Monday, July 15

Everything You Need to Know About Advertising on Instagram

Everything You Need to Know About Advertising on Instagram : Instagram ads

In 2015, Instagram ads were made available to all marketers.

The Facebook-owned social media platform, that was obtained for 1 billion dollars didn’t have any sources of income and was instead bleeding money.

But Instagram had one thing:


As a marketer, you need to realize you’re only trading on one thing:


If you don’t have your audience’s attention, you won’t be able to increase sales, boost conversions, increase brand awareness, or improve any other metric you might want to focus on.

When Facebook bought Instagram, they realized the immense attention that was on Instagram, and where attention is, there’s money to be made.

The good news is that Instagram has no lack of attention.

In fact, Instagram currently has over 800 million active users.

Total users Instagram

Instagram advertising opens up amazing opportunities for you to laser target your audience, expand your reach, and ultimately generate amazing results.

Attention is the foundation to marketing success, but you shouldn’t only be looking for attention, though.

Instead, you need to look at where the overpriced attention is, and where the underpriced attention is.

TV advertisement, for instance, is an example of overpriced advertising.

Nobody is really watching the advertisements and carefully consuming them, and as a result of a decreased ad spend on TV among brands, the prices are increasing to compensate that loss.

And what ends up happening is brands get an even worse ROI.

Now, this doesn’t mean that all TV advertising is providing terrible ROIs, but in general.

Plus, with TV ads, there isn’t no real way to target your ads. Nor is it possible to know who is actually seeing them

Overpriced and underpriced attention in marketing depends on two things:

  • How much attention is there?
  • How much are brands investing in the place where the attention is?

If a lot of brands are investing money, the price of the advertising platform will increase, because everyone is fighting for the same attention.

The good news, however, is that many brands haven’t realized the tremendous marketing power that Instagram holds, which means that Instagram is still a source of underpriced attention if you know how to leverage it.

It is when brands take their multimillion-dollar budgets from TV, radio, and print, and they make the transition to ads like Instagram and Facebook, that’s when the attention won’t be an arbitrage anymore.

What helps contribute to the efficiency and success of Instagram ads is that it allows brands to laser target their audience.

With TV, a particular channel only has so much time where they can show the advertisements, and when they do, they reach every single viewer – no matter if they’re interested in diapers or not.

But with Instagram ads, you yourself set the targeting, ensuring that you only reach the people who truly matter to your brand, your target audience.

When you’re only reaching people who are very likely to buy from you, you’re dramatically increasing your ROI.

Because if you’re reaching people who aren’t interested in your niche or products, you’re essentially paying for getting in front of them – even if they mean nothing to your brand.

In this compete Instagram ads guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about Instagram advertising and a little bit more, so hold on tight!

This is about to get fun!

What Are Instagram Ads?

The most common type of Instagram ads work just like the typical Instagram post.

You create a regular post, like you normally would, write a caption, and then, the difference here is that you pay for reaching people with the help of ads.

Instagram ads can come in the form of videos and photos, and can be presented in people’s feed, just like a regular post, or, they can be shown between the Stories that you watch.

Ads on Instagram

Instagram ads is a great marketing method if you want to increase your reach, without performing length strategies to gain exposure organically. Ultimately, Instagram advertising has shown to be able to help brands work towards a ton of different metrics, such as brand exposure, website traffic, increased brand-awareness, with conversions and sales being the final goal.

What makes the ads distinguished from regular posts is the “sponsored” mark just above the top right corner of the image, as well as the opportunity to click on the post to get directed to the brand’s website, or a landing page – something that isn’t possible to do with regular Instagram posts.

The best part about Instagram ads is that they are integrated so smoothly in your feed, which means that sometimes, you might not even realize you’re looking at an ad.

You’re scrolling your feed and looking at posts, and then you come across a post that looks just like all the other posts you’ve looked at.

The only difference is that it is an Instagram ad.

In other words, Instagram ads are seamlessly incorporated into people’s feeds, which means that they are much more likely to value it.

Some people call Instagram ads the most non-intrusive ads ever, and I could agree on that!

It’s not like when you are scrolling on a website and then all of a sudden have giant popup right in your face, as well as the most annoying sidebar banner flashing in your face.

If people like the ad, they can click on it to learn more, or get redirected to the brand’s website.

They can also click the profile of the brand that has uploaded the ad to start following them, or to see what the brand is all about.

The fact that the way Instagram ads work is so similar to the regular Instagram experience makes the ads tremendously non-intrusive and leads to a bigger impact on people.

The ads on Instagram aren’t ignored like banners on a website.

Banner ads statistics

Why should you use Instagram ads?

Probably the most asked question when it comes to Instagram ads.

In fact, probably the most asked question with all advertising sources that are new.

Followed closely by ”what’s the ROI of this?”.

Since the launch of Instagram advertising in late 2015, to March 2017, over 120 million Instagrammers visited a website, got directions, called, emailed, or direct messaged to learn about a business based on an Instagram ad.

In other words, Instagram ads work.

But that’s not all, either.

According to Instagram, 60% of people say they discover new products on the platform, and 75% of Instagrammers take action after being inspired by a post.

And what’s even more impressive, since Instagram launched advertising on its platform in 2015, Instagram ads have driven more than one billion user actions.

Plus, last year, Instagram more than doubled its advertiser base in six months to 500,000 advertisers.

To say the least, Instagram advertising is working, and more and more brands are acknowledging this.

What this ultimately means is that the competition will get tougher, and in the long run, Instagram ads won’t be underpriced attention.

But for now, Instagram ads are underpriced attention, which is the core reason to why you should be embracing them.

And possibly also the reason to why you’re here.

And since you are, it means that you’re way ahead of many of many of your competitors.

The interest in Instagram ads is definitely increasing.

Apart from what Google can tell us when it comes to the interest in Instagram ads:

Instagram ads increased popularity

A survey by Strata in 2016 also tells us that the interest in Instagram ads is growing.

In fact, the study found that 63 percent of US ad agency professionals planned to use Instagram ads for their clients.

This is a dramatic increase from 34 percent the year before.

Instagram advertising statistics
Source (Image from eMarketer)

Apart from the fact that Instagram ads have underpriced attention, there are more reasons to why you should be using Instagram ads.

Here are some of them:

Grow your audience

If you’re aspiring to grow your following on Instagram, ads might be a good idea.

Growing your audience organically on Instagram is possible, but it demands both time and effort.

With the help of Instagram ads, you can let your money work for you, and then when you’ve grown your followers, you can reach and impact them over and over with organic posts.

Different from Facebook, an organic reach actually exist on Instagram, and it is quite high (it does on Facebook but it is extremely low).

This means that growing your audience on Instagram isn’t actually a bad idea.

Generate results worthwhile

Many times over, Instagram has shown itself capable of driving impressive results for brands – at an impressive ROI.

According to an Instagram study which looked at more than 400 campaigns globally, ad recall from Instagram ads was 2.8 times higher than Nielsen’s norms for online advertising.

A reason for the high ROI of Instagram ads is the targeting it offers.

Instead of paying to reach people who don’t matter for your brand, like you do on many other marketing platforms, together with the fact that Instagram ads aren’t yet saturated and very competitive, as well as the fact that the ads are displayed in a very non-intrusive way, makes for tremendous advertising results for brands.

Then, of course, the fact that Instagram’s user base is quite broad makes it possible for a wide selection of brands to create ads and reach their target audience, making the platform very appealing to many brands.

Detailed targeting

Targeting in advertising means everything if you want to generate amazing results, as I’ve spoken a bit about already.

As a brand, you only want to be paying for the people who matter for your brand.

The best part about Instagram and an important reason to why ads on Instagram are so effective is that Instagram uses Facebook’s advanced ad manager and targeting system.

Instead of starting from scratch with Instagram advertising, Facebook leveraged the advanced advertising manager and targeting tool that they had spent years developing when they were getting ready to launch Instagram ads.

What’s more, the fact that Facebook chose to integrate Instagram advertising with their already developed Facebook advertising was a clever move, because this allows marketers to get tons of information about their target audience, which  Facebook had already gathered from its Facebook users, who were now on Instagram, allowing advertisers to be tremendously targeted in their advertising.

It’s where the attention is

It’s impossible to talk about advertising and not talk about attention.

Attention is the foundation to all successful marketing.

Or, as entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk puts it:

The attention is undeniably on Instagram.

It’s just about whether you take the shot of grabbing it or not.

And what you do to get that attention.

Because users spend an average of 50 minutes a day on Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger.

What’s more, one in five minutes spent on mobile is spent on Instagram or Facebook. Imagine the impact Instagram has on us, considering it takes up so much of our internet time.

It’s no question about ”is the attention there?”

Because it is.

It is what you do to get that attention.

The power of intent

The good news is that there’s a whole lot of intent on Instagram.

And without knowing for sure, I believe that it is because the competition is low, the ads come off as authentic, and the ads aren’t intrusive.

Plus, the ads that reach us are targeted to us by the brand, which means that most of the time, they’re very relevant to us.

In fact, a study by Instagram found that 60 percent of Instagram users say that they learn about products and services through Instagram, and 75 percent say that they take actions such as visiting sites, searching, or telling a friend after seeing an Instagram post.

Things to think about if you’re considering ads

Before you dig into Instagram ads and start investing money into it, there are a few things you want to consider.

Because the truth is that Instagram ads just won’t work for every brand.

Just like any other marketing source, it works differently well for different brands, and for different reasons.

But just because Instagram ads don’t look like it will work for your brand, I’d still advise you to try advertising on Instagram.

Because what will happen otherwise is that you’ll go around having opinions about Instagram ads without actually having tried it.

On paper, it might look like Instagram ads won’t work for your brand, but unless you actually go out and try it, you will never know for sure.

Plus, when trying, you don’t need to invest a ton of money either.

You can just invest a few dollars and see how things play out.

If you look at the biggest picture on whether or not you should be using Instagram ads, the chances are, the answer is yes.

The chances.

This means that it might be no, and here are the factors that determine this:


The most important part of successful marketing.

I am stunned at how many marketers are focusing on the wrong things when it comes to evaluating the results of advertising campaigns.

They might look at the metric impressions and say ”yay, we reached this many impressions”, and that’s great, but what truly matters is what those impressions really mean.

For instance, you might have gained a ton of impressions, but if those impressions come from 13-year olds when you’re a brand that sells cars, they won’t be very valuable for your brand, will they?

The demographics of the platform you’re trying to advertise on whether it be in the newspaper or on Instagram is crucial.

Because ultimately, that is what will determine the ROI of your ad.

This is why it’s important to ask yourself before jumping into Instagram ads ”what is my target audience?”.

When you’ve done so, and identified the demographics of your target audience, it’s time to look at the demographics of Instagram’s user base.

Now, most marketers are lucky, because Instagram’s demographics is growing, which means that the vast majority of brands will be able to find success on the platform, compared to when Instagram was new and the majority of users were teens.

Instagram user demographics


Another way to get a better understanding of whether or not your target audience is on Instagram or not is to listen to the topics that people are talking about, and the discussions they’re having.

In other words, social listening.

If you notice that no-one is talking about your industry on Instagram, it might be an indication that people from your target audience aren’t using Instagram.

How Much Does Instagram Advertising Cost?

One of the most common questions when it comes to advertising on Instagram is how much it costs.

The good news is that Instagram ads are set up like ads on Facebook, which means that you are the one who set the budget for how much you want to spend.

The best part about this is that it makes Instagram advertising available for all types of brands – from start-ups to major corporates like McDonald’s and Pepsi.

According to research by AdEspresso, the average cost-per-click on Instagram is $0.80.

Of course, this is just an average number, which means you might have to pay more, and you might be able to pay less.

The good news is that you can optimize your ads on Instagram with A/B testing and thereby also lower the CPC of your campaign.

When it comes to the price of your ads, there are several factors that affect how much you will have to pay for your ads.

Your ad targeting

Generally, the broader your audience targeting is, the cheaper the CPC is.

The more specific your ad targeting is, the more you’ll have to pay.

On the right side of the ad setup page, you’ll see the estimated reach and the estimated cost per interaction (or the cost per metric you’ve set as your goal).

All of this allows you to get information on how you can improve your ad’s performance before you’ve even launched it.

I’ll go more into detail on this further on.

How to set up Instagram ads

Your visual content

Instagram is a visually driven platform, and the only way to set up an ad on Instagram is to use visual content.

In other words, you cannot set up an ad unless you have a video or photo.

Obviously, the piece of content you use will have an impact on how your ad performs.

Just like the engagement varies between your organic posts on Instagram, the performance on your ad posts will vary depending on how appealing your visual content is.

Your copy

Together with your image is a place for you to incorporate a short snippet of text.

Of course, you can write as much or as little text you want, but since Instagram is a place where you only have a few seconds to grab your audience’s attention, using a copy that is short and straight to the point with a clear call to action has shown to perform best.

The objective of your campaign

When you set up your ad, you set an objective for that ad.

It can be to drive sales, increase brand awareness, grow followers, etc.

The objective you choose will also have an impact on what the CPC of your ad is.

Ad Relevancy

Instagram wants to show as relevant ads as possible to its users.

This is why ad relevancy will have an impact on how well your ad performs.

If Instagram notices that people aren’t interested in the ad – for instance if you’ve targeted the wrong audience, you might end up paying more than you need to.

What’s more, Instagram ads cost more if you’re targeting women.

But on the other hand, studies prove that women are also likely to spend more.

But that’s not the main reason that it costs more to target women.

Instead, it is all about supply and demand.

The supply of women’s attention is limited, but the demand for it by brands who are creating ads and targeting women is high, leading to a higher cost.

In other words, they’re more appealing to target by brands.

How to create an Instagram ad

Now to the most important part.

Before you can start creating ads on Instagram, you need to know what you have to choose from, and what type of ads you can create.

As you know by now, Facebook acquired Instagram in 2012.

At the time, Instagram didn’t make any money, but they had attention.

After some time of owning it, Facebook introduced ads on Instagram.

First only to a few selected brands, but later for everyone.

What was so clever about this is that they used the same ad manager for Instagram as Facebook, and they did this for several reasons.

First off, obviously, developing a completely new ad manager interface and ad system is difficult.

It takes time, effort, and cost a lot of money.

Why not take advantage of something that already exists?

Second, and this is (according to me) the most important part, that marketers and brands had already been convinced of the benefits of Facebook ads and that they should advertise there.

And you probably know this, but convincing marketers who are holding on to the past to start investing in the future when it comes to advertising is tremendously difficult.

Especially if they are stubborn.

This ultimately made it a lot easier for Facebook to transfer brands and marketers to Instagram, and get them to both spend their money on Facebook ads and Instagram ads.

Because learning how a platform work, and mastering the way you set up ads isn’t easy.

But since the interface is the same for Facebook and Instagram, it is a lot easier convincing marketers, because right from the word go, they’ll recognise themselves, know how to do, and don’t have to learn everything from the start if they’ve already used Facebook ads – which many people have.

Lastly, the fact that Instagram and Facebook ads are integrated, Facebook, which is the core company, is able to spend your money quicker.

By default, your ad campaign is set up to run on both Instagram and Facebook, spreading your money across a large audience, thus being able to spend it more quickly.

What we can learn from all this is that if you have used Facebook ads in your life, using Instagram ads all be as easy as 123, because the interface is exactly the same.

It is just a few things that are different, the main difference being the type of ad you set up.

Right now, there are five type of ways you can manage and set up your Instagram ads.

  • Within the Instagram app
  • Instagram Partners
  • Facebook’s Marketing API
  • Facebook Ads Manager
  • Power Editor

For this guide though, we’ll focus on creating ads through Facebook ad manager and within the Instagram app, because these are the two places that are used the most for creating ads, and they are also the two easiest ways.

In case you’re curious, Instagram partners is a partner program of brands that will help you create large quantities of Instagram ads, and run big Instagram ad campaigns. The partners with helping you with everything from creating, setting up and managing, but as you can expect, it will cost you.

Create an Instagram ad

Another way to create Instagram ads is to do it through the Power Editor.

The power editor is a different way to create Instagram ads which I’ll go more into detail further on.

Simply explained, this is how you create an Instagram ad:

  • Choose a marketing objective
  • Give your Instagram ad campaign a name
  • Complete any further steps they ask for
  • Define your audience, placements, budget, and schedule
  • Create the ad (copy and content) – or, make an existing post into an ad

Using Facebook ad manager

Using the Facebook ad manager is the best and easiest way to create Instagram ads.

What’s more, it is also the most popular way marketers create their Instagram ads.

And if you’re familiar with Facebook ads’ you’ll love creating Instagram ads, because it will feel like home sweet home.

And the process of creating Iagram ads is very similar to creating Facebook ads.

To create an Instagram ad, login to the Facebook account where you manage your ads. If you don’t have a Facebook account, you need to create one.

Note: if you’re going to create your ad from the Instagram app, you need to have an Instagram account. Moreover, if you haven’t converted your Instagram account into a so-called business account, you need to do so.

Converting your Instagram account to a business account is super simple, but in order to do so, you need to have a Facebook account first.

To access your Facebook ads manager, go to and click the arrow pointing down (the drop-down menu) in the menu bar to the far right. Then, click “Manage Ads”.

Or, you can click here to get directly to your Facebook Ads Manager.

From here, click on the green ”Create Ad” button in the top right corner.

If you don’t have an Instagram account, you can still create ads on Instagram.

In other words, in order to create Instagram ads, you don’t even need an Instagram account.

Set your Instagram ad budget

When you’ve created your ad, it is time to set your budget.

Just like Facebook ads, with Instagram ads, you can decide for how long your campaign is going to be active.

Sometimes, you can generate better results when you spread your budget over a longer period of time, but normally the ad manager suggests if it thinks you should do so.

How much you invest in Instagram ads for your campaign will affect three things:

  • How many people you’ll reach with your ads
  • What the cost per each impression will be
  • How many times an individual person sees your ad

It’s hard to know how much to spend, but when deciding, you should base your decision on two things:

  • What is your budget? (obviously)
  • Is your ad optimized to perfection for best results?

The goal of Instagram is to provide as relevant, interesting, and appealing content in their users’ feeds, and obviously, if your ad isn’t that, there’s  a great risk that you are paying more than you need to.

Then, there are other things that affect how well your ad perform, for instance, your audience targeting.

When starting out, manual bidding is the way to go. By having a manual budget, you can change the budget anytime during the campaign.

The other option is to have automatic bidding.

As the name suggests, manual bidding and automatic bidding means deciding (whether manually or automatically) how much you’re willing to pay for one click.

The automatic bidding is best if you are unsure of what bids you should use.

With manual bidding, you are bidding for how much you’re willing to pay manually. If you’re only willing to pay 1 dollar per click for an ad, you can set 1 dollar as your click bid.

Now, you might be thinking ”so why not set $0.00001 as a bid?

Well, obviously Facebook has thought of that, and really, the principle of Instagram ads is like bidding in real life.

If someone overbids you, what happens?

With Instagram ads, your ad won’t be shown to people.

The objectives of Instagram advertising

Facebook offers 11 objectives in the Ad Manager, however, for Instagram ads, only 8 objectives are available to use.

These are:

  • Conversions
  • Brand awareness
  • Reach
  • Traffic
  • App installs
  • Engagement
  • Video views
  • Lead generation

The objective you choose in the Ad Manager is obviously an objective that should reflect your objectives with the campaign.

The fact that there are a lot of different objectives makes it easy to identify the goal of your campaign and then set it up.


Instagram ads marketing objective

Conversions are just what it sounds like.

With this objective, your goal is to get your audience to convert in one way to another – to perform an action, for instance, app downloads or a purchase.

2. Video views

Instagram ad targeting

The name itself is quite revealing.

This objective is great if you’ve created a video which you’re hoping to use to then convert the viewers, or if you just want to spread a particular message.

3. Reach

How to create an Instagram ad

This is quite a popular objective marketers use on both Instagram and Facebook.

This objective helps you get more eyeballs on your content by reaching more people.

4. Traffic

Instagram ads

If you’re looking to increase your traffic and get people to a particular page of our website, this objective is the one you should opt for.

When you’ve selected this objective, you want to choose where you want to drive the traffic.

5. Engagement

Instagram advertising objective

This objective helps you reach, and get people to engage with your post.

You can also select what type of engagement you want with this objective.

For instance, if you are looking to spark discussion and get more comments, you can set comments as your objective.

6. Brand awareness

Instagram advertising

Want to increase brand awareness?

This is the objective to go for.

This objective is very straightforward.

Just select the objective and away you go.

7. App installs

Instagram ads

Want people to install your app?

Not surprisingly, this is the objective you want to go with.

8. Lead Generation

Instagram ad objective

This objective is great if you want to collect information about your prospects so you are able to get them further down your sales funnel, and are able to target them better.

The different types of Instagram ads

Instagram stories ads

You might have seen ads in Stories on Instagram that show up between different stories you watch.

This is the second place where you can have your ads shown.

On Instagram, there are two places:

In people’s feed, and in people’s stories.

Some of the top brands have even started using Instagram stories ads:

Instagram story ads

Instagram stories ads

To create an Instagram Story ad, you can upload either a photo or video that can be up to 15 seconds.

To run Instagram Stories ads, you can use the Ads Manager, Creative Hub or the API on Instagram.

Remember that the format for Instagram Stories ads is 9:16 vertical images and video.

To create An Instagram ad in the Ads Manager

  1. Go to Ads Manager
  2. Click ”Create an Ad”
  3. When creating an ad for stories, you can select between 6 objectives:
  • Reach
  • Video views
  • Conversions
  • App installs
  • Lead Generation
  • Traffic

  4. When you’ve selected your objective, click ”Placemen”

5. When you’ve done so, click ”Edit Placements”, and then select the Instagram placement to run it on Instagram.

6. Click Stories

7. Complete the steps

8. Click ”Review Changes.

Remember that Stories ads can only be ran on Instagram.

How to set up Instagram ads from the app

Setting up Instagram ads from the app is super easy, and can be completed in just a few steps.

But before you say up your ads, you need to ensure that you’ve completed a few steps first.

First, you need to have converted your account into a business account

  • You need to convert to an Instagram Business Profile.
  • You must be the admin of the Facebook page that is connected to the Instagram account

When you’ve done this, all you need to do is open up the Instagram app, go to your profile, tap the post you wish to promote by tapping on the post.

Right below the post, you’ll see a button which says ”promote”.

Tap it.

As you can see, there’s no possibility in creating an ad on Instagram from scratch, but what you can do, however, is boost existing Instagram posts that you’ve shared.

How to create an Instagram app through the Power Editor

Facebook ads instagram ads

”The Power Editor allows you to create many Facebook ads at once and have precise control of your ads. With Power Editor, you can edit, duplicate and manage multiple ads, find what you want to work on quickly with search and filters and import new ads using Excel”.

Power Editor is an ad tool that is mainly dedicated for the advertisers on Facebook and Instagram who are planning on creating multiple ads at once. The editor allows you to create, edit and publish them all at once. With this tool, you can edit, create, and duplicate your ads right from your account.

If you’d like, you can import ads using Excel and use templates from the power editor.

Within the Power editor, there are preset custom filters you can use to find specific campaigns, ad sets or ads.

The main benefits of the power editor is that you can mange manage multiple ads at once, for instance set your budget, target audience, etc.

What’s more, the power editor also allows you to see how well your ads perform by creating custom reports and then exporting them and sharing them with other people.

To get started with creating ads from the Power editor, you need to have connected your Instagram account to your Facebook page (which is done when converting your Instagram account to a business account, which I mentioned earlier).

How to create an Instagram ad from the Power editor

To create an Instagram ad, go to the power editor, click ”Create campaign”, enter the name for your campaign, choose your objective (that is supported by Instagram ads), set your budget.

When you’ve chosen ”create ad”, select if you want to create a new ad or select an existing campaign.

Click Create Ad.

Since the Power editor can be used for creating both Facebook and Instagram ads, make sure that your ad has the Instagram placement checked in so that it shows on Instagram.

Now, just follow the steps that come up by filling in all the details asked for.

When you’re done, click ”Review Changes”.

If you want, you can have your ad run on both Instagram and Facebook.

How to target the right audience with Instagram ads

One of the reasons why Facebook (and Instagram) ads are so effective is their tremendous opportunities in targeting your audience.

If you’re running a TV ad, you don’t have a lot of power over who sees your ad.

And you won’t know  who saw your ad, either.

This means that with traditional advertising. you’re paying to reach people who aren’t genuinely interested in your brand or what it has to offer, which means you’re essentially throwing your money in the trash.

With Instagram ads, however, you have a ton of different opportunities of only reaching the people who truly matter to your brand, thus allowing you to generate incredible results.

Targeting correctly, and optimising your targeting is crucial for ad performance, so this is why you want to make sure you’re making your targeting as specific and detailed as possible.

With the ad manager, you have the ability to create four different audience types for Instagram ads:

Custom Audiences

With custom audiences, you can reach people who have already interacted with you in some way, for instance visited your website, seen your ads, etc. In other words, it is a form of retargeting.

Value-based Lookalike Audiences

With this targeting, you can reach people who are the most similar to your existing high-value users and customers

Saved Audience 

With this targeting choice, you can target people based on their interests, location, demographics, and behaviors.

This is the most common targeting people use with Facebook ads.

Lookalike Audiences 

Lookalike audiences allow you to reach people who are similar to your existing customers, and therefore also likely to convert.

When setting up your first Instagram ad, and you haven’t created targeting, it’s important that you know your target audience.

I mean, how will you be able to target your audience if you don’t know who they are?

To get started, here are criteria that you can target people by:

  • Age 

As the criteria suggests, this is the age of your target audience.

The widest range you can target people with is 13 to 65+.

  • Connections 

A way to target people is by targeting by the people who have connected with you in one way or another.

  • Location

You can target people based on countries, states, postal codes, addresses, regions.

  • Gender

Target people based on gender men or women.

  • Behaviors

A way to target people is by purchasing behavior or intent. In other words, how strong buyers are they, or what habits do they have?

  • Languages

What languages does your target audience speak?

  • Demographics

Employment, company role, education, lifestyle details.

  • Interests

What interests does your target audience have?

Hopefully, their interest is your brand’s niche, and this makes it possible to target them with your own industry as a criteria of interest.

This is the basics of Instagram (and Facebook) ad targeting, but once you start becoming an expert, you can look at the ways to target people that has show to generate the highest ROI.

Here are some ideas for marketing on Instagram by targeting Facebook Custom Audiences:

  • Pricing page visitors 

You can target people who have been to your pricing page and get them back to your website so they complete the purchase.

  • Newsletter subscribers 

You can retarget your existing newsletter subscribers. These are individuals who have shown some kind of interest in your brand, which means they are more likely to convert and be interested in what you have to offer.

  • Free trial users 

One way of targeting is to target your existing free trial users to convert them into paying customers.

  • Past purchasers

With your ad targeting, you can cross-sell and up-sell to get existing customers to spend more.

  • Website visitors 

People who have visited your website will be familiar of your brand. and when you target the, they are more likely to find your ad and brand appealing because it is familiar.

If people have already been to your website, it means that they are more likely to convert.

  • Blog readers

If you have a blog, you can provide your audience with value by giving them free content.

Then, you can offer them additional content, but at a cost.

How to create well-performing Instagram ads

Something interesting worth mentioning is that back in the days, everyone couldn’t advertise on Instagram.

In fact, there was a time when only the brands with a large following could use Instagram’s advertising service, but today, it is open for all – no matter the size, budget, location, or demographics.

What’s more, Instagram has expanded its ads with a bunch of new countries, which allows brands that operates within those countries and are targeting people there, including countries like India and Spain, to leverage Instagram ads to reach their target audience.

Our goal here is to create ads that performs tremendously well, and that brings us the highest ROI possible for the least amount of dollars.

This demands that you create ads that are visually attracting and sparks people’s attention.

As per Facebook’s suggestions, you should create ads that blend in with the rest of the content on the platform, and this further emphasises what I said about the fact that ads on Instagram doesn’t feel like ads, which makes them perform better.

However,  some argue that you should do the complete opposite, because that will make your ad stand out, and if your ad looks just like any other post, people will just scroll past it.

My recommendation is that you try both, but put yourself in the viewer’s shoes.

Are you most likely to trust an ad that doesn’t look like an ad, or a post that is clearly an ad that is trying to force you to buy?

Focus on creating stunning visuals

You can’t create an ad on Instagram that doesn’t contain visual content – whether it be a photo or a video.

This puts a great importance on the visual content you use.

After all, Instagram is a visually driven platform, and no matter if you rely on organic reach or ads, visual content is tremendously important.

If you’re new to both Instagram and Instagram ads, it is worth starting out organically and posting visual content to learn what performs well and what doesn’t.

I, who have been using Instagram for over 5 years have gotten to know my audience very well, which means I know before I even make a post if it will perform well and if it won’t perform very well.

And if I don’t absolutely need to post the thing that won’t perform well, I won’t!

When you’ve got a better understanding of what type of posts perform well on Instagram, you can start using Instagram ads.

Because now, you understand what drives engagement and great results, which means you’re much more likely to generate great results with your ads.

Compare these ads:

Which of these do you think is best?

Instagram ads examples

Partly, it depends on the target audience the brand is reaching, and partly, it depends on composition, colors, etc.

For instance, people who like to climb mountains are likely to find The North Face’s ad appealing, while others might find the ad from Made dot com appealing, because it has an attention grabbing color and an eye-grabbing text.

In fact, saw their ads yield a 10% order value increase.

When creating ads, you want to consider these 4 things:

  • Avoid stock-photos, blurry photos, or in any other way low-quality visual content
  • Use attention grabbing images that awakens emotions
  • Use text on your image if suitable
  • Create different visuals and run A/B testing to see which performs best. Then, double down on the one that performs the best.

How to Write attention-grabbing Instagram ad text

While the visual content you use is the most important part of your ads, the text you include helps add context to your ad, and make it more clear of what you want to mediate.

Remember that Instagram ads only allow a headline and main copy that are both displayed right below the image.

This means that you have to be clear and concise and get your point through immediately.

People aren’t necessarily on the platform to read text, but more so get inspired by images (and videos).

Apart from being clear and concise and adding context to your audience, you want to make sure what you are writing is comprehensible to your target audience. If you’re using a bunch of words that nobody understands, there’s a risk that you’ll alienate your audience.

In your text, you want to clearly present how your product or brand can benefit the customer.

Why should they buy from you?

Lastly, you also want to use attention grabbing words that spark action, but remember that Instagram also incorporates a call to a action button, so it is not always needed.

Measure the success of your Instagram ads

Okay, so you’ve invested time in your Instagram ads, and you’ve run them for some time.

Obviously, you want to evaluate the results and see how well they performed, and what results they generated for your brand.

The best part about Instagram ads is that this information, like the information from Facebook ads, is easily accessible in the Facebook Ads Manger, giving you a ton of information about your ads.

If you’re new to the Ads Manager analytics, it might look overwhelming and intimidating, but once you’ve got a hold of it, it’s actually really easy to use.

If you’re using spreadsheets often, you’ll have an easy time getting used to the Instagram ad performance analytics.

With the ad reporting table, you can toggle between different ads, campaigns, and ad sets.

If you want to get an overview of all your ads, you can do so by following the steps Ad campaigns > Ad sets > Ads.

Similar to a regular spreadsheet. the reporting table presents you with information about the performance of your Instagram ads. There, you’ll be able to see things like cost of the ad, amount spend, impressions, and much more.

If you don’t see the metrics you’re looking for, you can change the setup of the table by clicking on “Columns: Performance” and then “Customize Columns”.

Now, you’ll be able to select (or deselect) the metrics you want to see or don’t see.

When you’ve selected the metrics, you want to see, you can sort the data and export it by using the export button to the right.

If you want to get more specific and look at each individual campaign and how it pefformed, you can do so by simply clicking on it.


Being built off the back of Facebook’s many  years of advertising expertise, Instagram has been able to leverage the immense attention and users they have on the platform by developing ads in a variety of different forms, that allow brands to target their audience by leveraging Facebook’s advanced and fine-tuned targeting system.

Instagram has time and time over been able to show for the amazing results it can drive with its ads, and the total brands who are using them ads quickly increasing.

Are you using Instagram ads?

Why/why not?

Let me know in the comment section below!

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