The Downside of Instagram Ads

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Within the last couple of months, Instagram has opened its advertising capabilities through its self serving platforms, such as Power Editor and Ads Manager. Social media marketers and small business owners rejoiced as it became a lot easier to reach potential customers on the ever so popular social platform.

Currently, Instagram advertising costs are relatively low with the average cost per click around $0.20-$0.40 (from what I’ve seen). Who wouldn’t love that? However, there is one small downside to Instagram ads that not every advertiser may know…yet.

Last week, I was served a Postmates ad on Instagram (no pun intended). They have recently been pushing their partnership with Chipotle. Of course as an avid Chipotle eater and fan, I have been receiving several ads from them.

The ad I received was highlighting their current big promotion/giveaway, #100DaysofChipotle. I was encouraged to tag a “burrito-loving friend” to enter. Without hesitation, I participated and tagged a friend. However, I later discovered that my “burrito-loving friend” received a somewhat different ad/photo than I did.

While the imagery and copy remained the same, the photo/ad layout had a minor change. Let’s see if you can spot the difference:

Postmates Ad Blog Image

If you guessed: No website CTA link/button, then you are correct! 

When I first spotted and engaged with this Instagram ad I thought to myself, what a great way to increase website/app traffic. By tagging a friend you are increasing your reach organically, which could potentially help increase your website clicks. Unfortunately, this is not the case.  As you can see, the website CTA button no longer exists for the tagged Instagram user thus the potential organic website traffic is lost.

Postmates Ad Blog Image 2

Why? That’s the million dollar question! I have not yet read any Instagram explanation or article that discusses a reason. But no need to worry, not all the potential benefits are lost. Postmates is still gaining a decent amount of organic reach and overall giveaway & brand awareness through the tagging feature/mechanism. They are just not gaining the additional website traffic that they may have expected.

While this downside does seem very odd, don’t stray away from advertising on Instagram all together! Just remember to keep this in mind when launching your campaign.