How to advertise on Instagram | Complete guide

ould you like to launch online advertising campaigns on Instagram but you don’t know how to get the most out of it? Do you want to try a new marketing channel for your business?

In this article I will show you how to advertise on Instagram Ads , reviewing its formats, advantages, giving you some practical tips to avoid beginner mistakes, how to optimize your campaigns, promote a publication and other interesting information about the platform. Plus, you’ll find a complete step-by-step guide to creating your own campaign. You are ready? Let’s get started!

What is Instagram Ads?

Instagram Ads, or advertising on Instagram , is the advertising platform in the form of videos or images on the platform to reach a target audience using different pre-established segmentation criteria when creating the ad.

The goal is to invest a certain amount of money, which you can also set, to offer certain content to people whose interests are related to it.

The way to make ads on Instagram Ads is the same as on Facebook, since the same platform is used, Facebook Ads , which has made it one of the largest ad management platforms, with more than a billion ads. monthly active users.

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Why advertise on Instagram? What are its advantages?

You must keep in mind that Instagram is a business that bases its income on companies’ advertising investment. Therefore, to take advantage of its full potential you have to check out.

Some of the benefits that Instagram Ads offers are:

  • Reach your potential clients in the same medium where they interact with their friends and references.
  • Manage to impact your target audience by taking advantage of all the visual possibilities it offers you.
  • Reach Instagram users who are interested in your products/services.
  • Improve your image and transmit your brand values.
  • Increase your followers and create a community around your brand.
  • The platform is constantly evolving.
  • You don’t need a high initial investment, as you can start getting results by bidding $10.
  • It gives the possibility of launching simultaneous omnichannel campaigns on Facebook and Instagram. 
  • Data can be collected on the same platform.
  • You can take advantage of the audience , both from Instagram and Facebook, to segment and optimize well-categorized campaigns.
  • Use advanced segmentation criteria such as age, gender, location, position, interests, etc. to direct us to the correct profile. In turn, thanks to the Facebook Pixel we can create similar or lookalike audiences, that is, impact people who have already interacted with our website or competitors’ audiences.
  • It is one of the platforms with the highest engagement.
  • It allows you to do a promotion on Instagram in a simple way and with almost no knowledge.

7 Tips for Creating Instagram Ads That Stand Out

Before analyzing the different advertising formats available on Instagram and starting with the guide to create your campaigns on the social network, I will give you 7 tips to make your ads stand out.

  1. Simulate the amateur format : do not forget that Instagram is a social network where users seek to interact with their friends and acquaintances. Therefore, if you simulate an amateur format in your creativity, you will draw the user’s attention by identifying your ad with a publication from their friends.
  2. Create spatial inconsistencies : create compositions that confuse the senses so that they stop at your ad. The feeling of weightlessness, inverted reflections and impossible perspectives are usually the most common.
  3. Includes smiling faces : humans are attracted to other faces, and if they are smiling, even more so. And if, in addition, they appear enjoying your product or service, you will be sending an implicit message to users that will make them want it.
  4. Use in humor : humor and amazement are two of the ingredients that work best on social networks. If you can use it in your creatives, you will boost your interaction and the reach of your message.
  5. Tell stories : people are attracted to stories, you just have to see the “boom” of the series. And if you manage to transmit with them emotions related to the consumption of your product/service, it will become an indelible mark in the brains of your customers.
  6. Maintain consistency : everything said above should not be at odds with maintaining consistency between your creativity and your product/service. That is, prioritize the content of your brand and the message you want to convey. Don’t forget that the objective itself is not to create content that generates greater interaction, but to reach our target audience and help us increase our sales.
  7. Raise the quality : another way to stand out is through quality. If you offer content of higher quality you will attract the attention of users and the effectiveness of the campaigns will increase. A clear example of this is the creatives that use international brands such as Nike, Coca Cola, etc. But you don’t have to spend thousands of euros to achieve it: if you manage to offer the best quality among your competitors, you will achieve the same result.


What types and formats of Instagram ads can you use?

Once we have reviewed what advertising on Instagram is and its benefits, and you have the keys to creating ads that stand out; We are going to analyze all the ad formats that you can use on the platform. Please note that depending on the format type of your ad, it will appear in the News Feed, Feed, or Stories.

This way you can unleash all your creativity by knowing the rules of the game. In addition, I will give you some tips on how to publish an ad on Instagram and optimize each format so that you can get ideas to apply in your campaigns.

1. Image

The image format is the most used and easiest (a priori) to implement. However, creating an image ad that attracts the attention of your target audience in an environment where the level of photographic quality is very high is not easy at all.

Try to include a quality image that, in addition to transmitting a message that reinforces the objective of your campaign, stands out for its quality and creativity.

All the investment you make at this point will have its reward. And you will achieve a lower advertising cost and a higher conversion.

The most used format is the square one, but you can also use the vertical or horizontal format.

2. Video

Video is the star format on social networks, and it stands by far as one of the formats with the greatest interaction and that best connects with users.

This is due to two factors. Firstly, moving images attract more attention than a static image and, on the other hand, you can convey much more information through a video and users will appreciate more details that will indicate to them that they are looking at their best purchase option.

However, video also has a great disadvantage: its difficulty and high production cost.

Making quality videos has a high cost that many businesses cannot afford. But you surely have a latest generation mobile phone, right?

Well, take advantage of that cutting-edge camera and start creating simple videos for your campaigns. In the following sections I will teach you how to view your competitors’ ads to get inspiration and ideas when creating yours.

As for the format, they may not exceed 60 minutes in length. He left you this link to the official Facebook page with the available formats.

3. Carousel or sequence

Through sequences or carousels you can show from 2 to 10 videos and/or images in your ads. And you can take advantage of this functionality to:

  • Highlight different angles of a product.
  • Show multiple products.
  • List characteristics of a service.
  • Create a composition in mosaic format.
  • Tell a story in several stages.
  • And a long etcetera.

As in all cases, creativity to power. But something that works very well to get users to see all the images in the carousel is to include visual marks that indicate that there are more images to see. Or, in the case of including video, invite the user to swipe to see the next video.


4. Stories

Stories are one of the strong points of Instagram, reaching the point that more than 500 million people use them every day .

Stories have many advantages, among them, they are a totally immersive experience, in which for 15 seconds you will have the user’s full attention and you will be able to convince them to perform the target action.

In addition, it does not limit you only to using a single image or video, but you can use multiple images or videos to expand the creative possibilities and the message you convey.


6. Collection

Through collections you can show users a collection of products in a very visual format and completely adapted for mobile phones.

Furthermore, if you install the Facebook Pixel on your website and synchronize the catalog of your online store with that of Facebook, you will be able to display in a personalized way the products that most interest your potential customers.

7. Explore ads

Explore ads appear within the Explore tab, an area of ​​the platform where users can discover new content and accounts that match their interest and Instagram usage habits.

Because the content in users’ Explore tabs is constantly changing, Explore ads allow businesses to appear alongside culturally relevant and trending content. This content can be in both image and video formats.

8. Instagram Video

Instagram Video ads are video ads that play after a user clicks to watch a video from their feed. The duration of these videos can be up to 10 minutes for “normal” users and up to 60 minutes for verified profiles. They should be designed to be displayed vertically in full screen.

9. Shopping

Every year Instagram improves e-commerce functionalities within the same platform. Instagram Shopping Ads take users directly to a product description page within the Instagram app. Afterwards, they can purchase within the mobile website.

To post shopping ads, you must set up your shopping catalog on Instagram.

10. Reels

After the successful launch of Reels, Instagram gives the opportunity to advertise within them. These are full screen vertical videos and can be up to 60 seconds long. We recommend that they include sound or music so that they integrate well with organic Reels.

How to discover your competition’s Instagram advertising strategy?

Now that you know in summary the possibilities that the platform offers you, you have to know what is working in your sector and where the level of your competitors is.

This step is essential and will save you a lot of headaches figuring out what works and what doesn’t. I’m not telling you to copy your competition, far from it. But, before going out to play the game, you have to know your opponents. That is to say: your competitors.

But you can go much further if you also look at the big players in your sector, those who have the most capital and carry out the most creative campaigns. You will surely get a lot of ideas to apply to your Instagram Ads campaigns.

That being said, let’s look at how you can research your competitors’ ads. You will only have to follow these steps:

  1. Enter the Instagram profile that interests you.
  2. Display the side navigation menu.
  3. Click on “information about this account”.
  4. Enter the “active ads” tab.
  5. Cross out! You will be able to investigate all your competitors’ creatives.


How much does it cost to run campaigns on Instagram Ads?

The amount of money to invest in Instagram Ads depends on your budget and different factors that can influence the price of your campaigns . It will not be until you activate the campaign that you will be able to know how much it costs you to meet the set objective.

For example, if your ad pursues the objective of driving traffic to a page , you must divide the cost of the campaign by the number of visits obtained to your page through the campaign. Or, if your goal is to obtain downloads, you must divide the cost of the campaign by the number of downloads. This way you will know the average amount you need to allocate to achieve your goals .

Other most used metrics are cost per click (CPC), cost per thousand (CPM) or cost per lead (CPL), among others.

According to research conducted by Revealbot , the average cost of advertising on Instagram is: 

  • $10.55 CPM (cost per thousand impressions)
  • $15.65 CPL (cost per lead)
  • 1.31$ CPC (cost per click)

However, the price of advertising with Instagram Ads depends on the budget we are willing to spend. The platform allows us to establish a daily budget so that, once the limit is reached, the ad is no longer displayed, or to create a budget for a set of ads to be displayed for a set period of time.

It must be taken into account that the real price , that is, what Instagram will charge us for each result obtained, will depend on different factors: competition, audience segmentation, promoted product or service, time of year or location. That is, according to the objective of the campaign . 

Therefore, it will be necessary to carry out tests to determine how much our Facebook Ads campaign will cost us based on our objective.

Let’s see it with an example: imagine that you have a landing page in which you offer a demo of your product and you discover that, after carrying out a campaign to obtain registrations on said landing, the price per registered person is €3. Furthermore, out of every 100 registered people, 5 end up purchasing the €150 product after doing the demo:

  • 100 people registered x €3 for each person obtained → €300
  • 5 people buy the product x €150 product price → €750

In this case we see that we are investing €300 to obtain enough records so that, taking into account the final conversion (5/100*100=5%), we obtain benefits: €750 – €300 = €450 profit.

What you should know before creating your first campaign

To be successful with your advertising campaigns on Instagram you must: 

  • Have a brand and product: you must differentiate yourself from the competition by providing value and capturing the public’s attention.
  • Creativities: images and/or videos will be the key to making your ad a complete success or, on the contrary, a failure. The high quality of the creatives will be the biggest factor to take into account.
  • Facebook Page: In order to advertise on Instagram, you must have a business page set up on Facebook.
  • Landing page: you must have a page prepared to get the most out of your call to action. It will be the place where your traffic will be driven. Your home page will also work in the case of conversion-optimized campaigns.
  • Instagram account: We recommend verifying the account before investing money to understand the platform and its work environment.

How to create advertising campaigns on Instagram [Guide]

If you have come this far you already know the characteristics of advertising on Instagram, the available formats and some tricks to get creatives that connect with your audience, and you will have been inspired by researching your competition.

Now we are going to take action and create your first advertising campaign on Instagram, step by step.

1. Link your Facebook page with your Instagram profile

First of all, you will have to link your Instagram account with your Facebook page, since it will be from the Facebook Ads business manager where we will manage the campaigns on Instagram.

I leave you this link to an article where you will learn how to add an Instagram account to your Facebook page or delete it from it , and how to configure it correctly.

2. Enter the Facebook Ads business manager

The next step will be to go to the Facebook Ads business manager and create an advertising account.

This advertising account will be linked to your Facebook and Instagram page. You should know that you can create and manage countless personal or client advertising accounts.

The most common thing is to have an advertising account for each brand or business.

Something that I recommend that you do from the first moment, even though we do not go into detail in this article so as not to overcomplicate it, is to add the Facebook pixel to your website .

In case you don’t know, the Facebook pixel is a code that, when inserted into your website, stores the behavior of your visitors in the Facebook Ads business manager.

And through this data you can create remarketing campaigns on Facebook to, for example, impact users who have visited your website and left without completing their purchase. Interesting, right?

Well, even if it seems very advanced to you at the moment and you don’t want to make your life more complicated, I advise you to install it, because, in this way, if in a few months you want to run more advanced campaigns (and I’ll bet you that it will be like that ), you will have a large database to work with.

The process is very simple, and if you have installed the Google Analytics code on your website you will have no problem getting it.

3. Create a campaign and select your objective

Now that you have your ad account up and running, it’s time to create your first campaign. You will have to access the ads manager within the Business Manager, this will be where you will manage your campaigns.

And it is at this moment where many are faced with the same question: what campaign objective should I select?

Let’s review what objectives exist and when you should use each of them.

Let’s look at them briefly:

  • Awareness: Show your ads to people who are most likely to remember them.
  • Traffic: Direct people to a specific destination, such as your website, app, or Facebook event.
  • Engagement: Get more messages, video views, post engagement, page likes, or event responses.
  • Leads: Generate leads for your company or brand.
  • App Promotion: Find new people to install your app and keep using it.
  • Sales: Find people likely to buy your product or service.

Additionally, you must take into account your competition. Depending on the sector, there may be other advertisers trying to position or sell a product similar to yours . If this happens, the cost per objective (traffic, interaction, video playback, app downloads, etc.) is likely to vary.

4. Create an ad set and segment your audience

Once you have established the objective of your campaign, you have to create an ad group, in which you will segment the audience you are going to target and the locations where the ads will appear on Instagram.

You should understand that each campaign can have multiple ad groups that will target different audiences.

Segmentation will be one of the points that can most influence the price of ads in Instagram Ads. This allows us to specify as much as possible the audience we are addressing. The more accurate we are about the profile we want to reach, the more likely we will be to achieve our goal , but the price of each impression will also be higher. Many people make the mistake of creating a more generic audience to obtain greater reach, with the risk of impacting people who are not interested in the ad.

For example, a business school will create a campaign to reach users who have been interested in one of its courses, and will create several ad groups to target different profiles of potential customers (managers, students, workers, etc.) , and each of them will buy for different reasons, so the messages will have to be personalized.

And, in turn, within each ad group we will create several ad versions with different copies and creatives to optimize messages and increase profitability.

Optimization for your ad

You’ll be given three different options in the “Ad delivery optimization” drop-down menu. This is what they mean:

  • Link clicks are the recommended option. Ads are optimized for link clicks to attract the right people to your website at the lowest cost.
  • Impressions. The ads are not optimized for clicks, but will be delivered to people as many times as possible. If you’ve ever noticed the same ad in your feed multiple times throughout the day, that’s the one.
  • Daily single reach. Your ad will be shown to people once a day.
  • Landing page views. Your ads will be delivered to those most likely to click on your ad link and load your website.

Choose locations

In the “Placements” section you can decide where your ads will appear. There are two options:

  • Advantage+ Placements (Automatic) – Ads will show in placements where they are likely to perform best; includes the Facebook, Instagram, Audience Network and Messenger platforms.
  • Manual placements: In this case you can specifically choose where your ad will (and won’t) appear. If you want to limit your ads to showing only on Instagram, you can choose this using “Manual Placements.”

5. Create your ads on Instagram

Finally, as we mentioned in the previous point, we will have to create the ads for Instagram. Adapting both the creatives and the text to the placements you have selected in each ad group, as well as the audiences you have segmented.

To do this, you must take into account:

  • Text : It should be clear and 125 characters is the recommended limit.
  • Website URL – This will be the URL to which you will redirect your ad. Make sure it is correctly tagged with unique UTM parameters for tracking.
  • Call to Action (CTA): Select the call to action that best fits the action you want or are offering.

Promoting posts on Instagram: pros and cons

You may have noticed that every time you make an organic post on Instagram it offers you the option to promote it. This means that you can pay for your publication to increase its reach in 4 simple steps without having to access Business Manager and create an advertising account.

The steps to follow are those:

  1. You select an objective: What do you want to achieve with the promotion? You can choose between: more visits to your profile, more visits to your website, more direct messages or more leads.
  2. Select the target audience: Who do you want to see your post? Here you can design your own audience by segmenting by locations, interests, age and gender.
  3. Determine the daily budget and duration of the promotion.
  4. Enter your payment details and review your ad.

As you can see, it is a much simpler option than the one I told you about in the previous section. However, it has many limitations such as you cannot track through the pixel to perform subsequent retargeting, nor will you have the very specific metrics that the ads manager offers you, nor will you be able to select the locations in which it is displayed.

Promotion on Instagram is a very simple tool that can be useful to promote something very specific, but if what you need is to find recurring clients on Instagram, I highly recommend using the Business Manager.

Tips to optimize your advertising on Instagram

By following the previous points, you will have created your campaign on Instagram and you will begin to impact your target audience with your ads, but if you think that the work has ended here, you are wrong. It has only just begun…

Most campaigns are not profitable at the beginning , especially if you have no experience, and only after working hard to optimize them will you achieve the desired profitability. To help you in this process, we are going to review 5 points that you should follow to optimize your campaigns.

1. Define your buyer persona

buyer persona is the detailed representation of your ideal client, but not only with their characteristics, but also with their name and surname. You have to provide it with identity, personality and motivations , as well as all the data that is relevant to help you understand their purchasing behavior.

And you can’t limit yourself to creating a single buyer persona. You must create as many as there are types of clients you have. This exercise will help you better understand the characteristics and motivations of your customers, allowing you to personalize your ads, connect better with your audience and increase your profitability.

Let’s look at an example with something as simple as sunglasses. At first you may think that from something so simple you cannot create many buyer personas. You’re wrong.

The characteristics of the product are simple, but not the personality, purchasing power, age, language, style or characteristics that the customers who purchase them most appreciate about the product.

Therefore, if you create your campaigns thinking only of one of these buyer personas, you will be losing a large number of clients by not connecting with them through your ads.


2. Use copywriting techniques

Copywriting is the art of convincing with words, using persuasive writing techniques with the aim of getting the reader to take action. For example, a purchase.

There are dozens (or hundreds) of persuasive writing techniques, but, in order not to go off topic by stopping to analyze them, I will settle for you to internalize the essence that is hidden within all of them:

“Connect with the emotions or needs of readers and take advantage of that connection to convey your message and get them to take the target action.”

I leave you references of two of the most famous copywriting methods used to create ads:

  • AIDA model
  • SHEPHERD model

Here is an article from Aula CM in which you can find practical information to apply these methods.

3. Adapt your messages and creatives to the type of ads

You must tailor your ads to the placements you’ve defined in each ad group. It’s very tempting to use the same design to display it everywhere, but I don’t recommend it for two reasons:

  • It is unprofessional : surely you have seen an advertisement and said to yourself: “They shoehorned it in here.”
  • You waste your money : if you do not adapt your creativity to the advertising format, you will not be able to convey the message effectively, since the text will not be read correctly or the image will be cut off.

4. Analyze and optimize

I imagine you know the saying: “What cannot be measured cannot be optimized.” And what is not optimized ends up degrading until it loses validity and profitability.

If we take into account that with advertising on Instagram the analysis capabilities are enormous, you have no excuse. So you know what you have to do. Open the analysis tab in your business manager and dive into the data of your campaigns to progressively optimize them.

5. Don’t take anything for granted: perform A/B tests

Lastly, you can’t rely on your perception to say whether one creative or advertising copy is better than another. You have to put it in front of your audience and let them decide which is the winner.

Carrying out A/B testing will help you find the key and optimize little by little to achieve maximum profitability.

Here I have to give you a warning: in order to draw conclusions from your A/B tests, there cannot be big differences between both versions, since this way you will not know what works and what does not.

This is a long-distance race, and you will have to perform countless tests to find the perfect ad. So be patient and improve little by little.

6. Use geolocation

Posts with geolocation obtain 79% more engagement, according to a Simply Measured study in which more than 6,000 posts on Instagram were evaluated. Therefore, it is advisable to use the location if it provides relevant information for the publication.

7. Use hashtags

Hashtags are another element that, used properly, helps organize and promote content. In fact, 7 out of 10 hashtags are branded, that is, they include the name of a company or one of its products.

8. Photos or videos?

We are used to the fact that, in recent years, audiovisual content has become the king of publications. Regarding this, an analysis carried out in 2019 showed that photos achieve 28% more reach than videos. Along the same lines, according to the Instagram Intelligent Report prepared by Olapic and L2, static images obtained 36% more likes compared to videos. However, The Instagram Report conducted another study whose data positioned video as the best format for generating engagement.

It is true that videos require a greater degree of involvement and that Instagram was born as a platform for sharing photographs. Therefore, in this case it is better to carry out tests with both formats to assess which of the two fits best with the audience we are impacting and, based on the results obtained, decide which one to enhance.

9. When to publish?

The best way to know when to post on Instagram is by accessing the “Audience” section, within the platform’s statistics . For this it is necessary to have a company profile. This way you will get a graph with the days and hours in which your users are most active, to have an idea of ​​when to impact your target audience.

Inspiring examples to improve your advertising on Instagram

With this we have now reached the end of the theoretical part of the article. You now know everything you need to know to start running your campaigns on Instagram Ads.

And, finally, I will show you inspiring examples to improve your advertising on Instagram. I hope they are useful to you and that you achieve successful campaigns, improving the profitability of your business.


Other interesting facts about Instagram Ads

But this is not all. Instagram Ads is a very powerful tool, and below I will tell you some information that I am sure you will find more than interesting:

  • 61 % of organizations have invested in Instagram , which is also the network in which they invest the most.
  • 58% of companies increased their advertising investment in Instagram Ads during 2020.
  • It is the social network that grows the most year after year , especially among those under 40 years of age. In fact, Instagram is the social network most used by Generation Z and the second most used by Millennials.
  • Instagram, along with WhatsApp, is the most frequently used social network, snatching the second position from Facebook.
  • It is the third most used social network to search for information before making a purchase , preceded by Facebook and YouTube.
  • It is the platform most used by users to follow influencers . 
  • Instagram is the platform best rated by users, with an 8.8 out of 10, according to the IAB Estudio RRSS study.

Conclusion and recommendations

The digital world changes rapidly, and social networks are susceptible to these changes. In recent years, Instagram has become one of the most used platforms and is currently the one most advertisers bet on. However, new social networks are created every year and, sometimes, some capture the attention of users, causing a change in the percentage of people who use the app (as was the case with Snapchat).

Therefore, we can say that Instagram is currently one of the best platforms to carry out online advertising, but we must always be aware of changes in the active audience (age, sex, interests) to ensure that our target audience is in the social network in which we invest.

Regarding the price of Instagram Ads campaigns, it is important to take into account the factors mentioned above:

  • Choose the right social network
  • Create good segmentation
  • Perform tests and apply adjustments to optimize campaigns
  • Choose the objective that best suits our needs

And, ultimately, taking advantage of the different formats and different functionalities can have a direct impact on the performance of our ads on Instagram Ads and, consequently, on the price. And you, how much money do you invest in Instagram Ads? Are your campaigns on this platform profitable? Are you ready to take the step?

About Author

My self Umer. I’m an Author and Founder of I’m from Pune and If I talk about my Education then I’m Graduate and complete my MBA (Finance & Accounts). I love to share my experience and knowledge to others, that’s why I’m here.

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