ccimage pexels photo 248533 - An Insta-Update, Instagram in 2021

An Insta-Update, Instagram in 2021

By Katelyn Lugo

Instagram is an amazing place for brands to advertise their products and services … when done properly! Though Instagram is a widely used and popular app, ALL brands do not belong on this platform.

Before we dive into Instagram strategy, let’s discuss the basic demographics of Instagram users in the United States.

  • Age: The largest age populations on Instagram are 18 – 24 and 25 – 34. If your target audience doesn’t fall into these age ranges, your marketing dollars would be spent more efficiently on a social platform where your audience exists.
  • Gender: Though majority female, gender is not a defining factor of a brand using Instagram.
  • Ethnicity: Majority of Instagram users in the U.S. identify as White. However, if your brand caters to all ethnicities, this would not be a determining factor of using Instagram.

Based on this info, if your core audience is on Instagram, your brand needs to be there as well!

8.11.21 1 - An Insta-Update, Instagram in 2021

Instagram Users, By Age


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Instagram Users, By Gender 

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Instagram Users, by Race/Ethnicity


Now let’s discuss the interesting stuff … strategy! Instagram is full of ad placements that make it easy for users to engage with your brand while allowing you to be super creative, including new 60 second Reels options, which now support ads. Along with Reels, your brand’s ads can show up on the following Instagram placements:

  • Feed
  • Explore page
  • Stories
  • IGTV

With all these options available, how do brands know which placements to utilize for the best results? SocialMediaToday interviewed Instagram’s Product Marketing Lead for Small Businesses, Emily Reid, for insights into how brands can best use Instagram.

  1. What ad/promotional elements are seeing best response on Instagram right now?

Reid recommends experimenting as much as possible with different ad placements. Reels reach current followers as well as users who don’t follow the brand. Reels is an excellent placement for short videos that are entertaining or educational. Check out this quick and interesting article on how the Reels algorithm works for the end-user. A brand’s Reel can show up in front of anyone, so brands need to make sure they’re top-notch if they want to use this placement. Another good placement to use for engagement, according to Reid, is Stories. This placement allows users to interact with brands on a one-to-one basis, such as polling users and asking open-ended questions that users can respond to individually. This is also the go-to placement for content such as behind the scenes, says Reid.

Q: What’s the key to an effective Instagram marketing strategy?

Following similar advice from above, Reid’s number one tip is to experiment – “People come to Instagram to be inspired and discover things that they care about, which includes content from brands – so businesses should use this to their advantage.” Instagram is shifting their focus to social eCommerce, a trending topic. Have you noticed the new Shop tab on your Instagram homepage? It looks like a bag, and when clicked, it loads for-sale items related to the content you engage with. Users can also shop from Reels and IGTV. Reid suggests eCommerce businesses take advantage of these tools as soon as possible to increase their online sales.

Q: What are some good examples of brands that are achieving strong results with Instagram marketing?

Reid mentions: @halfdays, @HillHouse,

Q: What would be your top tip for someone starting out with Instagram ads?

Reid simply states, “We encourage businesses to try to think like a creator when producing ads – be scrappy, experimental and take inspiration from trending content and effects on the platform.”


At Wahl Media, we provide best practices and engagement statistics to our clients for every social medium platform we would like to utilize. These are guidelines and starting points. Once our clients get going on creating content, experimenting, and have some engagement under their belts, we recommend analyzing their own data and posts to see what works best. Every brand is different, and no solution is one size fits all. Your own brand’s data can provide actionable insights to shape your social media strategy. Ultimately, your audience will tell you what kind of content they want to see and engage with based on historical performance. Your job as a brand is to cater to these valuable users. As they say, the customer is always right!