Why Businesses Should Advertise on Instagram


With Instagram usage on the rise, there is no doubt that businesses should be using Instagram to advertise. Businesses can use Instagram to show off their product either by using images or videos. Instagram also allows businesses to create a unique tone that will allow them to stand out among their competitors. Most individuals on the internet are more attracted to images and videos. By using Instagram to advertise, businesses can increase their brand awareness.


According to CNBC, Instagram hit its all time high of 400 million active users in September 2015; surpassing Twitter users by almost 100 million users. 75% of Instagram users are from outside the US creating a diverse user base. Being able to create sponsored posts on Instagram allows advertisers to reach a large audience. Instagram is planning to introduce targeted ads as well. The advertising revenue on Instagram hit $600 million and is expected to reach $1.48 billion in 2016. Instagram is expected to account for 14% of Facebook’s total mobile ad revenue by 2017.


According to Smith, there are more than 75 million users on Instagram daily. This means that advertisers can reach a large audience in a single day. Of all internet users, 20% of users are active on Instagram. When it comes to male and female comparison, 51% of Instagram users are male and 49% of users are female. This surprises me because from my own experience, more females are on Instagram. However, the amount of males using Instagram is definitely increasing. This is probably due to many sports teams and car brands being on Instagram. As far as monthly follower growth, the average growth on Instagram is 16%. This is important for businesses because they can expect to receive roughly 16% more followers each month. By 2018, the expected number of Instagram users in the US is 106.2 million. 30.4% of social media users in the US are using Instagram. Since 49% of adult Instagram users use Instagram daily, businesses are able to reach a significant amount of adult users. Even though a large amount of adult Instagram users are on Instagram daily, only 26% of US adults use Instagram.

As found on Instagram’s advertising information page, there are eight advertising objectives businesses can achieve when advertising on Instagram. The first objective is to increase website clicks. The main goal of this objective is to send people to your website. Another objective is to increase website conversions. The goal for this objective is to also get people to your website, as well as getting the consumer to take action. An action a business might be aiming for is to get the customer to order from them, sign up for the company’s newsletter, or getting the customer to contact them. The next objective is to increase mobile app installs. This would be to have a call-to-action button that says “download app” on the business’s ad when customers are using a mobile device. Going along with that, the next objective is to get more mobile app engagement. The fifth objective is to increase video views by telling a story with a video. The sixth objective is to increase reach and frequency. The goal for this objective would be to achieve a reasonable reach by having a good control over the frequency of your message. The next objective is to increase page post engagement. Businesses have the opportunity to do this by getting people engaged with their ad by posting images or videos. The final objective is to drive mass awareness. Businesses can drive brand awareness to a broad audience. Businesses are guaranteed to get impressions and have top placement on Instagram’s feed. When creating an ad on Instagram, businesses choose one of these eight objectives.

There are many brands that use sponsored posts on Instagram. A few I would like to point out which most people recognize include KFC, Porsche, Adidas, World Golf Tour, McDonald’s, and KitKat. KFC’s campaign, which was run in Japan, had a 44pt lift in ad recall and a 7pt lift in top-of-mind awareness. This ad had a strong message and an engaging creative. When Porsche ran their Boxster Spyder campaign, their ad had an engaging video of the car in its natural environment. This ad had a 41pt lift in ad recall and a 3pt lift in message association. Adidas ran a campaign to increase awareness in Portland of their Supershell shoe. From this campaign, Adidas had a 24pt ad recall and 12pt lift in campaign awareness because they used a colorful creative. The World Golf Tour ran a campaign to increase mobile app downloads. By using Instagram and Facebook ads, WGT had 44% lower cost per install, 25% higher return on ad spend, and 10x more engagement on Instagram. WGT used an image to show viewers what to expect when playing the app. McDonald’s ran an ad using creative imagery to raise awareness on their campaign “I crave for a Mac” in Poland. This ad had a 57pt lift in ad recall and an 11pt lift in campaign awareness. This campaign had the best results of any campaign to date. KitKat ran a campaign in India to drive brand awareness and message association. KitKat was able to achieve their goals by getting a 42pt lift in ad recall and a 6pt lift in message association. KitKat used engaging imagery to tell users that they need to take a break and travel.

There are three different ad formats that advertisers can use on Instagram as explained on Instagram’s advertising information page. The first ad format is photo ads. These ads allow businesses to post one photo and tells their story through the image. This can help businesses show of their products which will increase sales. The second ad format is video ads. Video ads allow customers to get the same visual quality as photos but incorporate sound and motion. Videos can be up to 30 seconds in either landscape or vertical format. By posting a video, customers can see your product in motion making your post even more engaging. The final ad format is the carousel ads. These ads allow businesses to show multiple images in one post. Users can swipe to see more images allowing businesses to promote more than one product at a time. If businesses only want to promote one product, they can use carousal ads to show various views of the product or colors and styles of the product. Whichever ad format businesses use, they will get a lot out of their ad since they will be more eye appealing.


Instagram is a social media platform that I recommend your business should use. The ads are simple to make, engaging, and you can reach a large audience. You can choose from one of three formats to fit your needs and reach one of either advertising objectives. When consumers are browsing on social media, they are more likely to pay attention to a picture or video than text. This is where Instagram advertising can be very useful for your business.

I hope that this post has helped you decide whether or not your business should try using Instagram to advertise. Please provide any thoughts you have related to advertising on Instagram in the comments below. Happy advertising!

Advertising on Instagram. (n.d). Retrieved on April 25, 2016 from https://business.instagram.com/advertising
 Case Studies. (n.d.). Retrieved on April 25, 2016 from https://business.instagram.com/#case-studies
Kharpal, A. Facebook’s Instagram hits 400M users, beats Twitter. CNBC. Sep 23, 2015. Retrieved on April 28, 2015 from http://www.cnbc.com/2015/09/23/instagram-hits-400-million-users-beating-twitter.html
Smith, C. By the Numbers: 170+ Interesting Instagram Statistics (April 2016). DMR. Retrieved April 28, 2016 from http://expandedramblings.com/index.php/important-instagram-stats/

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