Getting Started With B2B Advertising on Instagram

I was scrolling through PPC posts the other day and came across “Instagram Ads for Real Estate Marketers: 10 Best Practices.” Since I’ve had clients in the real estate space in the past, I was interested in this post.

This got me thinking about leveraging Instagram for B2B advertisers as well. Since social can be a different space for B2B, it’s important to adjust your sails a bit before jumping into this channel.

I’m going to assume you have some basic knowledge of what Instagram is and why you want to be in that space. If not, check out the post I linked to above; she outlines a lot of great reasons to advertise on Instagram.

Adult Instagram User Demographics

I’ve had a lot of clients tell me that they’re hesitant to advertise on Instagram because their customers aren’t there. It’s probably true that not every customer you have is hanging out on Instagram, but there is a good amount of adult Americans who are on Instagram, and it’s likely that some of your B2B prospects are part of that audience.

Age

Many of my B2B clients find that weeding out the 18-24 age group tends to help performance. Sorry, youngsters, you just tend to not want a demo of the SaaS tool I’m marketing.

Moving on to older, likely-to-be-decisionmakers audiences.

According to Sprout Social, 40% of 30-49 year olds and 21% of 50-64 year olds in the U.S. use Instagram.

Locations

In the US, 42% of adults living in urban areas and 34% of adults living in suburban areas use Instagram.

For many B2B advertisers, especially folks targeting enterprise-level or Fortune 500 businesses, a large majority of those organizations can fall in urban and suburban areas of the United States’ biggest DMA regions.

Education

When looking at users in the U.S.:

  • 29% of adults with a high school diploma or less use Instagram
  • 36% of adults with some college experience use Instagram
  • 42% of adults who graduated college use Instagram

When it comes to targeting employees of these organizations, it’s likely that the decisionmakers will have a high school degree or higher.

What to Consider Before Testing Instagram

Those demographics might sound great to you (and I hope they do), but there are a few things you should consider before diving head-first into Instagram.

Have an Instagram Account

For many advertisers, they want to add an Instagram placement to their Facebook ads and start testing from there. Since you can advertise on Instagram and use your Facebook page as a destination for ads on Instagram, this is a possibility.

There are a lot of good reasons to treat Instagram and Facebook differently, like the ways that people interact with the platform, content and as mentioned above, demographics of users.

While that certainly can be done, I’d recommend setting up an Instagram Business account first. Having a presence on Instagram will allow people to see more about your business within the Instagram app.

You’ll also want to add your Instagram account to your Business Manager.

Once you have an account and a couple of posts, it can be helpful to review your organic posts and see what resonated most with your followers. You can review these insights by following these instructions. Looking at views, shares and comments is a great place to start when examining what has performed best.

Audience Size

Before delving too far into strategy and planning, I’d recommend taking a look at your desired target audience in Facebook.

This can be done by creating your audience in an ad set and reviewing the Audience Definition data.

For many B2B advertisers, the problem will be having too small of an audience or, like pictured above, the audience is likely too large. It can be a difficult balance finding a middle-of-the-road option, but I would recommend not making your audiences too small, as that can throttle performance.

Goals

What are your goals with testing Instagram? Outlining your goals ahead of time will allow you to have more clarity once the test starts.

Consider examining things like cost per lead, clickthrough rate and conversion rates and establishing a desired level for each can help keep things in check. Reviewing your performance in Facebook can give you an idea of optimum levels for these metrics.

Images & Ads

Since Instagram is a visual platform, it’s very important to have good visuals available for use.

  • If you don’t have a large amount of creative available for testing, you can utilize Facebook/Instagram’s free library of stock images.
  • There are always free stock image sites and free tools like Canva that can improve the quality of your creative without investing too much time or money as well. Since stock images from the Facebook/Instagram library cannot be utilized elsewhere, it might be worth finding images that can be used across many different platforms.
  • Find ways to make your ads stand out in the feed. Adding an acceptable amount of text or adding pops of color can go a long way.
  • Test different call-to-action buttons. These appear at the bottom of your ad.
  • Run an A/B test with images that include people and images that do not. There is varying opinion on using faces in your images, but it’s worth testing for your results before ruling it out completely.
  • When it comes to testing carousel ads, you should have a plan to tell a story with the images and descriptions in an organized fashion that draws in the user.
  • In her post about Instagram video, Akvile DeFazio recommends making sure you choose the right call to action and goal for you Instagram campaign BEFORE even shooting your video. This will help you have a clear plan of action in place during the writing, production and campaign creation for your video.
  • Instagram Stories have a short shelf life expiring after just 24 hours, but Instagram reports that one-third of the 500 million Stories are from businesses. Instagram also reports that one in every five Stories ads generates a direct message to the advertisers, making it a good way to engage with your audience.

Utilizing Instagram in the Buyer Funnel

Now that we’ve established that there are users on Instagram interested in B2B products, and covered some key considerations before advertising there, let’s talk about how you can utilize this platform.

Targeting

Since Instagram is owned by Facebook, this means that you can leverage all of the same targeting features. Custom audiences, job titles, lookalikes and retargeting lists are all available and applicable for the taking.

Lookalike Audiences

In my opinion, lookalike audiences on Facebook are one of its strongest features.

I just wrote about how to leverage lookalike audiences for lead gen in Facebook and LinkedIn.

I would recommend creating a list of customers, a list of qualified leads (or opportunities/marketing qualified if possible) and a list based on unqualified leads to exclude.

Layering additional targeting on the lookalike ad sets will assist with further qualifying potential leads as well.

Ad Placements

When it comes to Instagram, you can target the Feed or Stories with your ads.

When initially testing Instagram, if your audience is large enough, I’d recommend breaking out placements to see the performance at a granular level. In my experience, there can be large variances in performance between different placements.

Instagram has a lot to offer B2B businesses if they’re willing to give it a chance. I hope these tips help you to test this channel if you haven’t already!

Have you tested Instagram for B2B? What tips do you have to share? We’d love to hear them in the comments below!

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