Instagram Advertising and Demographics: What You Need To Know

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Instagram Advertising and Demographics: What You Need To Know

instagram-advertising-and-demographics-what-you-need-to-knowWith over 90% of Instagram’s 300 million users under the age of 35, marketing on the platform is a little different to other digital media.

Unlike Google AdWords or Facebook Advertising, it’s not simply a matter of writing some snappy copy and putting an advertising spend behind a handful of posts you want your consumers to see. Instagram has class, Instagram has style, and Instagram demands brilliance with everything you post. There’s a list of things to consider when thinking about promoting your brand, product, or service and we’re pleased to introduce you to them in our two-part series of blogs.

Where It All Began

Two and a half years years ago when Instagram announced that it would be implementing advertising to their platform, the community was outraged and forced the medium to release an apology and clarification of their advertising direction. Compared to other social media sites, Instagram is doing very well more than doubling its user base in just as much time, so it’s important to keep those numbers happy.

Some of the biggest brands in the world are currently taking advantage of Instagram’s Promoted posts, which appear on users feeds whether they’re following that brand or not. The beauty is that some of these posts look so good and grasp the ‘feel’ of Instagram that blink and you’ll miss the small ‘Promoted Post’ icon just next to the title.

Currently, Instagram has plans to expand its Promotional Posts to other businesses but there are some strategies you can implement today that can help you get traction and start building an engaged following today! In the first in our two-part series, we’re going to explain the background of Instagram advertising and in part two, we’ll show you how to implement it. So, let’s get started!

Before you advertise, what are Instagram’s demographics?

Demographics are a marketer’s best friend. Knowing your audience is critical to ensuring you’re not wasting your advertising spend and knowing what works for your audience can improve your entire marketing strategy. Did you know that 53% of Instagram’s install base are between the ages of 18 and 29? It’s important to consider the age of your audience when creating your Instagram strategy because the types of posts that do well aren’t standard billboard-like shots but captivating images with the right light, filter, and content.

Instagram Advertising and Demographics

The vast majority of Instagram users are female, but the gender gap is likely to reach parity (55% female, 45% male) by 2016. Have you considered where your Instagram audience lives? Up to 28% of Instagrammers live in urban areas, with 26% living in the suburbs, and 19% of users living rurally. These figures show a much closer relationship than you may have thought and should make you rethink what sorts of posts will appeal to which audience.

What this means is Instagram’s main demographics are varied and diverse, but there is not one supreme audience that you need to target. Businesses need to ensure that they’re appealing to each when looking at advertising on the platform. We’ll look at how to achieve this in more depth during Part 2 of our post, but for now let’s have a deeper look at advertising on Instagram.

How much does Instagram advertising cost?

Within Instagram’s audience-base, 26% are earning more than $100,000 a year, 26% are earning between $68 – 100,000 a year, 24% are earning between $40 – 68,000 and 28% are earning less than $40,000 a year. This means that Instagram is offering advertisers almost an even split of the population’s spending power. There is no single dominant demographic of Instagram users who earn a certain amount and this is actually good news for advertisers because no single brand, product, or service can claim superiority: it’s an even playing field.

Some of the biggest brands in the world have equally large marketing budgets and were part of the small pool lucky enough to have been first approached by Instagram for promoted posts so far. According to industry chatter, a month-long advertising campaign could end up costing these companies anywhere from $680,000 to $1.3 million to reach their audience.

Before big brands like Burberry, Chobani, and Levi’s can have their promoted posts approved, they must first meet certain advertising guidelines. All Promoted Posts on Instagram must be:

  • Original images for the social medium and cannot be repurposed from other avenues
  • Clean without heavy reliance on image filters
  • Free from text and gimmicks
  • Naturally set with no clear labels making the advertising too obvious
  • True to the brand and within what the brand would usually post in tone

Instagram Advertising

These are just some of the steps that Instagram is asking its advertising to consider when creating ads. Since the introduction of advertising on Instagram in 2013, many users of the platform have been worried that ads may disrupt them from their Instagram experience and force products that they don’t care about into their timelines. By creating advertising content that abides by the above rules, it’s more likely that the promoted content will be in-line with what the 300 million active users are accustomed to seeing.

Across these millions of people, there is an almost even distribution of spending power so it isn’t likely that one industry, brand, product, or service may reign supreme across the advertising spend. That’s some serious money for those who can afford it, but it doesn’t have to be the case for the rest of us.

Things To Remember, The Benefit of Advertising on Instagram

They say that constraint drives design, and there are no greater constraints for advertisers and marketers than social media guidelines. We’ve already touched on some of the guidelines that Instagram puts in place to ensure that the advertising content that appears on the social medium is acceptable, but did you know that there are other ways to advertise on Instagram? Before Instagram made an official announcement in late 2012, brands had been leveraging some users’ large followings to their advantage. We call these users with huge followings influencers because they can sway their following to like what they like and do as they do.

Beyonce's Instagram Post

Influencers are a great way to grab consumer’s attention and add credibility to your promotion. Some curated services and agencies have collated groups of internet ‘stars’ who have amassed followings in their hundreds of thousands and allow brands to sponsor their posts. Brands that pay Instagram influencers to promote their product and service do so at rates that can range from $150 to $850 per post. Influencers then ‘tag’ the products that they’re wearing or using and might include a reference in the post’s description. It’s called ethos, and in advertising, it’s known as an appeal to credibility.

Like with many online channels, content is king so ensure that you have enough posts organised to keep your following engaged. It’s been found that if you see an advertorial image on Instagram, you’re 32% more likely to remember the ad through Instagram than on other online spaces. You may be wondering why this is the case, but perhaps it is down to the design of the ad itself. It can’t just be any old image that makes the cut, but a careful thought out and planned image that’s both visually appealing and engaging.

It’s smart advertising, and when you get it right, it will do wonders for your business. Instagram has gone to many lengths to ensure that the ads that do appear on user’s timelines are engaging, clever, stylish, and suitable to Instagram’s feed.


There are many opportunities to reach a diverse and engaged audience through Instagram and there are many reasons for this. Audience spending power is evenly distributed. The age of users is split almost evenly between older and younger users. Finally, it’s a platform that has proven its longevity with a user base that’s doubled in size in the past year and they continue to innovate with new products like Hyperlapse.

So, we’ve just about covered why Instagram is a platform that you should consider when marketing online, but how exactly do you start if you’re looking to reach your audience today?

We’ve got you covered in our next Instagram blog. We’ll delve deeper into marketing territory and explore what changes are coming and what it means for you. More than 65% of the world’s top brands are already on Instagram, is yours?

Will you be advertising your business on Instagram? Let us know in the comments below!

Some of our recent results.

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