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Instagram Ads: The Basics

Instagram is a fairly new but popular social channel. In fact, the latest statistics show over a billion active users on the platform. There’s no sign of this slowing down, so why not take advantage of one of the most visual social channels marketers have at their disposal.

We’ve put together the ultimate list to help you get the most out of your Instagram ads. Read through our handy guide and be sure to turn those virtual double taps into tangible profits.

 1. Choose the Right Type of Ad

Instagram is a great visual playground for brands that want to get creative. The platform offers 5 types of ads, so if you’re thinking of using it to promote your business, be sure to select the right option. Each option works differently and offers different benefits.

If you’re not sure which to pick, here’s a quick rundown of each.

Photo Ads

The tried and true, basic form of advertising. If pictures do your product or service justice, this is the quick, easy option for you. They even come with a range of Call-To-Actions to drive the sale home.

Video Ads

Which millennial doesn’t love a good video? Did you know, time spent watching videos on Instagram has risen 80 percent year on year? Create a quick, compelling vid to get your audience’s attention.

Carousel Ads

The recently popular form of advertising that takes advantage of the need to scroll through our devices. Use a combination of photo and video to tell a longer and more immersive story about your brand, then strategically link back to your website to seal the deal. This option lets you select up to 10 photos or videos which means you can really get creative with your content.

Stories Ads

This type of ad is a full-page ad that appears in between stories that users are already viewing from people they follow. With over 300 million people viewing stories each day, there’s definitely a new audience segment you can reach with this tactic. Use this option for promotions and exclusive offers. The swipe up function will take interested buyers straight to your website.

Canvas Story Ads

Unlike Stories Ads, Canvas Ads provide your audience with a fully immersive experience outside of the Stories function. These are specifically optimized for mobile for a smooth viewing experience and link to your website for users to redeem your offer.

 2. Choose Your Advertising Platform

Now that you’ve found the right type of ad for your brand, be sure to select the advertising platform that works best for you. Ensure your profile has been set-up as a Business Profile. This allows you to get valuable insights and run ads on either Instagram or via Facebook.

First, connect your Instagram Page to your Facebook Business Page. This allows you to use Facebook Ads Manager. Once you’ve completed this step, you’ll be able to seamlessly run ads using Facebook’s Ad Manager, which gives you various options for objectives such as brand awareness, conversions, or traffic. Or you can do it straight in the Instagram app, though it may not be as effortless to use.

If it’s your first time doing this, you can choose guided creation which will walk you through the process. The quick creation option will allow you to get straight into it.

 3. Create Double-Tap Worthy Campaigns

As with all advertising, your IG efforts should be carefully targeted and use a goal-driven strategy.

If you don’t want to waste time or money, use Neil Patel’s 4 T’s.


What are you hoping to achieve with your campaign? Target this and ensure your goal is clearly defined. Certain tactics work better than others for different campaigns.


You’ve targeted your audience and goal, now choose the right tactic to achieve this. Have a general idea of how you’d like to achieve your goal and consider the costs associated with this. A competition will differ from an influencer campaign.


Set a timeframe for your campaign. Deadlines will help motivate your team and set a goal that is measurable.

Total Spend

Even the best marketers need clearly defined budgets. You’d do well to A/B Test and adjust your budget as you figure out what does and doesn’t work in your various campaigns.

Remember these basics as you go about creating your campaigns.

  1. Remember These Best Practices

Lastly, it’s good to take note of these best practices. Instagram is primarily a visual playground that businesses can use to easily drive engagement, create brand awareness and generate leads.

Your Audience: They are targeted for a reason. Keep their values and goals in mind when creating your ads.


These can make you or break you on this platform. Adding them to your post can increase engagement by 12.6%. Be strategic about how you use them and always ensure your campaigns include an easily recognisable one. While you can use up to 30 on any single post, always think quality over quantity.

Think About Text

The saying a picture says a thousand words is especially true for this platform. Focus on stunning visuals and use your character count (2,200 for most ads) effectively to drive home your advertising goals.

Instagram is a fun platform that allows brands to show their creative side. Be sure to use these tips when creating your next campaign and get the most out of your Instagram Ads.