Instagram Advertising for E-Commerce

By Carlos Cravo | 21 Jan 2016

With more than 400 million active users worldwide, Instagram has emerged as a powerful marketing tool if you know how to use it.

If you look across to your smartphone apps, we are willing to bet that you will stumble upon a glossy square camera called Insta. You’re not alone. Instagram has amassed more than 400 million users worldwide and five million users in Australia alone. With such an extensive reach, it’s only natural that Instagram has looked to start capitalising on this engagement by opening up its advertising platform to early adopters.

But the question on everyone’s mind is, will it be an effective channel for e-commerce and businesses selling online?


Instagram as a digital marketing channel

The biggest challenge with Instagram marketing has been generating direct traffic to a website from Instagram posts and being able to attribute sales directly to the channel. We all know this is vital to achieving conversions and measuring marketing channel ROI, which hasn’t been possible on Instagram… until now.

Instagram ads allow you to create ‘sponsored posts’ where the entire canvas of the image and a call-to-action button link directly to a website from the Instagram app. Marketers everywhere are celebrating this release as it makes it the perfect avenue for e-commerce stores to advertise and test marketing messages.

But first, is your target audience on Instagram?

Before spending any advertising dollars on Instagram advertising, you must ensure a segment of your target audience is is actively and regularly using the platform.


Age and sex: In Australia, 67 percent of Instagram’s five million Aussie users are aged between 18 and 34, which is a prime audience for many e-commerce stores around the country. Fifty-five percent of those users aged between 18 an 34 are female.

Usage: The core user base of 3.33 million Aussies on the platform are actively scrolling through their feeds every day. Hashtags are used in posts and search by 46 percent of users, which proves how vital hashtags are to brands in helping users find content.

Living environments: 28 percent of Instagrammers live in urban areas, 26 percent live in outer-suburbs, while 19 percent live rurally. This is important data for your Instagram communications and should influence how you position your brand and the types of advertisements/messages you display in specific geographical areas.

Interests: Being a visual medium, there is no surprise what verticals attract the most interest among Australians. On average, a user follows six personal interests. The most popular interests in Australia are:

  • Friends (61 percent)
  • Photography (40 percent)
  • Travel (40 percent)
  • Food (36 percent)
  • Fashion (32 percent)
  • Music (32 percent)
  • Fitness (28 percent)
  • Health (25 percent)
  • Sport (23 percent)

(All data via Instagram by Hoop Group research.)

These figures make an attractive proposition for online retailers like The Iconic, which is showing off next season’s range. Don’t be too concerned if your audience doesn’t seem to fit in with these majority audience figures. If most of your customer base is aged 35 and over or not within a major interest vertical, Instagram advertising may still be an excellent option. People over 35 years old make up more than 30 percent of Australia’s Instagram users, which means there are about 1.66 million people ready to be marketed to. And the number of users in this bracket is increasing quickly.


A photo posted by THE ICONIC (@theiconicau) on

Will advertising on Instagram create direct sales?

Among Instagram’s audience base, 26 percent of people earn more than $100,000 a year, while more than 50 percent earn more than $50,000, making it an attractive audience to many businesses. But no matter what your target market’s purchasing power is, there is no formula that guarantees success for every e-commerce store or industry vertical.

As with all digital marketing, the best data is your own data. Use all of your knowledge from other channels like Facebook ads and AdWords to set up a few test campaigns with various messages and ensure high-quality visuals. Keep split testing creative and targeting specifics until you find what works best for your business.

If you haven’t already considered advertising on Instagram, it’s time to start thinking about taking your brand forward to the future of digital marketing.

So what are you waiting for?

1 Comment

One thought on “Instagram Advertising for E-Commerce”

  1. barbaramae.bormann says:

    Hi there, this is a great article.

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