Sunday, February 26, 2017

Social Media Stats 101 ... everything you need to know

Image result for Social Media Advertising Stats

It feels like every month a social network unveils a new social media advertising tool. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn have long planted their flags in this territory, while Instagram, Pinterest, and Snapchat are quickly gaining ground. This explosion in advertising options has left a lot of brands trying hard to play catch-up.

If you’re still not sure why you should put money behind your social media campaigns, we’ve gathered a long list of social media advertising stats that should help motivate you.

And then when you’re ready, read our Complete Guide to Social Media Advertising to get started on your own paid ad campaigns.

Social media advertising usage statistics
Social media advertising budgets have doubled worldwide over the past 2 years—going from $16 billion U.S. in 2014 to $31 billion in 2016

But despite this growing investment in social advertising, 46 percent of B2B marketers say they’re unsure whether their channels have generated any revenue for their business.
Social media spending in the U.S. alone is expected increase to $17.34 billion in 2019

That’s no small number. Marketers have recognized that social media advertising is a tool that they’re going to need to understand and use if they’re going to succeed at reaching coveted social media users moving forward.

This statistic shows that they’re making a commitment to doing just that.

Social media advertising isn’t only a North American phenomenon either…
In 2017, analysts predicted a 26.3% global increase on spending for social media ads

Of course North Americans are heavy users of social media, but so are people in South America, Europe, Asia, Africa… you get my point. Social media is being used everywhere, and social media advertising is growing globally. Regardless of your market, you can find ways to make social advertising work for you. This far reach is probably the reason that…
Social media ad spending is likely to exceed $35 billion in 2017, representing 16 percent of all digital ad spending globally

The actual number is $35.98 billion if you want to get technical. That represents an increase of almost $13 billion in just two years. Not only that, it means that social media will have maintained consistent growth (of about $6 billion every year) for nearly half a decade. Often these trends rise rapidly for a year or two and plateau. If social media advertising spend continues on this curve, there’s no telling how the industry and tools will evolve.

But that kind of spending must reflect just how expensive the ads themselves are, right? Well, actually…Over 50 percent of B2B marketers rank social media as a ‘very’ or ‘somewhat’ low cost ad option

A survey asked 200 B2B marketers to rate the cost of demand generation channels based on the cost per lead. Just over 50 percent of the respondents ranked social media as “very low cost” or “somewhat low cost.”

This compares to 42.5 percent for search ads, and 41.7 percent for display ads. The truth is, social media ads are generally quite affordable. Many networks offer you the opportunity to test your content organically before promoting it, so you know you’re giving yourself the best opportunity to connect with your target audience. Plus, there are countless other ways to keep the cost of your social advertising low.

Social media advertising stats by network

TwitterTwitter advertising revenue totaled $545 million in Q3 of 2016, an increase of 60% year-over-year

Twitter’s earnings report laid it out clearly on the table: more people are turning to Twitter ads than ever before.

Twitter was one of the first networks to recognize and capitalize on the potential of social media advertising. In the years since they launched their first ad options, adoption has grown rapidly and steadily. With 60 percent growth year-over-year, there’s little doubt that Twitter ads have proven their worth as an effective option for businesses.

That may have a little something to do with Twitter’s great focus on mobile…
Mobile advertising revenue accounted for 86% of total Twitter advertising revenue

The future of technology lives in your pocket. People use smartphones so much today that every business is scrambling to optimize for mobile. Twitter has always been ahead of the game in terms of their mobile app development, and the same is true of their mobile advertising opportunities. It’s quite clear from this stat that mobile is where advertisers want to be, and that Twitter has managed to get them there.

So how do these revenue numbers translate into usage? Well…
By June of 2014, nearly 80% of U.S. marketers were using promoted Tweets

Yes the stat is old, but that’s the point. By June of 2014, nearly 80 percent of U.S. marketers were using promoted Tweets. That figure shows the rapid adoption of Twitter ads, but it’s also safe to assume that the number will have increased since then, especially as Twitter expanded its advertising platform.

When more than 80 percent of marketers are using a specific tool, you have to believe that they’re garnering some value from doing so. And if you were to look at the data, it would seem to back up this theory.

In 2016, total Promoted Tweet engagements were up 91% year-over-year—much higher than traditional banner ads

Simply put, Twitter ads drive engagement. They’re targeting options allow you to connect with a very specific audience and provide them with content you’ve tested and know that they are interested in. This all translates into more engagement and more benefits to your business.

While Twitter is one of the social media advertising pioneers, there’s a younger player in the game…

Instagram will bring in $1.53 billion in mobile ad revenue worldwide this year

Instagram ads are not to be underestimated. The social network started partnering up with big brands to test their advertising early in 2015, and the results turned heads.

In their first year of existence, Instagram ads pulled in an impressive $595 million. And, in 2016 that number has doubled. Those are incredible figures. And income is only one measurement. The other is eyes on the screen…
Instagram has over 500 million active monthly users—almost all of whom are under 35

As a mobile-first social network, Instagram is placed perfectly to capitalize mobile’s growth into the main vehicle of social network usage. Instagram is also most widely used by the next generation of buyers—90 percent of users are under 35. With Instagram ads, brands will be able to connect with consumers where they are—on mobile—and make an impression right now on young users whose incomes and spending will only increase year after year.

Finally, Instagram ads fit seamlessly into the native browsing experience. In other words, Instagram is an advertisers dream. Still, Instagram ads are a new tool, and haven’t really proven themselves in the long term.

But people are remembering them…
Ad recall from sponsored posts on Instagram was 2.9x higher than Nielsen’s norms for online advertising

In over 475 global campaigns, Nielsen found that ad recall on Instagram exceeded the norms for online advertising by almost three times. In other words, Instagram ads are memorable; they make a lasting impression on the people that see them. That is no easy task in a social media world flooded by content. As brands continue to experiment with and discover social media advertising, this statistic should put Instagram ads on everyone’s radar.
By the third quarter of 2016, Facebook brought in $6.8 billion in advertising revenue, up from $4.3 billion the year before

Instagram’s estimated $1.53 billion in ad revenue this year is impressive, but let’s not forget who bought whom. Facebook reported a remarkable $6.8 billion in advertising revenue this year. The figure grew by more than a billion dollars year-over-year—think about what that means for Facebook’s annual ad revenue.


The fact is, Facebook is the biggest social network in the world and, because of its widespread usage, many brands are more comfortable experimenting with ads on Facebook than anywhere else. Plus, it has a proven track record when it comes to social media advertising.

On Facebook, desktop ads have 8.1x higher click-through rates and mobile ads have 9.1x higher click-through rates than normal web ads

Think about that. Facebook joined the advertising game long after display ads and search ads had established themselves as a tool for businesses. In a very short amount of time, the social network was able to create ads that are far less obtrusive and far more effective than their counterparts. Between eight and nine percent higher click through rates should be enough to get you on board with Facebook ads. But this stat doesn’t even bring up the fact that Facebook ads (and, as mentioned above, social media ads in general) are often cheaper than other online alternatives.

Facebook’s impressive ad revenue growth can also be attributed to another factor, namely their increasing role as a leader in social video.

Over 70% percent of marketers plan to increase their use of video ads next year

This stat, from a report by Mixpo, really shows that Facebook has become the platform of choice for video advertisers. Advertisers and agencies are clearly putting their trust in Facebook for all ad types, even those where Facebook is only now starting to gain a foothold.

If you look at the chart, Facebook clearly played second fiddle when it comes to video advertising in the last year. But it has quickly surpassed the video powerhouse that is YouTube in terms of advertising interest.

That’s no small feat considering…


The number of YouTube channels earning 6 figures per year is up 50% year-over-year

This is an important sign for the video network. Despite all of Facebook’s gains, those who advertise on YouTube continue to increase their spend. One would imagine that this means the ads are working, and working well.

Well enough, at least, to support an increasingly diverse array of content creators.

And who are these advertisers?
100% of the top 100 global brands have run YouTube ads in the past year

YouTube has serious respect amongst big brands. While Facebook is becoming the video advertising tool for every business, YouTube is still maintaining—and as we saw above, actually increasing—powerful relationships with the biggest brands in the world.


While we’re on the topic of big brands…
Snapchat’s Sponsored Selfie Filters, which could cost up to $750,000 per day, are forecasted to reach 16 million viewers daily

Snapchat has a bit of a history of charging the big bucks for ads, and it seems to be working well for them. CEO Evan Spiegel and his team have forecasted that Sponsored Selfie Filters, which essentially allow users to turn their selfies into ads, will reach up to 16 million viewers a day. With the cost of these ads maxing out at $750,000 per day, you can bet Snapchat is turning to the biggest brands in the world, or at least those with huge social media advertising budgets.


And Snapchat is not the only newcomer to social media advertising. Pinterest has been around for a while, but it’s growing super fast. Although Instagram sees twice as many eyes as Pinterest daily, this social bookmarking platform is rife with inspired people who are looking to purchase. How many?
150 million people use Pinterest every month

That number is impressive, especially given that last year it was a third less. A jump of 50 percent in 12 months indicates something happening on the platform that all companies—small businesses and behemoth brands alike—can pay attention to. Even if you’re not a Pinterest aficionado, they’re making it easy for marketers to promote using the platform. Like Facebook, they’ve streamlined the process. It takes nine short seconds to go from viewing a Pin to promoting it.

That nine seconds sits between advertisers and 150 million fresh-faced creative users, 93 percent of whom have shopped online in the last month. Whether users are using social media as a wishlist or a shopping cart, studies have shown that they are actively browsing. This could be the reason that Pins with prices on them get 36 percent more likes than those without. And price doesn’t stop people from buying—the average order on Pinterest is $50—higher than any other social media platform.

Automating Twitter 101

How to Automate Twitter To Get Attention and Grow Your Followers

The social web has amplified many truths about humanity.

Some of us will do anything to get noticed and build a brand. This even includes some new dubious tactics such as fake news and alternate truth. They have been used to both divert and attract scrutiny.

The reality is that most people love a bit of attention. It is how we are wired.

Attention seeking can come in many forms and constant posting on Facebook and other social networks has now become part of that routine and habit.

Too much sharing can see us being accused of being a narcissist. The question that it raises….. where does narcissism and a healthy self worth start and stop?

It is a question that I wrote about in the New York Times titled “On the Social Web, Everyone has a Voice, Everyone is Judged”

And your answer maybe different to mine.
5 reasons we share

I have always been intrigued by the power of social media and why we share so much. It was one of the first things I noticed about people’s online social media behaviour nearly 10 years ago. But there is more than one reason we share content on the social web and attention seeking is only one.

In a post on Co-Schedule based on the research from the New York Times Customer Insight Group they reveal the top 5 reasons people share on social.

The first two on the list resonate with me.
To bring valuable and entertaining content to others
To define ourselves to others

At its simplest level this can be done two ways. By taking the big step of starting a blog and then publishing our opinions and thoughts online or just simply sharing other people’s posts and updates.

Curating content worth sharing is one way to scale your content.
Curating is time consuming

But manual curating is time consuming.

Another reality is that there is a lot of crap content on the web. So constant sifting and sorting is a time sink.

The flip side is that there are some sensational authors, bloggers and creators who publish content worth reading, viewing and sharing. The challenge is that we don’t have much time and spending all day just sharing is not efficient or productive time management.
So here is the thing….you can automate curation on Twitter.
How to automate Twitter content curation

For many years I was using Twitterfeed to automate other top bloggers and influencers new blog posts.

This app automatically shared on Twitter when it detected that their posts had been published. But this simple software tool was closed down last year.

I wrote blog posts on how to do it these included.
The Twitter Tool I Can’t Do Without
10 Smart Tips For Creating, Marketing and Sharing content on Twitter

And guess what?….people included my blog when they set it up. So after a while I noticed was getting 300 instant Twitter shares on auto pilot from my Twitter tribe after publishing a new post.
So I started looking for another tool to replace Twitterfeed. The tool I am now using is

So how do you set it up to share great content, attract attention from top bloggers and influencers, be effective and save valuable time?
Step 1. Identify your topic ecosystem

One of the biggest challenges as a blogger and content creator is coming up with new topics to write about. It’s also what you need to think about when looking for your sources of reading and inspiration.

So before setting up you need to identify the topic subject categories that fit into your eco-system of interests.

For me these include:

  • Digital marketing of any flavour: Social media marketing, content marketing and email marketing
  • Blogging tips: This includes search engines and conversion strategies to grow traffic and revenue
  • Innovation: Some topics here include growth hacking that combines the art and science of marketing
  • Technology: Apps and and artificial intelligence and marketing automation tools
  • Entrepreneurship – The skills for building a business in a digital world

And a few others that include writing, personal development and publishing.

This can also be a good exercise while identifying your key phrases for search engines. It is really worth sitting down and getting clarity on this. It will drive your SEO strategy and content creation planning.
Step 2: Find trusted bloggers

There are many bloggers who publish regular quality content.

If they publish once a day that is maybe optimal but once a week is fine too.

My aim is to find a few that I know all add value to my followers on Twitter. Personal brands are my first choice. Corporate blogs can be good but I like that hands on approach and tactical insights that you get from the blogger that shares their insights in a practical manner.

I am sure that most of us have our favourites.

How many should you select? This is completely personal and I have about 15 to 25 bloggers that publish regularly who I share on Twitter.
Step 3: Identify their blog feed (RSS)

This is quite straight forward and just put in the blog URL and will pull up the right RSS feed that will trigger the automated sharing of the blog post when a new post is published.

So enter the URL for the blog. In this example I am using Jeff Goin’s Writing blog as an example here.

You may see the description as being a bit strange so you can edit it later. Click on the “Plus (+) button at the bottom right corner. You have now added your first blog.
Step 4. Connect it to Twitter

Now you can use other social networks but I use Twitter most of the time because it is not strangled by algorithms that can hide your sharing.

Click on the Twitter account to connect it and start posting straight away.

Step 5: Add a suffix to the tweet

Now this is simple but important and should not be overlooked. Add the @mention Twitter name of the blog you are sharing.

When they scan their notifications stream they will see that you are sharing their content.

So how does it look after we have arranged the RSS automation and set it up in the platform?

Here is a tweet on my Twitter account that detected that Mark Schaefer had published a new post and includes the all important suffix with via @markwscahefer.

Wrapping it up

Automated curation sharing on Twitter is not complicated and is something I have done for years.

Using tools to increase your productivity and scaling your efforts should be part of your ongoing strategy.

It is a simple tactic but over time it will achieve a few goals.
Add value to your Twitter tribe
Attract more Twitter followers
Save you time. My estimate is about 20-30 hours a month
Alert you to the latest and best content from bloggers that you trust
Invite attention from influencers in your industry niche
Attract more blog and website traffic

So for me it ticks a lot of boxes.

It doesn’t mean that you stop looking for new content to share manually but automated curation of great content from bloggers that you know and trust is effective.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Instagram Ads 101: The Complete Guide for Business

According to a Pew Research study, 55 percent of all 18- to 29-year-olds in the United States are using Instagram. That’s a whole generation of people viewing the world through sepia-filtered glasses.

Companies who can harness the power of that platform to share what’s great about their business stand to grow their presence and profit among millennials considerably.
One of the best ways a business can make use of the photo-sharing platform is to invest in Instagram ads. Advertisers of all sizes are seeing fantastic results. From driving mass awareness, to increasing website sales and mobile app downloads, Instagram offers limitless possibilities for the creative marketer.

Why advertise on Instagram?
Instagram ads have proven to be an effective means for generating new business. A report from market research firm eMarketer predicts that nearly three quarters of American companies with 100 employees or more will turn to the photo-sharing app for marketing purposes in 2017—up from a little more than half this year, reports Mashable.
Instagram offers several compelling case studies demonstrating the effectiveness of their ad features.
They measure each campaign’s success based on metrics such as reach, ad recall, and awareness, instead of likes, comments, and follower counts over the span of the campaign.
For example, monthly book subscription service Read Dog Books used Instagram Stories to connect with its audience while running a single ad campaign on Instagram and Facebook to encourage people to subscribe. The result? A seven times return on ad spend.

A study conducted by Forrester in 2016 reviewed how the top 50 global brands market on social media. Forrester evaluated 11.8 million user interactions on 2,489 posts made by 249 branded profiles. Data was collected on how many top brands use each social network, how many fans they have, how often they post, and how often users interact with their posts. Forrester found that the average number of Instagram followers for a top brand is now over 1 million—almost five times higher than in 2015.
Instagram users aren’t just following their friends and celebrities anymore. They are following their favorite brands too. Could that be you?

Types of Instagram ads

There are three main types of Instagram ads to choose from. Whether your goal is to build brand awareness, get more website visits, or increase downloads of your mobile app, Instagram can help you access a huge, engaged audience. Read on for a rundown of photo, video, and carousel ads, and then watch the video below to determine which is the best option for your business.

Instagram photo ads

With photo ads, businesses can tell their story and feature products through visually engaging imagery. Market your brand to a broad audience or just the customers in your hometown with guaranteed impressions.
For example, Brazilian paint brand, Suvinil launched an Instagram ads campaign focused on a specific target audience—people over 35. With the help of Instagram’s segmentation tools, Suvinil targeted people who might be interested in buying their paint. People who announced moving, or had recently changed their relationship status, as well as people who had interests in pregnancy and decor.
In just 2 months, the campaign achieved a 15-point increase in ad recall on Instagram.

Instagram video ads

You can make Instagram video ads up to 60 seconds long, but according to data from Wista, the first 30 seconds of a social video is what matters most. If you can hook your audience in that timeframe, they are more likely to stick around and engage.
Many brands have had great success with Instagram video ads. Creative app company Lightricks used beautiful Instagram videos to help them hit the top of the download charts with their new app Enlight.

The direct-response video ads were a huge hit, boosting Lightricks’ conversion rate by 50 percent compared to non-Instagram campaigns. They achieved enormous reach and a lower cost per install, while racking up 40 million post engagements along the way. In the end, Enlight secured more than 300,000 downloads and hit the number one spot in the global iOS paid app charts.

Instagram carousel ads

With carousel ads, Instagram users can swipe to see additional images and a call to action button takes them to a website to learn more. Carousel ads are like the digital version of the multi-page print campaigns of yesteryear. Unlike print ads, carousel ads offer the added benefit of taking people to a website to learn more.
For example, a new restaurant could showcase how multiple ingredients come together to make a delicious meal. Once their appetite is whet, you can have a button that directs them to the reservations page of your website.
Running race organizer Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series wanted to encourage people to sign up for one of its events, so it created targeted carousel ads on Instagram to promote its one-day sale.
The team first targeted people who had registered for a past event, and then generated a new audience based on those runners’ friends and people who shared their interests. The company ran a teaser video ad in the two days leading up to the single-day Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon sale. The video boosted awareness of the race series and alerted people to the upcoming sale.
The race company then targeted carousel link ads to those people who interacted with the video. The ad featured runners holding signs announcing the lowest prices of the year, while a series of calls to action invited people to sign up.

The Rock ‘n’ Roll team succeeded with its Instagram ad winter sale promo, achieving a 24 time return on ad spend and a 52 percent increase in registrations, year-over-year.

Call-to-action buttons

In late 2015 Instagram added several new features to its advertising platform, including call-to-action buttons such as Shop Now and Install Now. The Call to Action (CTA) button is designed to bring a business’ most important objective to the front lines of its Instagram presence. Call to action buttons link to any destination on or off Instagram that aligns with a business’s goals.

How to choose the best Instagram ad for your business

Watch the below video to learn how to choose an Instagram ad type that aligns with your business objectives.
Learn how to get even more out of Instagram with free social media training from Hootsuite Academy.

How to advertise on Instagram

To run ads on Instagram you’ll first need a Facebook page. Facebook now owns Instagram and the two platforms work in conjunction. Pages are for brands, organizations, and public figures.
Like Facebook profiles, Pages can be customized with stories, events and more. People who like a Page can get updates in News Feed. Learn more about setting up a Facebook page for your business with Hootsuite’s Facebook Marketing: The Complete Guide. Once you have that process down, you can get started with Instagram ads.

First, sign up for Business Manager

  1. Go to
  2. Click Create Account.
  3. Enter a name for your business, select the primary Page, and enter your name and work email address. If you don’t yet have a Page for your business.
  4. Move through the rest of the on-boarding flow by entering the rest of the required fields.
  5. Learn how to add people to Business Manager.

Once you have Business Manager setup, you can add your Instagram account

  1. Go to your Business Manager.
  2. On the left side of the page, click Business Settings then Instagram Accounts.
  3. Click Claim New Instagram Account.
  4. Add your username and password, then click Next.
  5. To authorize one or more of your ad accounts to use the Instagram account, check the box next to each ad account and click Save Changes.

Whoo! That was a lot of steps. Now you are ready to create your Instagram ad.

  1. Go to ad creation.
  2. Choose an objective from the list. Keep in mind that only the following objectives will allow you to create ads that will be eligible to appear on Instagram: Brand awarenessReachTraffic (for clicks to your website or to the app store for your app), App installsEngagement (for post engagement only), Video views, and Conversions (for conversions on your website or app).
  3. Note: Some of these objectives may look different when you create an ad. Learn more about the changes to objectives.
  4. Next to Campaign Name, add a name for your campaign or use the default name that appears.
Now it’s time to choose the audience for your ad.
In the Audience section, create an audience for your ad. You can choose audience characteristics such as age, gender, interests, behaviors, ethnic affinity, location, and even politics. Learn about the targeting options available.
Like Facebook ads, Instagram ads offer options to pay per engagement or by impression (CPM). The average cost per click for an Instagram ad in Q3 2016 was $0.72. If your boss has given you a specific budget for your Instagram ad campaign, you can set it in the Budget and Schedule section, where you can choose a budget and set your ad’s schedule.
You can choose either a daily budget or a lifetime budget for your campaign. Choose wisely.
  • Daily budget sets your ad up to run continuously throughout the day, meaning that the algorithm will automatically pace your spending per day. With this option there is a minimum daily budget depending on different factors in your campaign.
  • Lifetime budget gives your ad a run for a specified length of time, meaning the algorithm paces your spending over the entire time period that you set for the campaign.
You can set your optimization and bid options manually. In the Optimize for Ad Delivery section, you’ll update how you want to optimize your ad. In the Bid Amount section, you can choose a manual bid.
Next to Ad Set Name, add a name for your ad set or use the default name that appears.
In the Format section, choose the type of media you’d like your ad to include. Review the technical and design recommendations to make sure your photos and videos are putting their best foot forward.

Photo design recommendations

  • Image ratio: 1:1
  • Image size: 1080 x 1080 pixels
  • Caption: text only, 125 characters recommended

Photo technical requirements

  • Image ratio: Landscape (1.91:1), Square (1:1), Vertical (4:5)
  • Minimum resolution: 600 x 315 pixels (1.91:1 landscape) / 600 x 600 pixels (1:1 square) / 600 x 750 pixels (4:5 vertical)
  • Caption: text only, max 2,200 characters
  • Limited support for landscape format
  • Maximum resolution: 1936 x 1936 pixels
  • File type: .jpg or .png
  • Maximum size: 30MB
  • Your image may not include more than 20 percent text—Use Facebook’s text overlay tool to see how much text is on your image

Video design recommendations

  • Aspect Ratio: 1:1
  • File type: .mp4 container ideally with leading mov atom, no edit lists
  • Video: H.264 video compression, high profile preferred, square pixels, fixed frame rate, progressive scan
  • Audio: Stereo AAC audio compression, 128kbps + preferred
  • Caption: Text only, 125 characters recommended

Video technical requirements

  • Caption length text: 2,200 characters Max
  • Video aspect ratio: Landscape (1.91:1), Square (1:1), Vertical (4:5)
  • Minimum resolution: 600 x 315 pixels (1.91:1 landscape) / 600 x 600 pixels (1:1 square) / 600 x 750 pixels (4:5 vertical)
  • Minimum length: 3 seconds
  • Maximum length: 60 seconds
  • File type: Full list of supported file formats
  • Supported video codecs: H.264, VP8
  • Supported audio codecs: AAC, Vorbis
  • Maximum size: 4 GB
  • Frame rate: 30fps max
  • Bitrate: No limit to bitrate file if you’re using two pass encoding, as long as your file doesn’t exceed 1 GB. Otherwise, 8 megabits per second for 1080p and 4 megabits per second for 720p.
  • Thumbnail image ratio: Should match the aspect ratio of your video. Your image should include minimal text. See how the amount of text in your ad image will impact the reach of your ad.
Fill in the details of your ad. Choose your headline, text, and call-to-action button (if needed). Click Show Advanced Options for additional creative options. Keep in mind that creative options may differ based on the ad objective you choose.
Below Ad Preview, you’ll see all of the placements your ad will be shown on. By default, all of the placements will be selected. It’s recommended that you run your ads on Facebook and Instagram at the same time. But if you’d like to only show your ads on Instagram, click Remove next to all of the placements except for Instagram.
Once you’ve completed your ad (hooray!), click Place Order in the bottom-right corner. Don’t forget to review your ad closely before hitting the big green button. Since your ads have the potential to be seen by a large audience, you can’t risk a typo or inappropriate joke. If you’d feel better getting a teammate’s eyes on them before they fly out into the world, set your schedule to include a delay, but still place your order.

How to advertise on Instagram using Hootsuite

There’s no need to jump back and forth between Facebook ad tools and Instagram itself. With Hootsuite Ads you can manage and optimize Instagram ads (as well as Facebook ads) from the same platform that you do all your other social marketing tasks on.
Hootsuite Ads allows you to easily promote Instagram posts from streams, target and split test, preview ads, and measure success with built-in analytics.

How to advertise on Instagram using AdEspresso

If you don’t need enterprise-strength features and services, AdEspresso by Hootsuite makes it super easy to create, analyze, and optimize Instagram ads. Plus it’s designed—and priced—specifically for small and mid-sized organizations.

Instagram ads best practices

Know your audience

One of the most wonderful features of Instagram ads is the targeting capabilities. Rather than sending a photo of your business out into the ether, you can send it directly to people who might already be interested in what you have to offer.
Who might those customers be? Our handy guide to creating audience personas outlines the questions you need to ask yourself to determine who your customers are. How old are they? Where do they live? What sorts of jobs do they have? What do they do outside of work?
Check out the video below to learn more about targeting and optimizing your Instagram ads.
Learn how to get even more out of Instagram with free social media training from Hootsuite Academy.

Captivate with captions

Images aren’t everything. The caption on your Instagram post provides an excellent opportunity to show off your brand’s personality. Your brand voice is part of you broader social media marketing plan. Start by asking yourself: what are the qualities and values I want my brand to promote? Make a list and use it to shape your image. You might also try brainstorming a few adjectives that describe your brand and use those to refine the voice.

Use hashtags

Instagram posts with at least one hashtag average 12.6 percent more engagement than those with no hashtags, according to a study by Simply Measured. So use them when they are relevant to your post and target audience—but don’t use so many that they crowd your copy and make it difficult to read. Learn more about hashtagging like a pro in The Complete Instagram Hashtag Guide for Business.

Be consistent

Using the same filter or style on your brand’s Instagram posts can give your feed a consistent look. Your audience will recognize you right away in their feed. Researchers found that 90 percent of immediate judgments made about a product can be based on color alone. Not only that but “the relationship between brands and color hinges on the perceived appropriateness of the color being used for the particular brand.”
Pick up some Expert Design Tips For Your Social Media Images and choose your theme wisely.


Lessons Brands Can Learn from the Most Creative Accounts on Instagram

With 500 million active users, it can be hard to stand out from the crowd on Instagram. It just isn’t enough anymore to create your account, post beautiful pictures every now and then, and like a few photos. Brands, influencers, and the everyday Instagrammer are stepping outside the 1080px by 1080px square box and pushing the boundaries on creativity. If you really want your account to stand out from the brunch pics, selfies, and photos of feet, you need to think creatively.

As a way of surfacing the best Instagram campaigns, the Hootsuite social team created a curated account called Hootsuite Showcase. Featuring uniquely awesome accounts or campaigns on Instagram, it is a resource for inspiration and an easy way to see what others are doing on the platform. Each account or campaign featured on the showcase has been chosen for a specific reason, but they all share one thing in common: exceptional creativity. Viewed as a ‘Best of Instagram,’ there are plenty of lessons that can be learned from content featured on the Hootsuite Showcase1. Aim for consistency of imagery and theme
 Find MoMo by @Andrewknapp
Creating (and sticking to) an Instagram theme isn’t the easiest thing to do, but taking that extra time to nail-down your signature style goes a long way. Whether it’s focusing on a theme or using the same filter (or editing technique) for all your photos, having consistency will take out the guessing game and keep people coming back.
One of my favorite examples is Canadian designer, photographer and Instagrammer Andrew Knapp, who is particularly fond of hide-and-seek. Knapp takes creative photos in which his border collie Momo is hidden among buildings, crowds, or breathtaking landscapes, giving followers the chance to play Where’s Waldo with the playful pup. The Instagram photos are beautiful and it’s surprisingly challenging to find Momo. Knapp’s photos are consistent in lighting and color, and I truly look forward to seeing his photos in my feed and searching for Momo.

Lesson No. 2: Utilize Instagram’s grid layout to help customers

#EndlessTable by @reynoldskitchens
7 Lessons Brands Can Learn from Instagram’s Most Creative Accounts | Hootsuite Blog
Image via Reynolds Kitchen on Instagram.
Any Instagram user with a little bit of game knows that part of the platform’s appeal is its clean, grid-style design. If you visit any user’s profile, you’ll see their images laid out in a grid with three images across. But have you ever thought about using Instagram’s grid layout in your strategy? It takes a lot of planning, designing, and detailing, but when done correctly it can make a real impact. Reynolds Kitchens are experts at this, and tapped into a huge #foodie fan base. I mean, who doesn’t love hearty comfort foods?
Working with creative agency Havas Worldwide Chicago they created a social campaign that is sure to inspire hunger pangs. The amazingness that is the #EndlessTable consists of one giant table split into dozens of separate images by utilizing Instagram’s grid layout. Each image features a scrumptious recipes for every occasion and season (notice the Thanksgiving and Halloween treats!).
When you click on an image like the sweet potato and kale salad, it forwards you to another Instagram account that consists exclusively of the ingredients needed to make that dish, as well as instructions and a link to Reynolds Kitchens’ website.
In addition to making me want to put on an apron and start baking, this interactive campaign is an awesome example of a brand using Instagram’s grid layout to ignite awareness, share content, and increase customer engagement.
While making full use of Instagram’s grid layout is a great way to up your account’s creativity, you have to be careful.

Lesson No. 2.5: Don’t “clog the feed”

Art installation by @asvpxrocky
7 Lessons Brands Can Learn from Instagram’s Most Creative Accounts | Hootsuite Blog
Image via A$AP Rocky on Instagram.
Rapper A$AP Rocky posted an art installation on Instagram that comprised 168 individual frames of imagery, done in coordination with Art Director Robert Gallardo. Posted in May 2015, all 168 images were published on the same day, to the chagrin of the 100,000 followers that stopped following the account.
While the attention the project garnered was mostly positive, brands should be aware of the potential backlash of posting massive collages as this barrage of images can “clog the feed.” On Hootsuite Showcase, we try and stick to between nine and 15 images in order to avoid overwhelming our follower’s feeds.

Lesson No. 3: Engage your audience with interactive contests

Heineken scavenger hunt by @crack_the_us_open
7 Lessons Brands Can Learn from Instagram’s Most Creative Accounts | Hootsuite Blog
Image via Heineken’s crack_the_us_open on Instagram.
It’s no surprise that contests on Instagram create engaging moments. When deciding what type of contest you want to run, an interactive approach using Instagram’s grid layout is something to consider. To move beyond asking followers to comment or like for a chance to win, try creating a scavenger hunt, similar to what Heineken did in 2013. They created an Instagram account called @crack_the_us_open for their sponsorship of the U.S. Open Tennis Championships. The account, created in part by ad agency Wieden+Kennedy, served as a hand-held scavenger hunt, rewarding players with a chance to win tickets to the tournament.
The account featured an extreme panorama image of a crowd watching tennis, split into square pieces to utilize Instagram’s profile grid layout. In each individual photo, Heineken provided clues in the image captions. Instagram users had to scan the crowd and hashtag the correct images. In order to play, users had to turn their phones 90 degrees to view the panoramic image of fans utilizing Instagram’s grid layout.

Lesson No. 4: Make the most of user generated content through unbranded hashtags

The struggle to create fresh and engaging content for your audience is real. You’ve worked hard to create an engaged following, so why not tap into that community? User generated content is an opportunity for you to let go of the reins and leave it in the hands of your awesome supporters.
One way to launch a user generated campaign is to create an unbranded hashtag. An unbranded hashtag can be beneficial because it’s less promotional, giving it a greater chance to spread and (hopefully) go viral. The hashtag must be creative, clever, and, most importantly, NOT have your brand name in it. Two brands that did a great job at running a user generated campaign on Instagram are Polerstuff and Kit and Ace.
#BeneathTheBrim by @polerstuff
Polerstuff is a outdoor gear and sporting goods brand that created the hashtag #beneaththebrim to encourage fans to share photos from “beneath the brim” of their Poler hats. Often framing beautiful landscapes, the images are immediately recognizable by the “CAMP VIBES” text on the underside of each hat.
Thousands of fans shared stunning images with tasteful product placement. Poler uses this hashtag to great effect, often sharing images tagged with #beneaththebrim through their official Instagram account. This cache of user generated content provides an avenue for fans to creatively engage with the brand.
#ThisTimeIsPrecious by @kitandace
Kit and Ace is a Vancouver retail company making waves on social and growing their following through user generated content campaigns and influencer marketing. Their campaign, #thistimeisprecious, sparked our attention as it encouraged people to share what means most to them over the holiday season. From loved ones to locations, and activities to traditions, people took to Instagram to share what’s precious to them.
The campaign, which included customers, employees and influencers, gave Kit and Ace the opportunity to demonstrate the power of user generated content and how it can grow a community of supporters. In addition, working with influencers in many different cities has grown their credibility as a brand by showcasing support from industry professionals.

Lesson No. 5: Try out #TBT for education

Company history #tbts by @generalelectric
What did social media do before throwback Thursday? Once a week, the internet is flooded with baby pics and family portraits that can prove far more divisive than expected. Love it or hate it, throwback Thursday is here to stay. Instead of jumping on the baby pictures bandwagon, why not use this viral hashtag to build awareness about your company or educate your followers about the evolution of your product.
An awesome example of this is the way General Electric innovatively used #tbt to educate followers on the life of their company. GE created custom videos and images that provided insight into both the history of the 123-year-old brand, and science in general. This method is a great way for non-visual brands to share through Instagram. Companies that aren’t consistently creating new visuals can mine photo archives for engaging images—giving them the opportunity to share new content and tell followers about their company’s history.

Lesson No. 6: Use Instagram for recruitment

#CastMeMarc by @marcjacobs
Forget the traditional resume! Okay, maybe not altogether, but there is so much opportunity to use social to find the next brilliant mind to join your team. Of course, there are limits to this, as you don’t want to expose those applying for another position, but playing around with incorporating social into your recruitment process can reveal some incredible talent.
Marc Jacobs created the hashtag #castmemarc as a casting call to recruit modeling talent and increase brand awareness on Instagram. Users tagged images of themselves or their friends for a chance to be scouted by the Marc Jacobs team and appear in upcoming fashion campaigns. With over 119,000 uses of the hashtag on Instagram, the campaign has been a massive social media success.

Lesson No. 7: Ask your dog to be an influencer

Aspen the Mountain Pup by @aspenthemountainpup
His exploration of mountain tops and vast glacier lakes in the U.S. and Canada give us major adventure and travel envy. No stranger to adoring fans, Aspen has a large following of 152,000 and has sparked the interest of many companies like Michelob UltraOriginal Penguin, and Expedia who worked with him to create cool campaigns and contests. When he’s not canoeing, hiking, camping, and playing in snow, he’s cuddling up with his owners Hunter Lawrence (not only his dad but an experienced photographer as you can see) and Sarah Lawrence (his mom and lifestyle blogger).