Instagram Ads, Reporting

The Ultimate Guide to Instagram Ad Reporting in 2018

How do you measure the results of your Instagram ad campaigns? 

Instagram is big and getting bigger.

Recently, social media marketing master Jay Baer said he believes Instagram may soon eclipse even Facebook in terms of usage. 

In Social Media Examiner’s recent “2018 Social Media Marketing Report.” Instagram beat out Twitter in terms of how many social media marketers are using the platform. In fact, Instagram jumped from the #4 slot last year to the #2 slot this year, showing double-digit usage growth. 
 
 
 Instagram is also the second most popular platform to advertise on. 
 
 
 
So if you didn’t know it already, Instagram is the place to be. In terms of cost per click and CPM, it’s a competitive advertising platform, as we outline in the AdStage Q1 2018 PPC Benchmark Report. And now that Instagram lets people purchase products from posts, there’s no way this platform is slowing down. 
 
 
The question is, how do you leverage this growth? How do you test what works, toss what doesn’t, and invest your advertising budget wisely?
 
Well, that’s where Instagram ad reporting comes in. And so we’re going to show you what you can learn from your Instagram ad reports, and how to glean actionable information from them.

 Start with your advertising goals

 
Because Instagram’s advertising is managed in Facebook’s platform (and you can create Instagram ads within the Facebook ad manager), the goals you’ll have access to in Instagram are very similar to what’s available in Facebook.
 
 
Every one of these goals is available for Instagram ads, though for the “Engagement” and “Messages” objectives, and you’ll be limited to the Instagram feed – Instagram stories can’t be advertised for those goals. Also, for “Catalog sales” and “Store visits,” you’ll need to have set up either a catalog or a business location.
 
 If you set up your ad in Instagram – on a mobile device – you’ll have much more limited options.
 
Here are your choices for goals on a mobile device:
  • ·Profile visits
  • Website traffic
  • Promotion views
You can choose a post to promote from within Instagram’s mobile app. You’ll then be brought into Facebook, where you’ll be asked to pick the goal of your promoted Instagram post.
 
Like this: 
 
 
 
 
Here’s how they describe each of those goals:
 
 
 
You have some options for each.
 
If you choose website traffic, you’ll be able to actually send people to whatever page you want to from the promoted post. This means you won’t have to use your Instagram profile copy to define the link. Not being able to link to outside sites has been a real limitation on Instagram, but it is possible to get around it if you advertise.
 
Notice the different call-to-action options you’ve got, too. Those might be worth testing…
 
 
 
If you choose “promotion views,” you’ll have these options for where you send people:
 
 
 
 
If you choose profile views, it’s pretty straight-forward:

 

 
From there, you pick your target audience, which is very similar to Facebook. Note that you can do a local campaign and specify a radius from a specific location. Be careful to label your audience in a consistent way (you have established naming conventions for your ads and audiences, right?), as this will show up in your reporting, and could give you critical information about which audiences generate the best results for you.
 
 
 

 

Then you define your budget and get a final chance to review all your settings.
 
 

 

As soon as your campaign is approved, you’ll be able to see some performance reports… though they won’t show anything much immediately: 
 

Reviewing your Instagram Ad Reports

 
You can now go into Facebook’s Ad Manager and get a more detailed view.
 
Hover over the name of your campaign until you see the “View Charts” option.
 
 
 
Here’s what you’ll see as you click over each of the three tabs (Performance, Demographics, and Placement) for the standard view:
 
While these are easy to find, they don’t really show enough detail to make them really useful. So let’s look at the data a different way.
 
From either the “Campaign,” “Ad Sets” or “Ads” view, you’ll be able to see the pull-down menu that will give you a nice selection of many pre-defined reports. Each report has pre-selected metrics for your ads.
 
 
 
Here are a few of the reports, and the metrics you’ll see for each:
 
  • Performance: Results, Reach, Impression, Cost Per Result, Amount Spent, Ends, Relevancy Score, Frequency, etc.

  • Delivery: Reach, Frequency, Cost per 1,000 people reached, Impressions, CPM.

  • Engagement: People Taking Action, Reactions, Comments, Shares, Link Clicks, Page Likes, CPC etc.

  • Video Engagement: Impressions, 2s Continuous Video Views, Cost per 2s views, 3s Video Views, Cost per 3s Video Views, 10s video views, Cost per 10s views, etc.

  • App Engagement: Mobile App Installs, Mobile App Actions, Cost per Mobile App Install, etc.

  • Carousel Engagement: Reach, Frequency, Impressions, Clicks, etc.

  • Performance and Clicks: Results, Reach, Frequency, Cost Per Result, etc.

  • Cross-Device: Reporting Starts, Reporting Ends, Website Conversions, Mobile App Installs, etc

    You can get even more granular information if you use the “Breakdown” view, like this:

 
 

 

These are all the possible options you have for the breakdown view:
 
 
 
Pretty detailed, right? With all these views and options, you could potentially have a report with several hundred columns.
 
That would be fun to read, right?
 
Not.
 
Fortunately, there’s a way to create custom reports so you can include only the information you want to see. You can also save those custom reports (just like you can save the more general reports), so you don’t have to waste time creating and re-creating the same reports every week.

How to create a custom Instagram Advertising Report

 
As you’ve probably noticed, that pull-down menu (with the first option of “Performance) that’s available from the Campaign, Ad Sets and Ads views has a link to the Custom reports interface. Just click “Customize Columns” in the pull-down menu.
 
 
 
You’ll get enough options to make even the most metric-hungry data wonk happy. And you get to order them as you see fit, and even save them as a preset.
 
 
 
Just remember: Less is often more with reports. Include the information needed to make decisions and optimize your ads, and try to not include anything else.
 

How to use the information in your Instagram reports

 
Clearly, being able to have information about how your ads are performing at this level of detail is powerful. You could use your reports to optimize your ads in dozens of ways, including:
 
  • Which ad types perform best or worst
  • Which ad creative (by headline, image, ad copy, hashtags) perform best or worst
  • Which times of day your audience is active, or when you get the most engagement, so you could use Instagram’s dayparting options
  • Which demographic settings perform best or worst
  • Which countries and locations perform best or worst
You get the idea. Basically every option you have when you set up your ads is something to potentially test. And do look at both the top and bottom-performing metrics. Often, you can save a campaign simply by eliminating the worst-performing ad, or the worst performing device… or whatever other measurement your reports show is bringing the whole campaign down. 
 
It might also be really interesting to see how Instagram treats your ads based on the campaign goal you’ve set. For instance, how does the exact same campaign setup behave if you optimize for website clicks versus conversions?

 We assume that Facebook’s ad serving algorithms are optimizing our campaigns for the actions defined in those goals… but have you ever actually tested that? Maybe what works for their algorithm doesn’t work for your particular campaign. The results of a test like that might be surprising.

 Conclusion

 Now you’re armed with an incredible amount of information – but only the right information for you.

 There’s no need to make yourself or your boss squint through lines of irrelevant information in your reports. With custom reports, you can perfectly tailor the information so what’s important pops, and what isn’t important... no longer has to be ignored.
 

Automate Instagram reporting

 
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