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5 Things You Need to Know About Instagram's New Ad Platform The photo-sharing network has opened advertising to the public via its self-serve platform, allowing brands to be marketed to its more than 400 million users.

By Jonathan Long

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Instagram has opened advertising to the public via its self-serve platform, allowing brands to be marketed to its more than 400 million users. It's a paid social-marketing option that you should seriously consider -- users are two and a half times more likely to click on ads on Instagram than on other social-media platforms. Instagram has also put together some case studies you can read here.

If you are active on multiple social-media networks, you likely see the most engagement on Instagram. I have just recently started to use it more to build my personal brand because of the extremely high engagement -- if you are active on Instagram and want to connect, follow me. Here are some things you need to know about the arrival of Instagram advertising:

1. There are multiple ad formats available.

Instagram offers three types of ads: image, video and carousel. Image ads allow you to use visual imagery to tell your story and also entice your target audience to take action. The video ads give you up to 30 seconds to deliver your message as creatively as you desire. Finally, the carousel option is image ads on steroids, allowing you to use multiple images that the viewer can swipe through, providing multiple opportunities to trigger an action.

Related: Instagram Adds New Features to Direct Messaging

2. Call-to-action buttons solve the direct engagement problem.

If you have been using Instagram to market your business in the past you know what the most frustrating part has been: triggering engagement. Sure, you might get a lot of likes and comments, but driving traffic to your website can be tricky. You can place a link in your bio, but not in actual Instagram posts.

Instagram ads allow you to drive traffic directly to your offers with a call-to-action button. Some brands will use Instagram simply to create awareness, but if you aren't a Coke or Pepsi, then you are most likely looking to send traffic to an offer on your website.

You can use call-to-action buttons to drive traffic on all three ad formats. Additionally, you can push mobile-app installs directly from image and video ads -- this feature isn't available for carousel ads. So say goodbye to "See link in bio," and say hello to a much higher direct-engagement rate.

3. Instagram's algorithm favors engagement rate highly.

Just like with Facebook ads, a high engagement rate is going to come into play when determining how often your ad is shown. In a blog post, Instagram writes, "There are more than 2 million advertisers who actively use Facebook to market their businesses and we want to leverage the best of Facebook's infrastructure for buying, managing and measuring the success of ads on Instagram."

When your ads on Facebook have high click-through rates they are shown more frequently, because the network wants to show relevant ads users are more likely to be genuinely interested in. Expect the same with Instagram ads.

Related: How One Woman's Cosmetic Company 'Gramed Its Way to Insta-Success

4. Thanks to Facebook, Instagram ad targeting allows you to get very specific.

Facebook ads are so popular with brands because of the available targeting options. Aside from location, age and gender, you have the ability to target users by their interests and connections. This allows you to place your ads directly in front of your ideal target market. Thanks to the fact that Facebook owns Instagram, these same powerful targeting options are available, including the Custom Audience feature.

5. Don't assume a visual ad platform isn't right for your brand.

There is a good chance you have been using Instagram since it came out. If you haven't found it to be successful in the past, that shouldn't discourage you from giving the new ad platform a try. The biggest obstacle has always been driving traffic -- without the ability to include links in posts it put you at a major disadvantage. Now that you can include a call-to-action button combined with the ability to use Facebook's incredible targeting options, you should be drooling over this new social-advertising option.

If you are interested in learning more about Instagram advertising as well as social media and online marketing in general, join my VIP newsletter.

What do you think of Instagram ads? Have you tried them or are you planning on trying this advertising platform in the future? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Related: Surprising No One, Taylor Swift Has the Most Followed Instagram Account

Jonathan Long

Founder, Uber Brands

Jonathan Long is the founder of Uber Brands, a brand-development agency focusing on ecommerce.

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