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Instagram is a big business. The photo- and video-sharing social media platform, which launched in 2010, has exploded in popularity for brand marketing. More than 17 million businesses are now advertising on Instagram every month, reports Hootsuite. If you’re considering joining them, a wide variety of options for promoting your brand are ready for you to explore.

One billion Instagram accounts are active every month, and more than 500 million Instagram accounts are active every day. That’s a lot of people and businesses in all corners of the globe. In fact, most Instagram users are based outside the U.S.

Instagram offers a lot of ways to reach a broad range of different markets, but there’s no reason to feel lost. We’ve mapped out this Instagram marketing guide to help you fill in the blanks. Get ready to chart a successful Instagram marketing campaign for your company or brand.

Instagram Marketing Objectives

Brands choose to market on Instagram for so many different reasons. Some of the objectives they might have in doing so include:

  • Boosting Brand Awareness: Instagram’s emphasis on photos and videos can help make brands instantly and visually recognizable within new markets.
  • Driving Website Traffic: Whether through features like links in their Instagram bios, calls to action or Instagram Stories, brands are using Instagram to drive traffic to their websites.
  • Generating Leads: Instagram’s high engagement rates, niche targeting and enormous reach can help brands generate more leads.
  • Boosting Conversions: Instagram boosts conversions. For example, brands like Lacoste and Gap saw impressive returns on ad spend and higher click-through rates from their 2018 Instagram marketing campaigns.
  • Recruiting Talent: Companies ranging from Trip Advisor to Taco Bell are using Instagram to recruit talent and give prospective employees glimpses of their company cultures.
  • Boosting Store Traffic and/or Catalog Sales: Instagram’s shoppable posts can deliver customers right to your online or brick-and-mortar doorstep.
  • Increasing Reach: With its worldwide popularity, Instagram offers both broad and deep reach for marketers and brands.
  • Growing Engagement: Loyal Instagram followers love to like, comment and share, which helps brands engage and build trust with them. A key part of Nike’s winning Instagram strategy is to grow engagement as the brand focuses on personalization for its followers.
  • Introducing New Products or Services: Instagram’s emphasis on photos and videos makes it an optimal avenue for spotlighting a brand’s new services or products with visually appealing posts.
  • Promoting Brand Values and/or Company History: Companies and brands that have been around for a while still might not be that familiar to younger consumers. They can attract attention with interesting images that showcase the fascinating aspects of their histories, as IBM has done. They can also show consumers that they share the same values.

Types of Instagram Ads

Instagram offers a number of different types of ads that brands can use for marketing. These include slideshow ads, photo ads, video ads, carousel ads, Stories ads, collection ads and within-the-app ads.

For instance, slideshow ads allow brands to create lightweight video ads from still photos. This lets brands use images they already have if they don’t want to spend the money or time shooting new ones. With carousel ads for Instagram Stories, brands can sell their products via rotating images and videos.

Advertising on Instagram works by specifically targeting the markets that brands want to reach. This allows them to select audiences based on options like location, behaviors, demographics and interests.

Instagram Target Audience

Instagram’s audience skews younger than Facebook’s, as most of Instagram’s demographic is in their teens, twenties or early thirties. However, Instagram users over the age of 50 are on the upswing, as they’re becoming more comfortable using social media. In the U.S., more than 56 percent of Instagram users are female, notes Statista.

Instagram users are also more likely to live in cities rather than the suburbs and are more likely to have college educations. Sixty percent of people making six figures or more use Instagram, according to Hootsuite. Most income brackets below that see fairly substantial usage of the platform, too.

If your brand is already on Instagram, you can easily view your followers’ stats on the app by going to Insights and clicking on Audience. There, you can keep track of your Instagram followers by age, gender and location. Instagram reaches target markets for both consumer and B2B brands, opening up a world of possibilities for you to make valuable connections.

The Benefits of Using Instagram Marketing

Instagram provides an array of benefits that can assist brands in reaching new markets and successfully engaging with audiences.

  • Ease in Targeting a Wide Range of Markets: Instagram makes it easier for small brands to capture larger audiences and vice versa. One of the benefits of Instagram is that you can target everything from broad international markets to niche local markets. This is easier when you utilize the extensive data Instagram collects on its users.
  • Maximizes Mobile Market: Instagram is popular with the lucrative, on-the-go mobile market. For example more than a third of Instagram users have bought clothing and fashion items online using their smartphones.
  • Brands Can Use Facebook Data for Instagram Ads: Facebook owns Instagram, so if you’ve advertised on Facebook, you can use all your Facebook market data to advertise on Instagram too. You can also use Facebook Ad Manager to create and track your Instagram ads and tweak them when necessary for better results.
  • Better Engagement Rates: Instagram’s engagement rates are the highest on social media. Followers react to the platform’s compelling photo and video posts with likes, shares and comments.
  • Helps Brands Tap into the Power of Influencers: Instagram is popular with influencers for collaborations with brands. Influencer marketing on Instagram can help brands cut through the clutter and create brand awareness, loyalty, leads and conversions. Instagram influencers can help brands build new relationships, too. Followers trust the influencers to steer them towards things that interest them and that give them valuable information.
  • Makes Shopping Online Easier: Instagram advertisers can link directly to product pages from their posts with features like the “Shop Now” button. This makes it quicker and easier for consumers to buy.
  • Customizable CTA Buttons: Your brand can customize its call-to-action buttons on Instagram. Choose from five different types and test which ones work best for you.
  • Get Feedback and Answer Questions: Your target audience can direct message you on Instagram. That means you can get valuable feedback and insights from them and answer any questions they might have about your product or brand.
  • Brands Can Target a Variety of Income Levels: You can market anything from budget to big-ticket items on Instagram, reaching audiences that have wide ranges in income levels.
  • Tools to Track and Boost Results: Thanks to Instagram’s success, there are plenty of tools out there, like Crowdfire, Iconosquare and Soldsie, to help you track and improve your marketing results.
  • Organic Growth: Brands get organic growth with Instagram because they don’t have to pay for followers and likes.
  • Industry-specific Influencers: Influencers for practically every industry are found on Instagram, from fashion, food and beauty to sports and finance. Brands can target select niche markets within industries too. For example, within the food industry, vegetarian influencers can help brands target vegetarian followers on Instagram.