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Pros & Cons of Instagram's In-App Promoting

January 23, 2017


COVID 19 UPDATE March 2020


We are helping small businesses get our Instagram marketing services at a reduced price for a limited time.


If you are a small business with less than 25 employees, you may be eligible.


Please contact us here and let us know. Please stay safe and best of luck to everyone.




Instagram Promote is an attractive feature similar to that of Facebook Boost, by which you can pay for your posts reach more people.


So how does it work?


Firstly, your Instagram account must be connected to a Facebook Page that you administer and then converted to a business Instagram profile.



Instagram Promote is a super easy, 3-step process.



1. Choose your call-to-action “CTA”

When you tap Promote on an Instagram post, the post is replicated in the form of a new ad. You begin by choosing one of three calls-to-action, “Visit website”, “Call your businesses”, or “Visit your business”. “Visit website” reveals an in-app browser, as opposed to switching apps (i.e. “Open in Safari”), which is convenient for the user. “Call now” will directly dial the number to your business and “Visit” will open maps with directions to your business.


2. Create an audience

After a CTA is chosen, you begin selecting your targeting details. You can “Let Instagram automatically create an audience based on people who might be interested in your business” OR create your own audience by choosing locations, interests, age range, and gender.


3. Select your budget

Once your targeting is complete, you are then prompted to indicate your budget and the duration of time you want your promo to air. Then, you’re live.




Facebook Boost Impostor


Although quick and handy, I find a few issues with Instagram Promote. It’s clearly Facebook Boost rip. Don’t let the similarity fool you.




Cons of using Instagram Promote:


1. Limited CTA and you’re forced to choose one.
There are 2 ways to launch an ad on Instagram; in-app or through the Facebook Ads Manager. With Facebook Ads Manager, your objectives & CTA options are much more vast than promoting in-app. FB Ads Manager also allows paid Instagram posts to go out without choosing a CTA, which is beneficial when your goal is to increase awareness and engagement using a format that does not resemble an ad. This means your audience can enjoy to your content without any obligation.


2. Vague Targeting
If you are used to Facebook’s ad targeting options, you might feel like your in-app targeting is a shot in the dark. Instagram Promote’s broad interests categories and lack of estimated reach are not so reassuring.


3. Lost Engagement
Unlike a Facebook Boost, promoting existing content on Instagram creates a replica of your post and turns it into a separate ad, instead of showing your original post. That means the likes, comments, shares, & tags you accumulate on the promoted post will vanish after the promotion ends.


4. Limited Ad Reporting
Promoting in-app serves as a quick fix for paid reach needs. So, you can expect to receive a very basic report that doesn’t tell you much. However, you can go into the Facebook Ad account that owns your Instagram profile to view in-depth results from your promotion. In-app Instagram metrics gives you impressions and clicks, knock yourself out.




Pros to using Instagram Promote:


1. Advertise on the go
Like I said, Instagram Promote is your quick fix to a paid reach. It takes about 2 minutes to launch an in-app Instagram promotion. And it’s mobile.


2. Call or Visit CTA
Small business owners can get creative and launch promotions that gets calls and physical visits, without having to set up an extensive campaign in the Ads Manager on a desktop computer. Take a look at how we used Instagram Promote to immediately boost sales for an Austin Mediterranean restaurant.


3. Instagram lookalike audience
A Lookalike Audience is a very powerful targeting method that creates an audience with similar interests and purchase behavior as those of your existing customers, such as your Facebook Page fans, email list, or website visitors. At this time, Facebook Ads Manager, does not explicitly allow you to create a lookalike audience of your Instagram followers. So, we found a loophole. When you “Let Instagram automatically create an audience” on a promoted Instagram post, it creates a lookalike (1%) of your Instagram followers.


Pro-tip: You can use this lookalike audience for future ads, even on Facebook. Just go into the ads manager, select the campaign holding your Instagram promotion, click edit ad-set, and re-save the ad-set’s audience for later use. You can even add additional targeting options to further narrow down the audience. And can even check how effective the lookalike is by analyzing audience overlap in the audience section of the Facebook business manager.


In theory, CPM (cost per one thousand impressions) should be the same. So, I can’t tell you definitively that in-app promotions have a lower CPM. BUT, every single time I have promote in-app, I achieve a CPM much lower ads ran through the FB Ads Manager. This could be achieved by using an Instagram lookalike audience, yielding a high relevance score on the ad. High scores mean the ad is performing well and good ads reap the benefits of a low-cost reach.


Additionally, I believe that the ad approval process is much more lenient on image text. I have achieved 100% delivery on an ad that had about 50% text. Test your limits.


Give it a shot


I can talk about Instagram's Promote feature all day but you’ll need to try and see for yourself. Takes no time and costs a couple bucks to start.


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