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Instagram Advertising: Is It Right For You?

Instagram has recently announced that they are going to start displaying ads in its Explore tab. The Explore section allows users to browse new content while discovering new accounts based on their interests. The platform says they will be introducing ads “slowly and thoughtfully” in the coming months. They want Explore to be the best place for people to discover something new and for businesses to connect with people who may become meaningful customers

Instagram is becoming an increasingly popular marketing platform, as it has been reported they’re experiencing more user engagement growth than its parent company, Facebook. This new update gives advertisers even greater opportunities to reach users beyond just their feeds. While the benefits to advertising on Instagram are rapidly growing, the cons are still there. So, how can you be sure that Instagram is the right platform for you? 

How Instagram Advertising Works

As most other social platforms, Instagram advertising is utilized to grow brand exposure, website traffic, generate new leads, and hopefully get leads closer to converting. As the platform is visually based, text ads are not a thing here. Marketers must use images, a set of images, or videos, which can be accompanied with text, to reach users. 

The Pros 

Ultra Specific Targeting Capabilities 

Instagram falls under Facebook, meaning marketers have access to the same demographic targeting mechanisms on both platforms. Companies can target users based on interests, location, behavior, etc. Instagram offers a variety of campaign goal options, ensuring marketers are optimizing ad spend. 

Unique Visual Ad Formating 

Instagram ads allow marketers to maximize the extent of visual content. Companies can captivate users and create brand awareness by using high quality photos or videos. These photos and videos can be displayed as traditional posts, or there is the option to show them as stories as well. Companies have also started to reach out to influencers on the platform. Influencers are users that have a large and established following, whom companies have started paying to promote their products on their account. 

Higher Engagement Rates 

Instagram is a personal, conversational, and engaging platform. Engagement rates are 10 times higher than Facebook, 54 times higher than Pinterest, and 84 times higher than Twitter. Their formatting makes it possible for users to gain access to sales pages in just one click. Marketers can include call-to-actions to begin the checkout process, encouraging purchases straight from the app. This design eliminates the usual obstacles involved with online sales, allowing for instant gratification. 

The Cons 

Limited Audience 

While the platform offers a monthly user base of over 800 million, 90% of their users are under 35 years of age. Instagram is perfect for brands looking to engage with a younger audience, but those with an older target audience may find themselves struggling. While there are older users, very few are active. It’s also not the best platform to reach men. While they are on Instagram, it’s not as heavily as on other apps. Those brands exclusively targeting older ages or men may find it better for ROI to turn to other advertising platforms. 


Staying fresh and relevant is crucial on a platform with large numbers of younger users. Authenticity is especially important here compared to search platforms, such as AdWords. Users begin to notice if brands are constantly regurgitating the same content just to increase posts. Brands have to be consistent with responding to comments, posting new content, and incorporating as many visual elements as possible to encourage interaction.

Required to Work Through Mobile Devices 

While you can access the platform through a web browser, abilities are extremely limited. Users are required to post through apps on mobile devices. Once the ads are initially posted they can be shared easily throughout multiple campaigns, but you must be able to access the account on a mobile device. Brands that aren’t so mobile-friendly may run into frequent obstacles. 

Conclusion: Is it right for your business? 

The biggest factor that goes into the answer to this question is target demographic. If your target audience is exclusively those 50 and up, Instagram is probably not the ideal advertising platform. That doesn’t mean you should immediately dismiss the possibility of Instagram ads. Similar to what happened to their parent company, Facebook, the number of older users will increase as the platform continues to grow. The decision is ultimately up to what you believe is right for your brand. 

At Onimod Global we are experts in SEM and social media. We know which platforms are best for brands, and create visibility for brands where customers are searching, interating, and ultimately converting. Find out more about we do here, or contact us today here.