How to use Instagram Ads: A Complete Guide For Marketers

Instagram Analytics
Siddharth Dwivedi May 17, 2024

Among the many social media platforms available, Instagram stands out as a powerful marketing channel with over a billion active users globally. Whether you’re a small business owner, marketer, or aspiring influencer, understanding how to make the most of Instagram Ads can greatly enhance your online presence, boost engagement, and help your business grow. With its visually appealing content and engaged user base, Instagram offers a unique opportunity to showcase your products or services to a wide audience.

However, navigating the ins and outs of Instagram Ads can be overwhelming, especially if you’re new to it. That’s why we’ve created this guide. We’ll take you step-by-step through everything you need to know, from the basics to advanced strategies, so you can harness the full potential of Instagram Ads.

What are Instagram Ads

Instagram Ads are paid advertisements that businesses and individuals can create and display on the Instagram platform. These ads allow users to promote their products, services, or content to a targeted audience. With various ad formats such as photo ads, video ads, carousel ads, and story ads, Instagram Ads provide a powerful way to reach a wide audience, increase brand awareness, and drive engagement.

What is the usual cost of Instagram ads?

The cost of Instagram ads can vary depending on several factors. These factors include the bidding strategy chosen (such as cost-per-click or cost-per-impression), the target audience, the ad placement, the ad format, and the duration of the campaign. Instagram ads generally work on an auction-based system, where advertisers set a budget and bid for their ads to be shown. 

Advertisers can set a daily or lifetime budget, and Instagram will optimize ad delivery to maximize results within the specified budget. It’s important to note that Instagram ads can be tailored to fit various budget sizes, making them accessible for businesses of different scales.

What are the types of Instagram Ads?

Instagram offers a wide range of advertising formats to choose from, including

  • Photo Ads
  • Video Ads
  • Carousel Ads
  • Story Ads
  • Explore Ads 
  • IGTV Ads

Photo Ads – 

Photo ads on Instagram are a type of advertising format where businesses can showcase their products, services, or brand through a single static image. These ads appear in users’ Instagram feeds, seamlessly blending with organic content. Photo ads typically include compelling visuals, a captivating caption, and a call-to-action (CTA) button that encourages users to take action, such as visiting a website, making a purchase, or learning more about a product or service. They are an effective way to grab users’ attention, create brand awareness, and drive engagement on the platform.

Instagram photo ads

Video Ads –

Video ads on Instagram are a form of advertising where businesses can convey their message through dynamic and engaging videos. These ads play within users’ Instagram feeds, Stories, or the Explore tab. Video ads allow businesses to capture attention, tell a story, and showcase their products or services in a visually compelling way. They can range from a few seconds to a minute in length and can include audio, captions, and a call-to-action (CTA) button to encourage viewers to take action. Video ads on Instagram offer a powerful medium for businesses to connect with their target audience and drive desired outcomes.

Carousel Ads –

Carousel ads on Instagram are a type of advertising format that allows businesses to showcase multiple images or videos within a single ad unit. Users can swipe through the carousel to view different content pieces. Each image or video can have its own caption and link, providing businesses with the opportunity to tell a more comprehensive story, showcase various products, highlight different features, or demonstrate a step-by-step process. Carousel ads are highly interactive and engaging, allowing businesses to capture users’ attention and deliver a more immersive brand experience on Instagram.

Story Ads – 

Story ads on Instagram are a type of advertising format that appear within the Stories feature of the platform. Instagram Stories are full-screen, vertical visual content that users can view for a limited period of time. Story ads enable businesses to deliver their promotional messages seamlessly in the form of short videos or images that play in between organic user-generated Stories. These ads can include interactive elements like swipe-up links, stickers, and engaging visuals to captivate viewers. Story ads offer a highly immersive and engaging way for businesses to reach their target audience and drive specific actions such as website visits, app installs, or product purchases.

Explore Ads – 

Explore ads on Instagram are a type of advertising format that appears within the Explore tab of the platform. The Explore tab is where users can discover new content, explore interests, and find recommendations based on their preferences. Explore ads allow businesses to reach a broader audience who are actively seeking out new content and engaging with posts related to their interests. These ads seamlessly blend with the organic content in the Explore feed, offering businesses an opportunity to showcase their products, services, or brand to users who are in a discovery mindset.

IGTV Ads – 

IGTV ads on Instagram are a form of advertising that appears within the IGTV (Instagram TV) feature of the platform. IGTV allows users to watch long-form vertical videos from content creators and businesses. IGTV ads provide an opportunity for businesses to monetize their IGTV content and reach a wider audience. These ads are inserted into the IGTV videos at natural break points, allowing businesses to deliver their promotional messages seamlessly within the video experience. IGTV ads can be in the form of pre-roll or mid-roll ads, and they offer businesses a way to generate revenue while reaching an engaged audience on Instagram.

How to Advertise on Instagram: Step-by-Step Guide

Set Up an Instagram Business Account

To advertise on Instagram, you need to have an Instagram Business Account. If you don’t already have one, you can easily convert your personal account into a business account or create a new account specifically for your business.

Define Your Advertising Goals

Before creating your ad campaign, it’s crucial to define your advertising goals. What do you want to achieve with your ads? Is it to increase brand awareness, drive traffic to your website, generate leads, promote a specific product or service, or increase engagement? Clearly defining your goals will help shape your ad campaign strategy.

Connect Your Instagram Account to a Facebook Page

To create and manage Instagram ads, you’ll need to connect your Instagram account to a Facebook Page. This connection is necessary because Instagram ads are created and managed through Facebook Ads Manager.

Access Facebook Ads Manager

To get started with creating Instagram ads, access Facebook Ads Manager. You can find it by navigating to your Facebook Page, clicking on the “More” tab, and selecting “Ads Manager.” This platform allows you to create, customize, and manage your ad campaigns.

 Choose Your Ad Campaign Objective

In Facebook Ads Manager, select the appropriate campaign objective that aligns with your goals. The objective options include brand awareness, reach, traffic, engagement, conversions, and more. Choosing the right objective will help optimize your campaign for success.

Define Your Target Audience

To ensure your ads reach the right people, define your target audience. Facebook Ads Manager provides robust targeting options that allow you to specify demographic factors (such as age, location, and gender), interests, behaviors, and more. Understanding your target audience will help you tailor your ads effectively.

Determine Your Ad Placement

Specify that you want your ads to appear on Instagram. You can choose automatic placements, where Facebook will determine the most effective placement for your ads, or manually select Instagram as your desired platform.

Select Ad Format and Create Your Ad

Choose the ad format that best suits your campaign goals. Instagram offers various formats, including photo ads, video ads, carousel ads, and Stories ads. Consider the nature of your content and the story you want to convey to determine the most suitable format. Then, create your ad by uploading captivating visuals, crafting engaging ad copy, and including a clear call-to-action (CTA) that prompts users to take the desired action.

Set Your Budget and Schedule

Set your ad budget and schedule according to your campaign objectives. You can allocate a daily budget or a lifetime budget for your campaign. Additionally, you can select the start and end dates or choose to run your ads continuously. Facebook Ads Manager provides optimization options to help you make the most of your budget and maximize ad delivery.

Monitor and Optimize Your Ad Campaign

Once your ads are live, it’s essential to regularly monitor their performance. Use the analytics and insights provided by Facebook Ads Manager to assess key metrics such as reach, engagement, click-through rates, conversions, and more. Based on the data, you can make informed optimizations to improve your campaign’s effectiveness. This may include tweaking targeting options, adjusting ad creatives, or refining your budget allocation.


In conclusion, learning how to use Instagram Ads can be a game-changer for your business or personal brand. Remember to set clear goals, connect your Instagram account to a Facebook Page, and make use of Facebook Ads Manager. Explore the various ad formats like photos, videos, carousels, and Stories to create engaging content.

Target the right audience and regularly monitor your ad performance to make data-driven improvements. Also, make sure to abide by Instagram’s advertising rules to maintain a positive presence on the platform.

By using Instagram Ads strategically, you can increase brand awareness, drive traffic, and achieve your marketing goals. Embrace your creativity, experiment with different strategies, and stay updated with the latest trends in digital advertising.

So, don’t hesitate to get started. Begin leveraging Instagram Ads to unlock the full potential of this powerful platform and propel your business or personal brand to new heights. With dedication, creativity, and a solid understanding of the ad creation process, you can elevate your Instagram marketing and enjoy the rewards of a successful advertising campaign.

About the Author

Siddharth Dwivedi

Siddharth Dwivedi

Siddharth built two bootstrapped companies from the ground up: Vaizle and XOR Labs. He’s personally managed over Rs 100cr in ad budget across eCommerce, D2C, ed-tech, and health-tech segments. Apart from being a full-time marketer, he loves taking on the challenges of finance and operations. When not staring at his laptop, you’ll find him reading books or playing football on weekends.

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