If you’re looking to get more out of your Instagram marketing, it’s time you tried Instagram advertising. 

Instagram has 2 billion active Instagram users each month, and the average user scrolls through the platform for 53 minutes each day. With usage like that, Instagram ads can help you expand your reach significantly.

If you’re new to Instagram ads, this guide will help you get started.

Read on to learn more about what Instagram advertising is, why it’s a great strategy for your business and how to create your first Instagram ad campaign.

What is Instagram advertising 

Instagram advertising is a paid service that businesses use to promote their content. Instagram started offering ad spots to select businesses after Facebook acquired it in 2013. In 2015, Instagram opened advertising to all businesses, and by 2017 had 1 million advertisers on the platform.

Why you should advertise on Instagram 

Organic social media strategies might seem cost-effective at first, but they rely on a lot of trial and error, and can only get you so far when you’re up against ever-changing social media algorithms.

This is why it’s so important to focus on a social media strategy that incorporates both organic and paid tactics. This way, you get the best of both worlds. You’re actively engaging with your audience through your Instagram posts, and, with ads, you’re reaching out to an even larger audience that might not know about your brand.

As a visual medium, Instagram ads give you a great way to show off your product. And with Instagram shopping, you can make it easier than ever for Instagram users to convert to customers.

How much does Instagram advertising cost 

The cost to advertise on Instagram depends on several factors like the mobile device you’re targeting, demographics, day of the week and whether your ad is running during a major televised event.

It all comes down to your target audience, which is why it’s so important to know your Instagram demographics.

To make the most of your marketing budget, dedicate money to ads and campaigns only if they’ll help your bottom line.

Put money behind posts and content that you already know perform well organically. Test everything to see what performs best, and dedicate most of your ad spend to that. Make sure to measure your ad success and take note of anything that didn’t do as well as you’d hoped.

How to create Instagram ads 

You create your Instagram feed ads and Instagram story ads inside the Facebook Ads Manager.

To get started creating your first Instagram ad, log into your Facebook Ad Account, head over to your ads manager and start a new campaign.

Step 1. Choose your ad objective

Once you create a new campaign, the first step to creating an Instagram ad is to choose your objective.

If you choose an objective that doesn’t make sense, like creating a traffic ad for a video or a sales ad for an Instagram placement, Facebook will likely deny your ad.

Step 2. Name your Instagram ad campaign

After selecting your ad objective, you’ll name your campaign. This is the best way to keep track of your ads within the ads manager.

You’ll then select any special categories that apply and specify campaign details.

Instagram ad campaign

You can also get started on a split test for different ad variations, as well as decide whether to optimize your budget across ad sets.

If you select Advantage Campaign Budget, the platform will automatically distribute your ad budget across your ad sets. Or you can manually allocate spending for each ad set.

Step 3. Decide how to design your ads

You can design your ads, or choose “Dynamic creative,” if you want the ads manager to create your ads. If you go that route, you’ll upload the various ad elements—images, CTAs, and ad copy, for example—and the ads manager will test different designs.

Step 4. Choose your optimization and delivery

Now, decide how you’ll be charged when you run ads.

IG ads - optimization and delivery

Step 5. Define your ad budget and schedule

When you advertise on Instagram, you have full control over when you’ll run ads and how much you’ll spend on them.

IG ads - optimization and delivery

First, choose between a daily budget and a lifetime budget. Daily budgets allow for your ads to run indefinitely while spending up to your allotted amount each day (you can still set start and end dates), while lifetime budgets will run for a set amount of time.

If you choose a lifetime budget, you can also select a specific schedule for your ads. Perhaps you want them to appear only on weekdays or weekends. You’re able to manually choose the days and times your ads will appear for your target audience.

Instagram Ad Scheduling

Step 6. Target your audience

Ah, now the good part! Targeting your audience is how you’ll optimize your Instagram advertising strategy.

You don’t want to waste money by trying to target anyone and everyone. This is your opportunity to really nail down the demographics, interests and behavior of your brand’s target audience.

Step 7. Choose your ad placements

This is where you’ll decide where to display your ad.

IG ad placements
Instagram ad placements

To advertise on Instagram only, uncheck Facebook and check Audience Network.

Step 8. Choose your Instagram ad format

Once you’ve completed the last three steps, click continue to head over to your ad creation dashboard. This is where you’ll upload your content, write your ad copy and publish your ad.

This is also a good time to give our Instagram ad sizing guide a second look to ensure you’re uploading the correct sized ad assets.

Different formats are available based on the ad objective you chose, but the basic Instagram ad formats are:

  • Photo ads: These include a single image, so you want to make sure it’s a good one.
  • Carousel ads: These allow users to horizontally scroll through multiple images or videos on their mobile device.
  • Slideshow ads: These are similar to carousel ads, only the images “play” automatically (no scrolling required).
  • Instagram video ads: These are video clips that can be from 3 seconds to 60 seconds long.

Visualize your Instagram ad performance with Sprout

You’ve created your ad, but it’s essential to check up on performance.

With Sprout’s Paid Performance Report for Instagram, you can track any number of Instagram advertising campaigns for the metrics that matter most.

Sign up for a free trial today and let Sprout take care of the rest.

Start your free Sprout trial

Advertise on Instagram today

Ready to start creating Instagram ads on your own? We can’t wait to see what you put together.

If you’re looking for more tips to manage your entire Instagram strategy, check out our comprehensive guide for improving your Instagram marketing strategy.