How to Become Profitable with Instagram Ads

I’m sure by now you recognize the importance of staying active on social media to promote your business.

Your Instagram marketing campaigns need to be a priority.

If you’re not using Instagram to reach your customers, there is a good chance your competitors are doing so. In fact, more than 70% of businesses in the United States are using Instagram.

Furthermore, 70% of hashtags on this platform are branded.

That’s why it’s so important for you to leverage your Instagram profile to connect with your current customers and target prospective consumers as well.

Believe it or not, consumers want to interact with brands on social media. We know that 80% of Instagram accounts follow at least one business profile.

If you’re getting lots of followers, that’s great. However, you need to learn how to convert your social media followers into customers, or your efforts won’t pay off.

But what about the consumers who don’t follow your business on Instagram?

They might be interested in your products, services, and content, but they won’t see any of your promotions if they’re not following your profile.

That’s where Instagram ads come into play.

Buying ads on Instagram will help give you a huge advantage over your competitors who aren’t willing to spend the money.

That said, any time you’re spending valuable marketing dollars, it’s important to make sure those efforts yield a high ROI. You don’t want to blindly buy ads without making sure they’re profitable.

If you’re new to Instagram ads or if your current ones need improvement, you’ll benefit tremendously from this guide.

I’ll explain how to drive sales with your Instagram marketing strategy, get more followers, and expand your reach. Here’s what you need to know.

Determine your marketing objective

Instagram is owned by Facebook. You’ll be using the same platform you used to generate leads with Facebook ads.

The first thing you’ll need to do is select your marketing objective:

marketing objective

The goals are broken down into three main categories:

  • awareness
  • consideration
  • conversion

Truthfully, there is no right or wrong answer here when it comes to making this selection.

Any choice can lead to profits. For example, if your goal is to generate website traffic, that traffic can eventually lead to conversions.

If you are trying to increase your brand awareness, extend your reach or generate leads, those campaigns can end up creating sales in the future.

But if you’re trying to get instant sales, you’ll want to select conversions, catalog sales, or store visits as your marketing objective.

These types of ads will have actionable CTAs to drive sales. But we’ll discuss that in greater detail shortly.

Again, your ads will be effective no matter what you choose. Everyone’s brand is different. Don’t expect your goals to mirror those of other companies.

If you have the budget, you can even run multiple campaigns with different goals to see which ones are the most beneficial for your business.

Then, you can continue running the most successful ones.

Identify your target audience

Next, you’ll need to determine the audience you want to target.

There are different approaches to this step, depending on the overall marketing goals of your company and each campaign.

target audience

You’re able to select your audience based on factors such as:

  • location
  • age
  • gender
  • language

Again, this will change based on each campaign. For example, let’s say your brand sells sports equipment to consumers in the United States.

That doesn’t mean all your ads will be relevant to every location.

An ad that promotes a sale on surfboards won’t appeal to someone who lives in Colorado. Ads for women’s golf clubs should be seen only by, you guessed it, women.

I know this sounds basic, but you’d be surprised how often I see businesses make such simple mistakes. They try to target as many people as possible, which isn’t a profitable strategy.

Another cool feature you should keep in mind when you’re selecting your target market is the ability to create a custom audience.

This allows you to set your ads to reach users who have interacted with you before.

For example, a person who doesn’t follow you can still see one of your posts on the Instagram “explore” page, also known as the “popular page.” That’s a custom audience you could target.

You can also set a custom lookalike audience. These ads will target users similar to your current followers.

Set a budget

I don’t recommend spending every dollar in your marketing budget on Instagram ads, especially if this is your first time using this strategy.

Get your feet wet before you dive in head first.

Everyone’s budget is different. But let’s keep things simple for now and say that your company has allocated $5,000 to spend on Instagram ads.

That’s great.

However, it doesn’t mean you should dump all $5,000 into one campaign. Mix it up.

As I said before, you’ll want to experiment to see which types of ads benefit your brand the most based on your goals.

Try running five campaigns at $1,000 each.

Don’t run them all simultaneously. Not everyone who sees your advertisements will convert. But if they see three ads over the course of a couple of months, it might get the job done.

While it’s important for you to spend within your means, it’s worth noting that even small business owners are planning to increase their Instagram marketing budgets.

increase investment

As you can see, Instagram is second only to Facebook in the list of all social media networks small businesses plan to spend more money on in the coming years.

If you don’t have the funds to spend much money on Instagram ads right now, you should budget accordingly for the future.

The last thing you want is to let your competitors beat you to new leads. Or even worse, lose your current customers to the competition because they ran ads and you didn’t.

Choose which types of ads you want to run

There are a bunch of different types of ads you can run on Instagram. That’s because the platform is versatile. These are all the options for you to consider:

  • photos
  • videos
  • carousel
  • stories

One of the best parts about Instagram ads is that your content appears naturally within the rest of the content seen by users.

Such posts are clearly labeled as sponsored ads, but they still look like any other content from any other account an Instagram user might follow.

For example, let’s say a user is browsing through the stories of the accounts they follow. If you run a story ad, your story will be presented between two stories posted by profiles they follow.

Sure, a user may recognize they’re seeing an ad. But that won’t necessarily stop them from consuming your content.

In fact, 60% of users say they use Instagram to discover new products. And 75% of that group follow through with an action after that discovery.

The action may not be a purchase—it could be a click to find out more. But that should give you a chance to get these users to convert.

Use an actionable CTA

Your CTA will have a big impact on how users react to the sponsored content they’re presented with.

Let’s assume you accurately selected your target market and your ad is being displayed to those interested in your product and willing to buy. How can you get them to convert?

Invite them to buy with action verbs. Get right to the point.

Check out this CTA example from a MeUndies advertisement on Instagram:


Shop now.

There is nothing ambiguous about this CTA. It’s much more actionable than something like “find out more information here.”

That type of CTA won’t drive sales.

But with a call-to-action such as “shop now,” users who see this advertisement will know exactly what to expect when they click on the button.


As expected, this CTA brings you directly to the brand’s ecommerce shop.

Take a look at this landing page to see how MeUndies is able to drive sales with its advertisement.

It’s very simple.

Since people are viewing these ads on their mobile devices, don’t try to cram too many products onto the screen at the same time.

Here, when users scroll, they see only two products at a time.

Now, take a minute to scroll back up to the original post. It featured a model wearing sweatpants.

Naturally, the first two products displayed on the landing page are sweatpants. It makes sense and should promote conversions.

Let’s say your Instagram advertisement is promoting a new backpack, but your CTA brings them to a page selling water bottles.

Sure, the users might be interested in that product as well. However, they clicked on your CTA because they wanted to see the product in your original ad. Make sure the two match.

We’ll discuss your landing page in greater detail shortly.

Showcase your top benefits

You need to realize how people use Instagram.

They’re scrolling through posts at a fairly rapid rate. Don’t expect people to stop to analyze your ad if it’s overly complicated.

If your benefits can’t be identified right away, the user has no reason to click your CTA button.

You’ve got to come up with ads that are easy to recognize at a quick glance. Here’s a great example of how State and Liberty is able to accomplish this with its advertisement:

state and liberty

It’s very clear what the carousel ad is trying to convey.

Same model, two different shirts.

The shirt on the left looks messy, coming untucked. Many guys can relate to that.

But the shirt on the right looks great. It fits the model perfectly, which makes him look sharp.

Combining two images in one picture is much more effective than showing one shirt without anything to compare it to.

Once a user sees this, they may be interested enough to keep swiping through the rest of the carousel ad.

state and liberty 2

The next image of the ad uses the same strategy.

One shirt is neat, fits properly, and doesn’t cause the model to sweat. While the other shirt is messy, loose, coming untucked, and covered in sweat.

Even if the differences are embellished, that’s okay. It’s still an extremely effective way to promote the brand.

In just two pictures, this company is able to showcase how it differs from the competition by highlighting the top benefits of its product.

This campaign paired with an actionable CTA is a great way to drive sales.

Create a landing page that drives conversions

Your advertisement might be great.

You were able to pick the right marketing objective and target the perfect audience, and the content of your ad is getting people to click on your CTA.

However, all of this is useless if your landing page isn’t set up to drive conversions.

When a user clicks a CTA that says something like “shop now,” they shouldn’t land on your blog or homepage. You want to bring them directly to your ecommerce shop.

Make it easy for them to complete the checkout process with just a few clicks.

However, depending on your marketing goal, you can set up other types of landing pages to drive conversions, even if those conversions aren’t sales.

Check out this example of a landing page from Olivers Apparel:

oliver appearal

The company encourages users to recommend its brand to other people.

By sending $25 to a friend, they’ll get $25 in return. It’s a very enticing offer for a user exposed to a new brand for the first time.

You might be hesitant to spend money on a product you’ve never used before.

But $25 off your order may be a good enough reason for you to buy.

This strategy is a great example of a customer referral program that drives sales.

Let’s look at another landing page strategy from Buffy. You might want to consider using it in your marketing:


Instead of turning its prospective customers away with expensive prices, the brand’s landing page gives them an offer they can’t refuse.

You can try this product for 30 days at no cost.

They’ll ship it to you free, and if you’re not happy with it after a month, you can send it back—free too.

Instead of a CTA that says “buy,” the company used “try.”

Further, 30 days is plenty of time for prospective customers to decide whether they like the product or not.

Since Buffy offers such an enticing deal, I’m assuming the team is confident in the quality of its product, expecting the customers to be satisfied.

Sending Instagram users directly to your ecommerce shop is a great way to drive sales. But as you can see from these last two examples, you can use other types of landing pages that convert.

Highlight what makes your brand unique

This concept is similar to the idea of showing off your top benefits.

However, you and other brands may have similar benefits. If you can explain what makes your brand unique, you can have a competitive advantage.

For example, let’s say you sell athletic footwear. Some of its top benefits may be related to comfort, durability, style, and performance.

But does that really separate you from the crowd?

Something that makes your brand unique may be that a portion of your sales goes to a particular charity. That’s unique.

Here’s a more specific example from a Felix Gray Instagram ad:

felix grey

The company sells different types of glasses.

But does that make them unique? Not really.

However, this advertisement says that its frames are crafted by hand. That’s worth mentioning as part of a differentiation strategy.


Your company needs to have an Instagram marketing strategy.

While you can use Instagram free, running ads can give you the competitive advantage you’ve been looking for. This will help you target new customers outside of your existing followers.

Start by identifying your marketing objectives. Then, decide what audience you want to target with each campaign.

Choose which type of ad you want to run. Budget your ads accordingly.

Make sure your CTA is actionable.

Create an ad that showcases the top benefits of your products. Explain what makes your brand unique.

Design a landing page that drives conversions.

If you’re able to accomplish everything I’ve explained in this guide, your Instagram ads will be effective and profitable.

What types of ads is your brand using to drive sales on Instagram?

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13 Marketing Tips SEOs Can Learn From PPC Managers

As an SEO expert, you know what it takes to get your content ranked high in search engine results.

Depending on how good you are at SEO, sometimes the only results displayed higher than yours are those from PPC campaigns.

SEO and PPC are considered to be two very different marketing approaches. But these strategies are more similar than you think.

The biggest difference between SEO and PPC is you’re paying for your PPC campaigns, as the name implies. Driving organic traffic to your website with SEO is free.

While keywords are obviously important to PPC managers, they don’t need to focus on search engine optimization as much because they’re bidding on those keywords.

If they’re willing to pay enough, their search engine ads can generate hits and clicks, even if their headlines aren’t extremely SEO friendly.

Using SEO to drive website traffic is much more competitive. To gain an advantage over your competitors, you can use PPC principles to improve your SEO strategy.

After all, your search ranking is useless if it doesn’t generate clicks.

These are the top 13 marketing tips SEOs can learn from PPC managers. By combining principles from these two strategies, you’ll be able to drive more traffic to your website.

1. Write headlines that generate clicks

As I said before, the basic principle behind SEO is getting a high search ranking. This is obviously very important for your traffic.

But is that high ranking translating to clicks and traffic? It should.

The first page of search engine results generates 75% of all clicks.

If you’re getting ranked high but not seeing a spike in traffic, there is likely a problem with your headlines. You need to learn how to increase clicks by mastering your headlines.

There are common elements in titles that encourage clicks.


Even if your headline has SEO friendly keywords, it doesn’t mean people will click on it.

PPC managers are masters at writing great ad copy. This helps improve their click-through rates and increases their quality scores.

But with SEO, you don’t need to pay for ads to generate clicks.

You just need to make slight adjustments to your SEO headlines that will make them more enticing.

For example, add a number to your headline. You may not think this is good for SEO because people probably aren’t searching for numbers. But this strategy generates clicks.

Headlines containing numbers are 36% more likely to get clicked. Using odd numbers improves CTR by 20% compared to even numbers.

2. Come up with new keywords

Don’t be broad with your keyword research.

Get specific. Use long-tail keywords to generate more relevant search results.

Using long-tail keywords will also make the search results less competitive. For example, let’s say your company sells backpacks.

If that’s the only keyword you’re using, it’ll be tough to get ranked high and generate clicks.

But if you’re using long-tail keywords, e.g., “red waterproof hiking backpack,” you’re appealing to a very specific audience.

Yes, the search volume for those words will definitely be lower. However, you won’t be competing with as many websites.

Now you’ll get ranked higher and increase your chances of getting more clicks.

It’s also important to use new keywords based on seasons, promotions, or the audiences you’re trying to target with specific campaigns. Don’t use the same keywords over and over again expecting to get great results, especially if the keywords are highly competitive.

3. Monitor keywords from your competitors

Your keyword research shouldn’t be conducted in a vacuum. You need to know what your competition is doing.

PPC managers use this strategy to help them see which keywords are the most competitive. It allows them to adjust their bids accordingly.

But it’s important for you to implement this strategy when you’re focusing on search engine optimization as well.

Try using tools such as SpyFu to help you with your keyword monitoring:


With SpyFu, you can search for specific competitors, and the platform will analyze their websites’ content.

You’ll be able to identify exact keywords they’re using.

Based on this information, you can make the necessary adjustments. If one of your competitors is always getting ranked higher than you, maybe it’s time for you to start using some of their keywords.

You can make those keywords even better by turning them into long-tail keywords, which I’ve already talked about.

4. Track your leads with UTM parameters

Where are your leads coming from?

I’m hoping you’re not relying solely on organic search traffic to get more visitors to your website. You should be running other campaigns as well.

If you see a spike in website traffic, you can’t assume it’s coming from your improved SEO efforts. But how can you know for sure?

By creating custom links with UTM parameters, you’ll be able to distinguish your search engine traffic from the traffic generated by other campaigns.

For example, you can set up a unique link for each one of your email marketing newsletters. Have a different link for all your social media posts.

If you’re running ads on other websites or getting affiliate links, those should each have a custom URL as well.

Now you’ll be able to identify the sources of your traffic. You’ll see which headlines, ads, platforms, and promotions are yielding the highest results.

PPC managers do this to see if it’s worth it to continue paying for specific ads on websites. But you can use it to figure out if your SEO strategy and keywords are working.

5. Optimize keywords for mobile searches

When it comes to your keyword research, you need to keep different devices in mind.

That’s because more than half of all website traffic comes from smartphones and tablets.


In this day and age, you need to keep an eye on the most important mobile trends of the year.

Mobile devices changed the way people search.

What do I mean by this?

The same person using their smartphone to search for something will enter different terms than they would if they searched using their desktop or laptop computers.

In fact, 79% of all Google keywords rank differently in mobile searches. And 47% of the top 20 positions are ranked differently on mobile devices compared to desktops.

You need to identify these differences and adjust your keywords accordingly to accommodate the needs of mobile users.

6. Retarget your prospects

Let’s say someone visits your website because of your SEO efforts.

That’s great. But now what?

You need to understand how people search, navigate, and convert. Just because someone lands on your homepage through organic search traffic doesn’t mean they’ll convert.

Maybe they’re just browsing or scanning a blog post. After that, they’ll leave your website.

That’s why you need to learn how to increase conversions with retargeting strategies.

Retargeting campaigns can get these visitors back to your website in the future.


You can take the lead from PPC managers and run ads on other websites.

When the user lands on your site in the first place, you can use cookies to track their browsing behavior. Now they’ll see your ad when they visit another website.

Change up your ads so they don’t keep seeing the same ones over and over again.

7. Run A/B tests on your landing pages

You need to make sure your clicks are driving conversions.

If you can create landing pages that have high conversion results, you’ll be able to make more money whenever you increase your site traffic with SEO.

Right now, you might be satisfied with your conversion rates. But how can you be sure the pages are optimized for the highest conversions?

You can’t know for sure unless you test and measure the results.

Use A/B testing to change different elements on your landing pages to see whether you can improve those conversion rates.

Test things such as CTA placement, images, CTA wording, sizes, value proposition, and color schemes. You can basically test every element on each landing page to come up with the best design to drive conversions.

SEO focuses on site ranking and traffic. PPC managers focus on clicks. But both SEOs and PPC managers ultimately need to prioritize conversions.

8. Target people based on their locations

PPC marketers use geotargeting campaigns to limit their search results to prospective customers within a specific area.

Google AdWords lets you set this up:


When it comes to your SEO strategy, you can still target people based on their locations, even if you don’t want to pay for ads.

Just create specific landing pages for different areas.

For example, let’s say your business has locations all over the country. Each location should have its own local website.

This will increase the website traffic for people within those areas whenever they search for something relevant to what you’re offering.

You can even create custom landing pages based on these locations. For example, the needs of consumers in Boston will differ from those of consumers in Dallas when it comes to buying clothing in December.

9. Showcase your competitive advantage

In a list of search results, your website will appear next to the websites of your competitors. Even if you’re paying for ads, other sites will pay for ads that will show up on the page too.

How can you stand apart from your competition?

Write SEO-friendly headlines and meta descriptions that show your value proposition. Just look at these ads that come up when you use Google to search for plumbers in Seattle:

seattle plumbers

What’s going to make users pick one business over the others?

The top advertisement offers free estimates, which is very enticing, especially for plumbing services.

Another company has financing options available to help its customers pay off expensive services.

Take a look at the ad in the middle. To stand out from the crowd, they tell you that all their employees are background checked and drug tested.

Honestly, I thought this was odd to mention, but it definitely helps them stand out from the other ads on this page.

10. Consider the timing of your ads

If you’re going to take your SEO campaigns to the next level and start running PPC ads, you need to know when to run them.

For example, B2B brands would want to run their ads during normal business hours. That’s when their target audiences will be searching for their products and services.

You don’t expect a prospective B2B client to be searching for a service at 2 AM on a Saturday night.

However, if you’re a global B2C ecommerce shop, you’ll probably want to run your ads at all times.

11. Include a CTA

When it comes to your SEO efforts, obviously you want to be descriptive in your headlines and meta descriptions to target specific audiences.

But you need to come up with a way to be informative while still encouraging an action.

Ultimately, you want people to click on your website. PPC marketers understand this, so they craft ads with keywords that include CTAs.

Just look at the differences in conversion rates based on CTAs:


As you can see, including the word buy in your headline won’t lead to conversions.

Even if you think certain words are SEO-friendly, you need to recognize the impact those keywords will have on your clicks.

12. Pre-qualify your leads

It seems PPC campaigns are usually better than SEO efforts at pre-qualifying leads.

That’s because each click from a PPC campaign is costly. If that click doesn’t generate money, it’s a waste of valuable marketing dollars.

Even if your SEO efforts lead to a high search ranking, it’s not helpful if your leads aren’t qualified. While these clicks aren’t necessarily costing you money as they would if they were PPC ads, you should still approach this the same way as you would a PPC campaign.

For example, headlines and keywords run by B2B brands will differ from those run by B2C brands.

Let’s take a look at the search results for “escape rooms for big groups:”

escape rooms

Right away, there are certain keywords in these headlines and meta descriptions that pre-qualify leads.

One of the results advertises corporate events. If you’re planning a birthday party or a similar event, you probably won’t be clicking that link. But if you’re a manager looking to schedule a team building event, that option would definitely appeal to you.

Another way to pre-qualify leads is to use pricing. If people aren’t willing to spend $30 per person at a minimum, they won’t click that link in the middle of the page.

What qualifies as a large group? Well, the business at the bottom of the page says its escape rooms are for groups larger than 12 people.

If you were planning an event for eight people, you’d look elsewhere.

Now that the leads have been pre-qualified, they’ll be more likely to convert when they visit the websites.

13. Create custom landing pages

This tip is related to the topic of traffic sources.

For example, let’s say a PPC advertisement is placed on the sidebar of another website. This ad is promoting a specific product.

The landing page for this ad should be specific to the product or service being promoted. You wouldn’t want to take that user to your homepage because it would lower your conversion rates.

Use this strategy for your SEO efforts as well.

You’ll want to set up different landing pages based on what your prospective customers are shopping for, such as men’s or women’s clothing for your ecommerce shop.


In theory, high search rankings should result in more website traffic.

But if you’re not getting the traffic you’re expecting based on your ranking, it’s time for you to re-analyze your SEO efforts.

While they may be optimized for search engines, that’s useless if Internet users aren’t navigating to your website. It’s in your best interest to take advice from marketers who specialize in generating clicks.

You can learn a lot from PPC campaigns.

Even if you don’t want to pay for ads, you can apply the same principles to your SEO efforts to increase your website traffic.

How do you apply PPC concepts to your SEO strategy?

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