Four Questions to Ask Yourself Before Paying for Instagram Ads

I feel it’s important to tell you all that I started writing this post about ten different times now. I wasn’t sure which direction I wanted to go in. Do I write a basic how to for Instagram ads? Do I offer you tips for using Instagram ads? Eventually I settled on the most important point that needs to be addressed before you even begin to geek out over this form of paid advertisement…

Do Instagram ads make sense for YOU?

After getting a couple questions during our Instagram Q/A about tips for Instagram Ads and seeing a few more pop up in our inbox – it’s time to weigh in.

I will not be giving away my tips for creating effective Instagram ads in this post because the only advice I could give you at this point are best practices. Ads will be rolling out for everyone on September 30, so until then, I cannot test things out. I can only offer theory. If you’re a past socialite of ours, or a long time blog reader, then you’ll know that we believe best practices are really just a starting point. Best practices should be treated as a foundation for which you build on, experiment with, and analyze to see if they work for YOU.

Some things I cover today may be hard for you to swallow and that’s okay. My goal for you is that after reading this post, you can walk away with a different point of view. Whether you take my  advice and run with it, that is your prerogative. With that being said, here are the four questions we believe you need to ask yourself before investing in Instagram Ads.

Are you looking for tips on Instagram ads? Ask yourself these four questions before making the investment. Bloggers and entrepreneurs, pin this now, read later!

Four Questions to Ask Yourself Before Paying for Instagram Ads (Tweet this!)

Should I Market Myself on Instagram?

Alright, might as well get the hardest question over with  – am I right? Do not let Instagram’s recent announcement of 400 million active users, excite you too much. Although that number is quite impressive, the fact of the matter is, Instagram is not right everyone. Whether or not it happens to be the platform you enjoy interacting on the most – if you are going to be treating it as a marketing avenue, you have to force yourself to step back and ask if it’s right for YOU. As mom used to say, “just because everyone is doing it doesn’t mean you have to”.

Thanks mom – you were right! And here’s why…

400 million active users mean there’s A LOT of content being pushed out into the space on any given day. If you’re not able to stay consistent with high quality content, then you are not going to be be able to compete.

There are actually a series of questions you ought to be asking yourself before spending another second trying to get your name out there on Instagram. Read more about them here.

Am I Spending My Money the Smartest Way?

Okay, so you’ve decided that Instagram could be right for you, now it’s time to consider your investment. Paying for Instagram ads may lead to wonderful things, but sales may not be one of them! Do not even thinking about going down the route of paid advertisements if you are currently pulling the sofa cushions up to scrounge for loose change to pay for rent. I am not saying this so you can feel #incomeshame (trust me, we have our months too!). I am just saying this to be real with you. There are better places you can be spending your hard-earned money, like connecting with your local community by attending networking events (shout out San Diego’s Collaborative Thread!) or attending an Instagram webinar to learn how you can grow your Instagram following and increase engagement the FREE way – just sayin!

Is My Content Good Enough?

If you do happen to have an extra few bucks laying around (for the record: I am not sure how much these ads will cost you at this point until we can test them), now’s the time to ask yourself – is my content good enough for an ad? To answer this question I HIGHLY recommend testing your post out organically before you go off throwing loads of cash at something that may not work. Here’s a couple things to consider before shelling out the dough…

  1. Is your image high quality?

    • Good lighting

    • Focus on-point

    • Interesting subject matter that you know you audience enjoys (Not sure how to find this out? Use Iconosquare!)

  2. Does your copy (caption) provide enough value to pique your audience’s interest? (Make sure it’s obvious!)

    • Are you answering a question?

    • Are you solving a REAL problem?

    • Are you providing insight, entertainment, or inspiration?

Then and only then, can you consider if it’s appropriate or not to pay for an Instagram ad.

What Is My Goal?

The last question you need to ask yourself is what you wish to get out of paying for an Instagram ad? There will be several different objectives you can choose from including: driving website traffic, gaining mobile app downloads, video views, and boosting brand awareness. Whichever objective you decide, set yourself a point of measurement for which you hope to achieve. Then, when your ad is done running, you will have a mental check-in spot for you to measure and analyze how well it did or did not work for you.

Unsure what you should be setting as your goal? Only you can determine that! However, don’t just blindly pick a number out of a hat. If your objective is website traffic and your daily average site visits are say 100, then you can likely put a goal of anything above that. Maybe 125 – who knows? Your choice! Just make sure you jot down those numbers so you have them to look back on.


Once Instagram ads roll out for all brands, you can bet we will be asking ourselves the above questions, setting goals, and testing out methods to see what works for us. We'll keep you updated with our findings and as always, provide you with the most up-to-date knowledge and actionable tips so you can implement them in your own social strategy.

Until then, what do you think? Will you give Instagram ads a try?