In this post we will explore what Instagram Ads are and how you as a small business can use them efficiently

What are Instagram ads?

The platform Instagram was independently created and released in 2010, however, shortly after its success in 2012 it was purchased by Facebook where limited advertising was available for the channel at the time. But as of 2015, all businesses were open to the world of Instagram Advertising with the various format and audience selections that best-suited different business objectives. 

Instagram is the perfect platform for content! It’s literally flooding with the stuff! Both individuals and businesses are always trying to share the best images and videos to best capture people through their scrolling. When choosing what visual you want for your ad it’s important that it stands out, is engaging and has a clear CTA. Instagram is such a popular channel for stand-out imagery and it is important to capture your audience’s attention attentively and effectively.

Instagram advertising placements and formats

  • Story ads - either video or image ads are permitted on here, with the ability to add animated stickers, polls, locations and more! Proved to be one of IG’s best-performing placements for advertising in terms of clicks and conversions. 
  • Image + Video Ads (appearing in the normal feed).
  • Carousel ads- containing a selection of swipeable images or videos encouraging the viewer to engage. 
  • Collections ads- that can show off different products, perfect for an ecommerce business looking to showcase their products.

How much do Instagram ads costs?

Like any other advertising platform, costs very much vary depending on your objective, targeting and success of your ad. Costs are usually similar to Facebooks’ advertising platform, however proved to be a little more expensive as a selected placement, but is easily controlled to make sure your costs don’t get out of hand, if you are working with a smaller budget, refine your audience to make it as targeted and niche as possible. Here are a few statistics on Instagram advertising costs:

  • On average, females are more expensive to target on Instagram Ads than males.
  • CPC (cost-per-click) tends to be higher during the holidays and festive season, the fourth quarter of the year has been proven to be the most expensive because of holiday shopping and the competition within the Instagram Ads auction.
  • The cheapest age group to target was 13-17-year-olds at $0.47 per click.  
Instagram Ads Median CPC

Is Instagram Advertising right for your business?

Think about your business goals

Instagram offers a wide variety of campaign objectives when set-up through Ads Manager. 

  • Awareness: reach and frequency, brand awareness, local awareness.
  • Consideration: website clicks, video views, reach and frequency.
  • Conversion: website conversions, dynamic ads, mobile installs and mobile engagement.

Do these campaign objectives meet your business objectives? Can you easily tailor a campaign to achieve the results you need.

Who are your audience?

Before looking at starting advertising on Instagram, you need to think, is this the right platform for my audience? Really deep dive into market research on your target audience’s interests, ages, genders, habits. The majority of Instagram's audience is between the age of 18-34, so perhaps take into consideration the age of the people you are wanting to reach. Below are some of the targeting options ads’ manager can offer you:

  • Location-specific countries, regions and cities.
  • Interests - apps people use, ads click on, followed accounts. 
  • Demographics - age, gender, languages.
  • Behaviours- activities they do both online and offline Instagram and Facebook 
  • Custom audiences- use your existing customer lists or CRM database to re-target your customers, people that have visited your website, or have engaged with a previous ad in any way.
  • LAL (look-a-like) audiences- upload your customer lists for Instagram to find an audience that are similar to your existing.
  • Automated targeting- Instagram generated based on interest in business with a variety of signals.

How to set-up Instagram ads and measure ad performance? 

  1. Using External Advertising Partners
  2. Creating through Facebook’s Ads Manager


  • The best platform to mass produce lots of different variety of ads. 
  • Better insights on performance. 
  • Wider variety of targeting options 
  • More goals/objectives to choose from. 

The Set-Up:

  1. Go to Ads Manager.
  2. Select Create.
  3. Choose an objective that supports Instagram as an ad placement.
  4. Select Continue.
  5. Fill in the details for your ad set.
  6. At the placement section, you can select Edit placements and select Instagram to have your ads appear on Instagram. If you select automatic placements, your ad will run across a variety of Facebook placements, including Instagram to give you the best value for your ads.
  7. Select Continue.
  8. After selecting Instagram for a placement, you can complete your ad by adding and altering your visual/ad copy.


If you have used Facebook Ads Manager before (for Facebook Advertising), then monitoring and analysing your performance should be easy, use customised or pre-set columns to look at data or create custom reporting tables that are easy to export ad share. 

3. Promoting in the Instagram app


  • Directly on the app with a post or story that you have already shared. You can do this by tapping promote, IG will automatically create an audience of people similar to your existing followers. 
  • Set up singular ads within the Instagram app by clicking on ‘Promote’ post, or clicking onto the promotions tab in your business profile.


You can look at basic performance within the Instagram app, looking at your insights and other metrics that are important to your business goals. 

Instagram Advertising is on a massive rise, growing year-on-year, the platform are always looking to add new features to help advertisers, marketeers and businesses grow themselves. If you're new to Instagram advertising and want to know how much you should be spending on your ads to get the results you need, try our very own Ad Spend Calculator.


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