How to Rock Instagram PPC on a Budget

Andy Beohar

Andy Beohar is a co-founder of SevenAtoms, a marketing agency that is a premiere Google AdWords Partner and a Gold level HubSpot partner. Andy develops and manages ROI positive paid marketing campaigns for Tech, SaaS and Ecommerce companies.

Instagram is hotter than June in Arizona. This photo-sharing app has developed into a brand worthy of recognition as one of the best social media platforms for more than just your family vacation photos. Influencers, brands, and advertisers all make their homes on Instagram these days. Just look at the stats:

  • 110 million U.S. Instagram daily users. 70 million in Brazil. 69 million in India. 
  • 75% of Americans ages 18 to 24 use the platform.
  • U.S. market penetration is at 37%.
  • Two-thirds of Americans in the 18-24 age range use Instagram multiple times a day; 60% of those 25-34, and 49% of those 35-44.

The platform is important to the markets we covet, so the ROI for advertisers is high. But what if you don’t have a large budget? 

Repurposing your Instagram organic content lets you engage and convert people that have already interacted with your brand. This helps you improve your messaging with A/B testing, stay top of mind, and also improve your return on ad spend (ROAS). This article will tell you how to rock Instagram PPC with these techniques — especially when you are on a budget.

Repurposing Organic Posts

If you don’t have a ton of cash, reusing your Instagram organic content can help you stretch your marketing budget. The key is to knock it out of the park with your content right from the start, adding engaging, educational content that also builds your brand. Your goal is to find the content that resonates and drives high audience engagement. Then you can monetize it by using it to move your audience into customers.

But to start, you need to understand who is engaging with your Instagram content.

There’s no guesswork in this process; Instagram Insights tracks this data for you. Just go to your Instagram business profile, and from the hamburger on the upper right corner, select “Insights” from the drop-down menu. From there, you can run a report on the content that received the most engagement by year. You’re looking for the total post engagements and the total number of impressions. This should inform your content strategy going forward.

To repurpose your content, click on the Create Ad button underneath your high-performing posts. Try to select the content that will create the best representative brand awareness for your business. The Create Ad tool will let you determine what to send (your profile, website, or direct messages). To start, don’t worry about generating sales or leads. This first test will simply repurpose your content for awareness — and you don’t need to spend much to do this, either.

Here’s a good example of the kind of content to repurpose. Seal Skin Covers, a company that sells specialty vehicle covers, ran a three-day Facebook contest. The target audience was based on two criteria: One, people who owned Mustangs, and two, people who were not Seal Skin followers. The contest focused on how well the audience knew their Mustangs. 

You can see this content generated a high degree of interaction with end users. They subsequently retargeted 25,900 people on Instagram for buying their product. 

Targeting Your Audience

The goal of repurposing content is to focus on “warm audiences” that are already familiar with your brand. On your Facebook Custom Audience tool, click the Instagram business profile source to pick the warmer audiences already engaging with your content. You will see options to select people that visited your Instagram business profile, sent you an Instagram direct message, or saved or engaged with your Instagram post or advertisement.

Note the Excluded feature that helps define your targeting efforts. You can cull out anyone that has sent you a direct message, for example, since these people are already highly engaged with your brand and may not need the additional ad spend. Then you can retarget these warmer, customized audiences, or select a wider audience to test across the social platforms. 

Retargeting an audience in this way has much higher conversion rates than “cold calling,” so to speak. This isn’t to say neglect the growth of your audience, but if you only have a shoestring budget for PPC, you want to make sure you’re getting revenue in return. That makes these targeted audiences a much surer bet for revenue return.

Retargeting also works at the top, middle, and bottom of your sales funnel for lead generation. For example:

  • Top of funnel leads can be targeted with stories posts or an organic feed of entertaining details about your products and services. You can use the Instagram in-app promotion features to encourage people to direct message you and then automate a quick response to their inquiry to keep the lead warm.
  • Middle funnel leads can come from retargeting a custom audience who has already engaged with your brand on Instagram.
  • Bottom of funnel leads can receive an ad if they viewed the content but didn’t directly message you. You can take the ad and send it to the masses to keep the cost per lead at a lower rate.

A/B Testing to Stretch Your Dollars

You should always A/B test to regularly optimize your ads. This will help you determine what placement is most effective and what audiences are working versus which are not. Instagram offers three ways to repurpose your content: on the Instagram feed, Instagram Stories, and Instagram Search and Explore. You can use the Breakdown tool in the Facebook Ads Manager section to determine which of these channels performs the best for your repurposed content. 

As a social media marketing strategy for content, retargeting to warm audiences on Instagram is a smart way to stretch your dollar with a high ROI. Each of the tips we described will help you make better use of the followers that are currently engaging with your brand. When you don’t have a big budget, you can still rock Instagram with a PPC campaign designed to maximize your ROI.