Instagram Ads

What are Instagram ads? How to use it for advertising? Instagram ads are the best channel to extend brand, traffic, generate new leads, and increase sales.

Instagram Ads - How to advertise your business on Instagram

Today Instagram is the breakout star that no advertiser can ignore. It is not just for personal use anymore. In fact, with about 500 million daily active users, it is the best platform to tell visual stories to your customers through various ad formats. In addition, Instagram is an enticing marketing channel, yielding higher ROI than advertising campaigns on other channels.

Instagram is an excellent platform for promoting your brand and products in a friendly, authentic way and magnifying brand awareness or new product/s introduction. If you are new to Instagram marketing or looking to rebuild your Instagram strategy, incorporating Instagram advertising into your marketing strategy is a must. Establishing a strategy will keep you focused on your goals and your audience.

What Is Instagram advertising?

Instagram ads are posts run to serve Instagram users. Instagram advertising is the best channel to extend brand exposure, website traffic, generate new leads, and move current sales conversions.

Being a visual platform, text ads are not a thing on Instagram. Instead, you need images or videos to reach your target audience on Instagram. These ads appear throughout the Instagram app, including users' feeds, stories, and more. However, these ads look similar to normal Instagram posts but always contain a "sponsored" label, indicating that they are ads. Also, these advertisement posts have additional features associated with a normal post, such as CTA buttons and product catalogs.  

How does Instagram advertising work?

Earlier for advertising on Instagram, sponsored posts were the only option available. It required negotiating with Instagram influencers to promote your brand on their account. However, this is an effective way to drive traffic and sales; it has limitations like being expensive, having a limited target audience, and no accountability of the influencers.  

However, today sponsored posts are not the only way to leverage influencers. In October 2017, to increase transparency for users, Instagram launched paid partnerships. These paid partnerships are available to accounts with a fair amount of Instagram followers and engagement. In addition, it provides more insights and reporting than any other standard sponsored post.

Today, Instagram advertising is managed right inside of Facebook's Ads Manager. As a result, advertisers get access to a plethora of targeting options. It also facilitates creating ads for both platforms at the same time.

Also, it gives you total control over your ads. You can decide how they appear and who sees them. Also, your ads get posted directly from your account. This also facilitates highly refined audience targeting.

Why choose Instagram advertising?

Today you can not ignore the power of the social network. The social advertising platforms provide control to target specific customers of different genders, age groups, locations, and interests.

Instagram ads are a great way to showcase your product to the customers. With Instagram feeds, you can actively engage with your audience. However, to reach out to an even larger audience, paid ads can be a good alternative. So you can incorporate both organic and paid tactics in your social media marketing strategy.

To serve up Instagram ads to the relevant audience, Instagram uses Facebook's demographic data. Since Facebook has a thorough history of customer demography and other details, it becomes extremely valuable for advertisers to target a niche audience.

How much do Instagram ads cost?

The costs of Instagram ads are based on a variety of factors. Some cost factors include:

  • Your target audience
  • Industry competitiveness
  • Placement of the ads
  • Customer demographics
  • Day of the week (costs is more during holidays)

The revenue model of Instagram ads is based on CPC (cost-per-click) and CPM (cost per impressions). The ad prices are determined based on Instagram's ad auction, audience, competition, time of day, day of the week, etc.

No doubt, Instagram ads have higher engagement, but they can cost advertisers. Instagram ads costs are a bit more than Facebook ads cost. Instagram feed and Instagram story ads are the cheapest placement options for ads, costing about $0.80 to $1.30 CPC.

Advertisers have control over budget allocations for Instagram ads. Advertisers can choose a daily budget to limit the amount spent per day or an allotted span budget to run ads for a specified time up to the time the budget is exhausted.

Advertisers can also set ad schedules, like some specific hours of the day only to run ads, ad delivery methods, like link clicks, impressions, and unique daily reach, and can set bid amount also.

However, there is no limit to spending on advertising. You can start by allocating a few dollars on Instagram ads and slowly scaling up based on the results. Better to place your budget behind content that you know brings about well organically. Also, make sure to measure your ad success and take note of failures.

How to start advertising on Instagram?

As already discussed, Instagram advertising is configured through Facebook's Ads Manager. Advertisers who want to run large ads can configure their ads through Power Editor or Facebook's Marketing API. However, there is also a handy alternative to create simple ads directly within the Instagram app. Advertisers who want to manage multiple ads and large audiences, and deliver content on a large scale, can choose Instagram Partners.  

Creating ads through Facebook's Ad Manager is the most common method for creating Instagram ads. Here it is very easy to use and customize ads. Here we'll focus on creating ads through Facebook's Ad Manager.

Go to Facebook's ad manager

First, you need to link your Instagram account to your Facebook page. Login to your Facebook account, and go to Facebook ad manager.  

Set your marketing objective

Work on the marketing objectives you are looking for through Instagram ads. Usually, Instagram ads work with the following goals:

  • Brand awareness: Instagram shows your ads to more potential customers. As a result, the general awareness of your brand will increase.
  • Reach: If you want to maximize your reach to the target customers, you can take advantage of Facebook's split testing feature. This feature allows you to split test two ads and see which one yields more installs. This feature is also available to measure traffic, app installs, video views, lead generation, and conversion goals.
  • Traffic: If you're looking for more traffic for your website or app store, this is the relevant goal for you. Just choose between the two, provide the URL, and you are done.
  • Engagement: If you want your Instagram followers to engage in your content and like, comment, or share your ad, just set your objective to engage.
  • App Installs: If you want your customers to install your official app, provide a CTA (Call to action button) to direct them to the app store. During set up, choose your app from the app store.
  • Video Views: It is an excellent idea to captivate the audience with video ads at every stage of the buyer's journey. Adding a video ad to the product description enhances the sales conversion prospects by manifolds. Usually, audiences also like to share interesting video ads with their friends and followers on Instagram.
  • Lead Generation: If you want to generate more leads for your business, this objective is for you. To find people interested in your brand, set a lead generation goal.
  • Conversions: Conversions allow you to drive leads to take action. It takes your audience to your website or app. Here you are required to configure either a Facebook pixel or app event you're looking to promote. This will assist you in tracking customer conversions.
  • Catalog sales: This helps brands showcase their products from the product catalog, targeting your potential customers. You need to set up a product catalog to use this format.

It is very important to choose the right marketing objective. Never waste your ad budget by choosing a meaningless objective that doesn't make sense for the content of your ad.

Decide your target audience

Now it's time to target the relevant audience to reach your ads to the right people. Instagram allows you with targeting options based on location, demographics, interests, behavior, and automated targeting. You can even target a custom audience on Instagram.

Instagram uses Facebook's depth of demographic knowledge to reach the right audience.

  • Age: You can choose your target audience from age 13 to 65 yrs.
  • Gender: You can choose your target gender, men or ladies.
  • Location: You can target a country, region, state, city, zip code as per your choice. Location targeting of the audience even permits you to include or exclude certain places.
  • Languages: It is recommended to leave this blank unless the language you're targeting is not common to your target location.
  • Interests: In 'Detailed Targeting,' you will find interests, with multiple sub-categories to choose from, as per your demand.
  • Demographics: In 'Detailed Targeting,' you will find demographics, with several sub-categories to choose from, as per your demand.
  • Behaviors: In 'Detailed Targeting,' you will find behaviors with endless sub-categories to explore.
  • Custom Audience: Here, you can upload your contact list and target audience to the customers you are looking to upsell.
  • Lookalike Audience: This allows Instagram to search for people with similar traits to your other audiences.
  • Connections: It gives the option to target people connected to your page.

Once you have narrowed down your audience list, Facebook provides a list to review your audience. Here you can strike a balance of your audience not being too huge and not being too specific.

Choose your ad placements

Now it's time to choose your ad placements. If your goal is to only show ads only on Instagram, and you have content created specifically for Instagram, uncheck Facebook and Audience Network from the platforms. This will ensure that your ad will only appear on Instagram.

If this step is ignored, your ad will appear on both platforms, Facebook and Instagram. Here you can also specify if you want an ad to appear in the feed or the stories section of Instagram.

Set ad budget and schedule

Now it's time to work on the ad budget, which you want to spend on showing people your ads. It will help you control your overall spend for an ad campaign. You can set a total budget for the lifetime of the campaign. It will allow you to schedule your ad delivery. You can also set one per day, ensuring the campaign runs for the duration without running out of budget. Daily budgets warranty your budget won't be spent too quickly.

With a better understanding of budgeting and costs, you can plan to put your ad budget to turn your Instagram followers into dedicated customers. However, you can also run an ad schedule at specific times and days of the week. This will help you to optimize your ad budget.

Create your Instagram ad

It's time to create your Instagram ad. First, you must have some content in your mind for the ad you want to create. Next, you will have to select your ad format from a few ad format options to choose from.

Instagram ad formats

Instagram offers six ad formats to choose from for your ad campaign. Two of them are for Instagram stories, and the other four are designed for Instagram feeds.

  • Image feed ads

These are single-image ads that will appear organically while scrolling through the feed. Therefore, they don't feel like ads. Instead, these photo ads look like a simple post, but there is a small "Sponsored" notation in the corner.

  • Image story ads

Like Image feed ads, Image story ads are placed organically within the story's environment. Thus, they appear organically while scrolling through the stories.  

  • Video feed ads

You can add life to your ad with a video. Using the video format, you can showcase your products, services, or brands in new ways, tell your brand story, and quickly grab potential customers' attention.

  • Video story ads

In your Instagram stories, you can play video ads that are 15 seconds or less. Video ads that are ten seconds or longer get split into separate story cards. These video story ads allow you to share more dynamic content with your customers.  

  • Carousel feed ads

With this format, you can show a series of scrollable images rather than just one single image. It allows you to create a series of up to 10 photos or videos in a single ad and showcase a collection or group of products. Carousel ads are like mini product catalogs and could be a great option for announcing a new product line or a seasonal collection.

  • Canvas story ads

Canvas ads allow advertisers to create a 360 VR experience within their Instagram stories. Hence they offer a great way to enhance your brand-building efforts. In addition, canvas ads provide an ideal opportunity to show off some of your beautiful branding assets and build an emotional connection with your customers.

  • Reels

Reels is a new way to create interesting and engaging video content for Instagram followers. Instagram reel ads follow the same format as reel video and are best for eye-catching and intriguing short video content. These ads can be up to 30 seconds long and play in a loop, creating the feel of a natural part of the video stream.

  • IGTV

IGTV is a long-form immersive video from your favorite Instagram creators. These IGTV ads are not limited to one minute and take over your entire screen.IGTV is a new app for watching long-form videos and allows Instagram users to create channels and upload long videos of 15 seconds to 10 minutes. IGTV is the best modern way to create more compelling and engaging content for your audience.

  • Shopping ads

Now Instagram users can view and purchase products without leaving the app. The new Instagram shopping ads take the audience straight to the product description page. Here, they can purchase on Instagram shopping catalog.


There is no doubt that Instagram is the best advertising social network today. It is not only growing greatly but also bringing in business for brands. In the past few years, it has grown as a big advertising platform and attracted many big brands to advertise there.

If you want to expand your coverage further, Instagram advertising is a perfect choice!

About the author

has been working as a web developer and in online marketing since 1998. After building up a marketing agency and the exit in 2013, he consulted international groups as a freelance consultant. Since 2022, he and his team now offer staffing services in this field.

Dennis Hoinkis CEO, GLOMASTCO Ltd.

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