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The Beginner’s Guide to Instagram Ads

instagram ads

Generating organic reach on Instagram is no easy feat. The Instagram algorithm can be a tough one to crack. As such, you are competing with brands as well as other users on Instagram, to get reach and impressions on your content. 

Organic content can only get you so far. You need to invest in paid marketing so that you can target your audiences and get them to take the desired action. 

If you are new to Instagram advertising, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve got a thorough, full-fledged guide on how you can advertise your brand on Instagram. So without much further ado, let’s get straight into it! 

Let’s get started by creating a business account on Instagram if you don’t already have one. You can only run Instagram Ads if you have a professional account. To shift to a business account on Instagram, you need to tap on the ‘edit profile’ button on your Instagram profile. Following this, you will have to select ‘Switch to professional account’ and then pick from a business account and creator account. 

Now that you have activated your ‘business account’, you can start accessing Instagram Ads for your brand. So, let’s get straight into creating Instagram Ads for your business, without much further ado!

Set Clear Goals, First!

Be clear about what social media goals you want to achieve by putting out your social media Ads. You may want to reach certain particular audience segments with your content, or you may want to push for more brand engagement on the platform. Knowing what you want to achieve with your Ads is crucial for building an effective Ads strategy. 

Your social media goals will only help direct your strategy and give you clarity on how to efficiently invest your time, money and resources into it. Once you are clear about what you want to achieve with your Instagram presence, you can get started with planning out your Ads marketing strategy. 

Know Your Target Audience 

Advertising is all about targeting your content to the right set of people on the platform. To put it simply, with Ads, you can make sure you reach out to all those segments in your audience which are highly likely to show interest in your brand or convert. 

As such, having a clear cut target audience can help you build an efficient Instagram Ads campaign. 

You can use a social media analytics tool to obtain audience insights on your organic content. Using this information, you can gain an idea as to which segments of the audience interact and engage with your content most. With the help of this data, you can frame fruitful Instagram Ads campaigns targeting audiences who are more likely to engage with your content. 

Select Your Ads Format 

Once you have set your Instagram Ads goals straight, you can move on to select an Ads’ format ideal for your brand. Instagram offers a range of Ad formats that you can use for building Ad creatives. 

Now we’ll take you through each of the Ad formats that Instagram offers. You can decide accordingly, as to which of these options will work best for you. 

Stories’ Ads 

Instagram stories appear on top of the homepage feed. As a result, users will typically check out Instagram stories first when they log into the platform. 

You can run Instagram stories’ Ads to leverage the full-screen canvas that this format offers. The good thing about Instagram stories’ Ads is that these blend in with other organic stories that people share. 

Instagram Stories' Ad

Create an Instagram stories’ Ad featuring a catchy creative and a relevant call to action. You can also add links to your stories with this Ad format. 

Photo Ads

Photo Ads’, as the name suggests, are simple Instagram Ads featuring photos of your brand and/or products. These are static Ad creatives with a single photo and a call to action button based on your Ads objective. 

Instagram Photo Ads

Video Ads 

Video is one of the most engaging content formats. Use Instagram video Ads to draw audience attention and compel them to take the desired action. Video has the power to convert audiences. There are many ways in which you can use video ads to market your brand. 

Showcase your products in action, project your brand story or do a gripping commercial-like video Ad. Video Ads can actually turn out to be a deal-breaker for your brand. In a minute-long video, you can entice your audiences and get them to take action. 

Carousel Ads

With Instagram’s Carousel Ads, you can add more than a single photo/video in one Instagram Ad post. The audience can swipe through the different photos and/or videos you post on your Instagram handle. Leverage Instagram carousel Ads to add multiple layers to a single Ad campaign. 

Instagram Carousel Ads

Collection Ads 

Get collection Ads to offer a dynamic experience to your target audience. With collection Ads, your audience can discover, browse and purchase your products on the platform.

Here’s an example of a collection Ad on Instagram- 

Instagram Collection Ads

How To Create Instagram Ads

By now you must already be popping with ideas for your Instagram Ads. But before you select an Ad format for your campaign, you need to learn how to create Ads for your brand on Instagram. 

To create an Ad on Instagram, you can opt from the following 2 pathways: 

  • Use the Facebook Ads manager
  • Use Instagram 

We will now take you through the process of creating Instagram Ads with each of the pathways, one by one. So, let’s first see how you can create an Ad using Facebook Ads manager. 

Creating Instagram Ads with Facebook Ads Manager 

In order to create Instagram Ads with Facebook Ads manager, you need to have a Facebook page. If you don’t already have a Facebook page, you can easily create one by entering your brand name and your email address. Go through the directions that follow, to set up your Facebook page. 

Link Your Instagram Business Account

Once you have created your Facebook page, you can go on to link it to your Instagram account. For this, you need to head to the ‘Business Settings’ on your Facebook page. 

Head to ‘Instagram Accounts’ and click on ‘+Add’ to add your Instagram account with it. Add the username and password for the corresponding account and click on ‘Save Changes’. 

Start Creating Ads

After this, you can head to the Ads’ Manager to create Ads through the Guided Creation or Quick Creation pathway. The Quick Creation workflow is ideal for seasoned marketers, while the Guided Creation workflow is an ideal option for newbies. 

Select Ad Objectives

Now, you can select from one or more of the options amongst the different Ad objectives given in the Ads Manager. So, depending upon your business goals, you can opt from one of these objectives: 

Awareness- Brand Awareness, Reach

Consideration- Traffic, Engagement, App Installs, Video Views, Lead Generation, Messages

Conversion- Conversions, Catalog Sales, Store Visits

You can select your Ads’ objective on the basis of your business goal or on the basis of where your target audience is, along their customer journey. 

Select Your Target Audience 

With the Facebook Ads’ Manager, you can add multiple layers of targeting. 

Select the age, gender as well as the location of audience you want to target with your Ads. You can also create custom audiences composed of those who may have engaged with your content, visited your website, or viewed your videos. 

Place Your Ads 

At this point, you have to make a decision as to where you may want to place your Ads. You have to opt from Automatic Placements and Edit Placements. 

Automatic placements are those where the Ads are automatically placed at spots where they are likely to perform best. These could be placed on Instagram, Facebook, Messenger, and Audience Network. 

With Edit Placements, you can select and place your Ads wherever you want to put them. 

Select Your Budget and Schedule 

Once you have selected your Ads’ objectives, audiences, and placements, you can go on to fix your budget and schedule. This is to determine what amount you want to spend, as well as for how long you want to run your Ads.

You can go for a daily budget, which offers a maximum amount of spending for a given day. Another option is to go for a lifetime budget that is set for a particular Ad lifespan. You may also opt for running Ads during certain time points in a day or push them out continuously. 

To set the budget for your Ads, you can look at your Estimated Daily Reach scale to estimate the total number of people that your Ads will reach on a daily basis. 

Get Your Ads Ready-To-Go 

Once you have set up your Ads’ objective, target audience, placement, and budget & schedule, you can go on to create your Ads. 

Make a choice from one of the Ads formats we mentioned before. Select from one of these Ads formats: 

  • Story Ads
  • Photo Ads
  • Video Ads
  • Carousel Ads
  • Collection Ads 

Select your Ad format and then add relevant Call to action buttons. Add the destination URL to direct your audience to a particular landing page. 

Now, your Ad is all set to go live. At this point, you can also opt to track conversions through Facebook Pixels on your website or through app events. 

Creating Ads On Instagram

In order to create Ads on Instagram, you will need to have a business account. 

Once you have activated your Instagram business account, you can start running Ads and sponsored content. 

You can boost your top-performing posts and content on Instagram to a well-targeted audience. Using a good Instagram Analytics tool such as Unbox Social, you can identify which of your Instagram posts did well. You can then promote these posts directly on the Instagram App. 

After you select a particular post for promotion, you can go on to log in to your Facebook account. Then you can go on to select your Ad goal and add relevant call to action buttons. 

Following this, you can let Instagram select a default audience. The other option is to build a special audience for your Ad post on the basis of selected demographics, targeted interests, and location. 

Once you’ve picked your target audience, you may pick your Ad budget and duration. Now, you’re all set to push out Ads. Using the Facebook Ads’ manager, you can track the performance of all your Ads. 

So far, we’ve covered all the technical aspects of creating Instagram Ads. But if you want to generate maximum attention on your Ads, you need to be armed with best quality Ad creatives and copies. So, let’s move on to the next step in building a good Instagram Ad campaign. 

Frame Attractive Ad Creatives

The visuals of your Instagram Ads play an important role in catching the audience’s attention. Your Instagram Ad creative can make or break your Instagram Ads’ marketing strategy. 

Your Ad content should blend in with the rest of the organic content. It shouldn’t appear to be salesy and must have an organic appeal to it. 

Use a good photo-editing/video editing tool to make sure that your content stands out for all the right reasons.

Add relevant typography to your content that compels your audience to stop and check out your content.

Write Catchy Ad Copies

Your Ad copy is as essential a component of your Ad as the creative.Without a good Ad copy to back it up, your Ad will look incomplete. An Ad copy can help lead your audience to the action that you want them to take. 

Since you cannot put in too much information in our Ad creative, you need to use this space judiciously and smartly, to create a caption that stands out. 

A well-polished Instagram Ad copy including a call to action is what completes your Ad. Check for grammar and language errors before finalizing on an Ad caption. 


Given the extremely competitive platform that Instagram is, relying on organic content alone is not going to be enough. To achieve your business goals on Instagram, you need to have a strong Ads’ marketing strategy for your brand.

So, what are you waiting for? Get started with your Instagram Ads’ marketing plan, now!


What is Unbox Social?

Unbox Social is a powerful tool that offers solutions for influencer search, social media analytics, and competition tracking. The platform helps you get in-depth social media performance data of your brands, campaigns, and competitors. Get detailed reports and implement the findings in your strategies to get the most out of your campaigns!

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Use our brand scan to find who competition works with!