Instagram is a social channel ripe for community-building — boosted posts can help extend your reach, impressions and overall discoverability.
While organic social media efforts are great for engaging with your audience naturally, boosted posts and Reels allow you to target your audience, increase reach and drive conversions.
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Essentially, boosting a post on Instagram is when you pay to turn your post into an ad. Boosting is done to reach more users within a target demographic, typically with a specific purpose. Boosted posts can appear in Stories or the Explore page.
On Instagram, users can choose from three objectives for boosted posts:
Crafting a traditional ad from scratch can be costly, with no guaranteed ROI. That’s where boosted posts come into play. Instead of creating new paid content, you can pay to promote the photos and videos that resonate with your organic audience the most, with a more reasonable cost that fits your budget. This lets you create more paid and targeted content and boost your best posts to reach new audiences.
Beyond being a cost-effective way to promote your brand and reach specific audiences for a social campaign, there are many benefits to boosting Instagram content. It’s a helpful way to build brand awareness with new users — but the benefits don’t stop there. Some perks of boosting Instagram content include:
Luckily, boosted posts aren’t limited to traditional, in-feed posts. Brands can boost nearly any type of content found on Instagram so that you can put money behind your best-performing content.
There are five main types of posts you can boost on Instagram:
Post selection is at the heart of Instagram promotion. Clicks won’t translate into conversions if the content itself is lacking. The right image or video should feel like a natural fit in your target audience’s feed, albeit with a specific call-to-action — although this doesn’t necessarily have to mean purchasing a product. The boosted post could aim to educate others about your brand or reach a new range of users.
Before boosting an Instagram post, you must set up an Instagram business account. It’s important to note you can only boost posts that are already published — however, you can upload a new image with a Sponsored post (more on these later).
Here are eight steps to boost an Instagram post:
Once your post is approved and meets Meta’s ad policies, your ad will begin to run.
Reels generate the most Instagram engagement, making them an uber-effective way to capture your audience with exciting and compelling visuals. Boosted Reels will appear in the Explore page, Reels tab, general feed and Stories, so there are multiple ways to be discovered.
Here’s how to boost an Instagram Reel:
To boost a Story, it must already feature in your archive or Highlights to boost an Instagram Story.
To boost an Instagram Story:
While fresh stories expire after 24 hours, your boosted Story will remain live and discoverable for the length specified during the ‘duration’ step.
While a boosted post and a sponsored post have paid efforts behind them, they are slightly different.
A boosted post is when you take existing photos, videos, Reels and Stories and spend money to share them with a broader, more targeted audience. Sponsored posts or ads, such as an Instagram Story ad, are created from the Meta Ads Manager and don’t require an existing published post.
Some of the most significant differences of sponsored posts in Meta’s Ad Manager include:
Boosted posts rely on your best-performing content. Brands can quickly determine their top content to share utilizing Dash Hudson's Instagram Insights, Dashboards and Vision. Vision uses AI technology to decide which visuals from your content library have the highest chance to perform well based on current trends and past performance.
Moreover, you can measure the performance of your organic boosted posts in Dash Hudson’s platform. To see how boosted content performs, navigate to Instagram Overview and hover over any content from your Top Performing Video to get a snapshot of promoted metrics. Insights don’t end there — to dig deeper into your promoted Instagram performance, select ‘Insights’ then ‘Your Posts.’ Now, you can ‘Sort By’ organic, promoted or total to see how well your boosted content did in terms of comments, engagement, Entertainment Score, impressions, likes, reach, saves, shares and views. To monitor your promoted performance at-a-glance, you can add these metrics to a Dashboard for convenient access.
As of 2022, you can boost Instagram Reels. Instagram Reels garner more likes and saves than static posts, making this format perfect for engaging new users and boosting your follower count.
Yes, boosting Instagram posts works — depending on your goals. If your goal is to increase brand awareness, grow your audience and build your brand identity, boosting an Instagram account is a great way to capitalize on content that already earns high engagement and reach more users with content that feels more organic than typical ads on social.
However, it’s essential to set goals and objectives for boosted posts and measure their impact when determining whether boosting is the best tactic to reach your goals in a specific campaign.
Boosting an Instagram post gives you lots of freedom in your budget — while brands can boost content with as little as $1 with no cap, Meta recommends starting with a USD $5 budget spread out over six days. This lets them get your content in front of your optimal target audience. From there, your team can budget more or less depending on the results from your initial boosted posts.
Promoted content is created in Meta Ads Manager, while boosted posts are from existing Reels, Stories and posts already shared to your account.