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172. [BIZ BITE] Does Paying for Ads Increase Your Organic Instagram Reach

There’s no question that if you pay to play on social media you get your product and content in front of more of your ideal customers; but does spending money on ads increase your organic reach too?

This question was posed by a member of the Lounge and I’ve actually heard a few people talking about it around the internet so I thought I’d share the experience I had recently while spending money on Instagram ads and seeing increased organic exposure. Let’s discuss!

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I don’t think the platforms have come out and said anything about this either way, but according to some peeps I know who do run a shit ton of ads they would tell you no not at all. They’re seeing the worst reach they’ve ever seen. 

On the other hand, a few weeks ago when we were running the Confused to Conversion workshop we were using ads and I was seeing increased reach. I was seeing people who haven’t interacted with my content in a long time engaging and my best guess is because they just haven’t seen my content in a while. 

So do I think it’s because we were running ads? Yes but also no. Essentially, I don’t think it was Instagram favoring me, the organic reach was a byproduct of the paid engagement. While the ads were running I was getting a lot of new followers who were engaging with the organic posts which is a signal to the platforms that people like what you posted and so it shows that content to more people and if they like it, they engage with it, which sends another signal to the algorithm and the cycle starts again. You see the pattern right?

In addition to the paid ads, because we were in the middle of opening the doors to the Lounge, I was also posting more organic content than I do in a typical week. And I posted a lot of reels. Most of them didn’t really get that much reach, and the one that did only did because of the sound and don’t think it really hit my people, so it wasn’t because of that. 

So, does paying ads mean the social platforms will favor you? No. But will it help you reach more people simply because you’re getting more engagement overall? Likely. 

And in fact, one of my previous guests, Katie Wight, in episode 85 if you want to dive deeper into social media strategy, talks a lot about using ads to get more eyes on your organic content. I honestly don’t remember if she talks specifically about that strategy in that episode or if I just heard her talk about it somewhere else, but honestly – either way – it’s a great episode. 

But what’s even more important than deciding whether or not ads are something you should do,  is creating content that people actually want to see. I talked about this in an email not too long ago when I had a carousel post that got a shit ton of reach, and engagement and brought me a bunch of new followers – and no, I’m not running ads right now. 

And went I looked back at it to try and diagnose why that happened… it really was that simple. It was really valuable to the user. And that could be a podcast episode all its own, creating content for your business that your ideal customer wants to see.

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Important Episode Links:

85. Why You Might Be Doing Social Media Wrong & How to Do It Right with Katie Wight

69. How to Create Content That Converts: The Rocks Method

64. How to Create Ads that Your Customers will Click with Lauren Schwartz

Holiday Planning Guide & Content Prompts for Product-Based Businesses

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Jessica Totillo Coster of eCommerce Badassery eating gelato on stairs in Rome Italy

Hey, I'm Jessica eCommerce & Email Marketing Strategist

I support scrappy female entrepreneurs with actionable steps & strategies to grow and scale the traffic, sales & profit in their eCommerce businesses. Learning from the top experts in the digital marketing & eCommerce industry I love working with female entrepreneurs and teaching the secrets of 7-figure eCommerce businesses.

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