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An Intro to Instagram Advertising and Analytics

Instagram for beginners blog header

What to measure before you monetize

In Instagram For Beginners, a blog we produced just shy of Valentine’s Day 2017, I teased that I would dive deeper into Instagram strategy in a follow-up piece. As we approach the biggest selling season in our industry, I figure it’s about time to deliver on that promise. So, let’s talk Instagram Advertising!

There are three questions you must ask yourself as you prepare for your Instagram advertising:

• WHAT will your promotion look like?

• HOW will your promotion work?

• WHO will your promotion speak to?


Answering these questions can get complicated (not to mention expensive), but it doesn’t have to be that way. You know why? Because the answers are in your analytics.

[bctt tweet=”Say it with me: The answers are in your analytics 📊 – Kristyn Shay, Social Media Specialist” username=”stullerinc”]

We’re huge advocates of data-driven decisions here at Stuller. We like to put our money where our measurements are, so to speak. And I want to teach you how. Let’s answer those three questions using easily accessible analytics.


How does one determine what content will perform best in your Instagram Advertising? One foolproof way is to let your audience determine that for you. We know that Instagram posts should be visually compelling. What we don’t always know is why one beautiful photo resonates more with your audience than another. Whether due to timing, hashtagging, or Instagram’s ever-evolving algorithm, underperforming posts make us apprehensive about dumping money into advertising on the platform.

My advice? Promote posts after they have run their course. For example, the average shelf life for our posts is about two days. After those first two days, the majority of likes and comments have already landed. That’s why I like to choose our Instagram ads on a Monday morning. All of the previous week’s content has run its course, the playing field is level, and I can confidently choose what will perform best. Here’s what that looks like:

Instagram Advertising Screenshot

First, I locate our most-liked photo of the week. I know this post appeals to our audience (you guys) AND Instagram’s algorithm because it has already proven itself as a popular piece of content.

Instagram Advertising Screenshot Promote

Notice that Instagram is already recommending I promote this particular post. The platform’s This post is doing better than… messages are solid indicators of a post that has potential to perform well. Be wary though! At the end of the day, Instagram still wants your advertising dollars. Sometimes you will see this message, but it will say 80 or 70%, which can be misleading. Always double-check your insights before pursuing a promotion.

Once you tap View Insights in blue, your post’s stats will show up at the bottom of the screen. Here you can see how many people you have reached, how many engagements you’ve earned and more. The most important metric when deciding what to advertise is engagement. Your ads should give a call to action, so you’re going to want to have the most engaged audience possible.

If you find a post that is performing well and are satisfied with the results, click Promote.

Instagram Advertising Screenshot Promote



When you click Promote, a new screen will appear with two choices. These options represent the possible objectives of your ad, or the how. Determining which of these to choose depends on YOUR customers. How do your customers typically shop? Do you have a highly tech-savvy customer base that prefers to shop online before visiting your store? If so, then Get More Profile and Website Visits might be the best objective for you. Or, does your target audience favor interacting with potential purchases during every stage of the shopping experience? If that’s the case, you can choose Reach People Near an Address to send people to your geographic location. Ultimately, only you truly understand your customers’ buying habits. Choose the objective that feels right.



Regardless of your how, you’ll have to establish your who.

Instagram Advertising Screenshot Who Targeting Instagram Advertising Screenshot Who Targeting

Notice how Automatic is automatically checked off. Please don’t do this. It takes mere seconds to build your own audience and target your Instagram advertising to the people who matter. Next, I’ll break down the two objectives and how to build an effective audience for each one.


Objective #1: Tech-Savvy Online Shopping Audience

If you are dealing with a tech-savvy online shopping audience, it may not be priority to target your local audience. Try targeting areas where you have a larger following instead. Here’s where you can find those stats:

Instagram Advertising Screenshot Promote Stats Targeting Instagram Advertising Stats Targeting Objectives Instagram Advertising Screenshot Promote Stats Targeting

Within your account’s page on the Instagram mobile app, there is an icon that looks like a bar graph in the top right corner. This is where you can access all of your Instagram analytics. Tap the icon and you’ll see your Insights home screen. Take some time to explore here if you haven’t done so already – there’s a lot of valuable information to be found! For our current purposes, we are particularly interested in your account’s follower demographics. Scroll to the Followers section and tap See More. The next screen will provide you with the following information: your follower increase, gender breakdown, age range, top locations, and active times online. When creating your new audience for your promotion, use this information to determine the location, age range and gender you would like to target!


Objective #2: Tactile Customer Base

If you are dealing with a more tactile customer base, you should target your local area. Having an audience that favors an in-person shopping experience means spending advertising dollars outside of your local market is probably not a good idea. Under the locations option, choose the city where your store is located. When your ad is live and users start to click your call to action button, Instagram will give them directions to your physical location. Important: You should still use your Instagram analytics above to determine if a particular gender or age range engages with your content.


Once you have filled all of the remaining fields, you are officially ready to launch your first Instagram promotion! And you can do so confidently since your ad configurations are backed by customer data.

Thanks for sticking with me through the end of this post! I hope it inspires you to start your own Instagram advertising campaign. And if it does, come back once your campaign ends and leave a comment down below. I would love to know how Instagram advertising works for you. Good luck and happy ‘gramming!


Kristyn Shay

Enthusiast of all forms of social media, but Instagram is my go-to • Avid reader of science fiction • Know more Harry Potter spells than I care to admit • Possibly the single largest contributor to Community Coffee’s annual revenue • Lover of camping, hiking and sleeping under the stars