improved mobile experiences (like instant experience or collection ads) works well because they deliver a seamless and richer user experience.
#2: Lead generation ad campaign on Instagram:
- Top of Funnel: Share organic feed or Stories posts that drive awareness of your services and offer a lead magnet. Encourage your audience to DM you for access to your lead magnet. Use the Instagram in-app promotion features to encourage more people to DM you. Set up a quick reply to deliver your lead magnet as each DM comes in.
- Middle of Funnel: Retarget a warm custom audience of people who have engaged with your business on Instagram, and narrow the audience by excluding people who have already direct messaged you.
- Bottom of Funnel: Serve a lead generation ad to the remaining audience, which viewed the content but didn’t direct message you. Deliver this ad across all placements within Facebook and Instagram to keep the cost per lead low.
#3: Track and Test Instagram Ad Placements for Cost Return
When looking for the lowest-cost return on your campaigns, it’s important to monitor where your Instagram ads are getting the most interaction and then optimize your placements accordingly.
Instagram has three placements for ads: the Instagram feed, Instagram Stories, and Instagram Search and Explore tab. To find out which placements are getting the most interactions or the lowest-cost interactions, use the Breakdown tool in Facebook Ads Manager.
In Ads Manager, choose a campaign from the Campaigns tab and then view the Ads tab for that campaign.
Open the Breakdown tool button (just left of the Reports button).
Filter the results by Delivery and then by Placement.
You will now be able to see exactly which placement is driving the best results for your campaign, and optimize accordingly.
#4: Develop Mobile Ads That Command Attention and Stop the Scroll
In a highly aggressive marketplace like Instagram, thumb-stopping ads and creative can give you the competitive edge and engagement you need to drive your ad costs down. Researching how other players in your industry are getting seen can help you lift your own creative game.
Where can you look for ad inspiration that’s Instagram-approved and won’t endanger your ad account? The Creative Hub can help. From the global menu in Business Manager or from Ads Manager, select Creative Hub.
Here you have the option to create, preview, and test mockups for new ads, or to browse the Get Inspired section to view a selection of some of the most creative ads gathered from around the world. All ads displayed are created for mobile placement and this tab has 10 different types of filters for viewing ads so you can research the ad type you’re most interested in.
Additionally, you can browse ads from competitors or complementary businesses in the Facebook Ad Library; this library is accessible via Instagram and shows ads from accounts with a high rate of engagement. Simply view a business profile and tap the three dots in the top right-hand corner and then tap on About This Account.
The next window shows information about the business account that’s publicly declared for transparency. Tap on Active Ads at the bottom of the screen to open up Facebook Ads Library. Any ads that have been run on Instagram will be identified by the Instagram symbol in the top right-hand side.
If you can’t access it via Instagram, you can always view the Ads Library on the desktop version of Facebook.
Each of the tactics above will help you drive down your Instagram ad costs but they work best when used together. When you don’t have a big budget to drive results, you need to use every trick in your marketing playbook to make your budget work hard for you.
What do you think? Have you tried any of these Instagram ad tips? What tips and tricks do you use for your Instagram ads? Share your thoughts in the comments below.