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How to Advertise Your Business on Instagram

Instagram is still one of the best social media platforms out there. And with 55% of 18-29 year old's in the US, we can see why. This is why companies that can properly utilize this platform is crucial. Advertising with Instagram is both easy and effective. With Instagram there is an opportunity to share what is great about your business, stand out from others and grow your presence. As a result your business can truly profit from the millennial demographic.

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Therefore one of the easiest ways that your business can make use of Instagram is to invest in ads. Because you can drive mass awareness it increases website sales. Instagram offers endless possibilities for the creative marketer. However, the trick is knowing how to harness it and make it work for you. So today, we're going to discuss how to advertise on Instagram. Let's get started, shall we?

Why advertise on Instagram?

Instagram ads are seriously a great way to generate business. A report from eMarketer stated that nearly three quarters of American companies with 100+ employees will turn to Instagram for marketing purposes in 2017. This is a big deal.

A study by Forrester in 2016 found out how the top 50 global brands market on social media.They evaluated 11.8 million user interactions on 2,489 posts made by 249 brands. Data was collected on how they use each social network platform, the amount of fans, how often they post and how users interact with their posts. Consequently what Forrester found was astonishing. The average number of Instagram followers for top brands is now over 1 million. Which is almost five times higher than in 2015.

Instagram is growing. And fast. Especially because users aren't just following their friends and celebrities anymore. They're following their favorite brands too.


There are three main types of Instagram ads to choose from. It all depends on your goal. Whether it's awareness, more website visits or to increase downloads of your mobile app. As a result, Instagram can help you access a huge (and engaged) audience. Don't worry, we'll discuss the difference between photo, video and carousel ads.

Photo ads. Photo ads give you the ability to tell your story and feature products through engaging visuals. Which means that you can market your brand to a broad audience or just to those in your hometown.

Instagram offers segmentation tools that allow you to target a specific audience. For example, if  you are a graphic designer, you could use the segmentation tool to target people over 21 who might be interested in buying art for their homes. Like people who announced they were moving or people who have an interest in decor.

Video ads. Instagram videos can be up to 60 seconds long. But really, the first 30 seconds of social videos are what matters most. The goal is to hook your audience in that timeframe. As a result, they are more likely to stick around and engage. Which is key to growing your business and following.

Many brands have had a lot of success with Instagram videos. The key is to make them visually stunning. Essentially something that grabs their attention early on.

Carousel ads. Carousel ads gives Instagram users the ability to swipe to see additional images. There is also a call to action button that takes them to a website where they can learn more. Think of carousel ads like the digital version of the multi-page print campaigns from many years ago. Unlike print ads, carousel ads offer the added benefit of taking people to a website so they can learn more.

For example, a new clothing shop could showcase how one shirt can be used in a variety of outfits. Once they viewers see how versatile the shirt is, you can have a button that directs them to the shop page of your website.

Stories ads. Stories ads feature full screen ads. Which happens whenever users scroll through their Stories feed. This feature essentially changes the way Instagram users interact with ads. Because it allows users to feel like they are in the ad.

When the stories are created on Facebook's Power Editor or Ads Manager, you can manage who sees your ad and how often they see it. Plus, you can use Stories insights to measure how your ads are performing.

The biggest advantage of Instagram Stories ads is its social reach. When it's combined with audience targeting, there are 150 million daily users engaging in Instagram Stories and the number continues to grow.

And since Instagramers use Stories to discover new things—like what’s happening with their peers and in the community - they are actively seeking new content, Stories ads are a great way for advertisers to reach them too.

Call to Action buttons. In 2015 Instagram added several new features to its advertising platform. It included a call-to-action buttons such as Shop Now and Install Now. The Call to Action (CTA) button was created to bring a business' main objective to the front of their Instagram presence. The call to action button links to any destination; both on or off Instagram. One that aligns with a business's goals.


Before you start to run ads on Instagram, you'll need a Facebook page. Because Instagram is now owned by Facebook and the two platforms work in conjunction. Pages are for brands, bloggers, organizations, and public figures. Consequently, brands and businesses can truly benefit from this type of advertising.

Much like Facebook profiles, pages can be customized with stories, events, etc. People who like a certain page will get updates in their News Feed. Once you have your Facebook page created, you can properly get started with Instagram ads. Luckily there are only three steps involved.

Step 1: Sign Up for Facebook's Business Manager

  1. Go to
  2. Click Create Account.
  3. Enter a name for your business or brand, select the primary Page, and enter your name and work email address. If you don’t already have a Page for your business.
  4. Move through the rest of the on-boarding instructions by entering the rest of the required fields.
  5. Learn how to add people to Business Manager.

Step 2: Add Your Instagram Account

  1. Go to your Business Manager.
  2. On the left side of the page, click Business Settings > Instagram Accounts.
  3. Click Claim New Instagram Account.
  4. Add your username and password, then click Next.
  5. To authorize one or more of your ad accounts to use the Instagram account, check the box next to each ad account and click Save Changes.

Step 3: Create Your Instagram Ad

  1. Go to ad creation.
  2. Choose an objective from the list. It should be noted that only the following objectives will allow you to create ads that will be eligible to appear on Instagram: Brand awareness, Reach, Traffic (for clicks to your website or to the app store for your app), App installs, Engagement (for post engagement only), Video views, and Conversions (for conversions on your website or app).
  3. However, some of these objectives may look different when you create an ad. You can learn more about the changes to objectives here.
  4. Next to Campaign Name, add a name for your campaign or use the default name that appears.

How To Choose an Audience

In the audience section you can create an audience for your ad. You can choose your audience characteristics. Such as age, gender, interests, behaviors, location, and even politics. You can learn more about the targeting options here.

Just like Facebook ads, Instagram ads offer options to pay per engagement or by impression (CPM). There is even an option to budget your ad campaign with the Budget and Schedule section. Which allows you to choose a budget and set you ad's schedule.

You can choose either a Daily Budget or a Lifetime Budget for your campaign.

  • Daily budget sets your ad up to run continuously throughout the day. Which means that the algorithm will automatically pace your spending per day. With this option there is a minimum daily budget depending on different factors in your campaign.
  • Lifetime budget gives your ad a run for a specified length of time. The algorithm then paces your spending over the entire time period that you set for the campaign.

You even have the ability to manually set your optimization and bid. In the Optimize for Ad Delivery section, you can update how you want to optimize your ad. In the Bid Amount section you can choose a manual bid.

Next to Ad Set Name, go ahead and add a name for your ad set. Or feel free to use the default name that appears.

In the Format section, choose the type of media you’d like your ad to include. Review the technical and design recommendations to make sure your photos and videos look the best they possibly can. Furthermore, there are specific requirements that you should be aware of when it comes to photos and videos. It's time to get technical.

Photo Design Recommendations

  • Image ratio: 1:1
  • Image size: 1080 x 1080 pixels
  • Caption: text only, 125 characters recommended

Photo Technical  Requirements

  • Image ratio: Landscape (1.91:1), Square (1:1), Vertical (4:5)
  • Minimum resolution: 600 x 315 pixels (1.91:1 landscape) / 600 x 600 pixels (1:1 square) / 600 x 750 pixels (4:5 vertical)
  • Caption: text only, max 2,200 characters
  • Limited support for landscape format
  • Maximum resolution: 1936 x 1936 pixels
  • File type: .jpg or .png
  • Maximum size: 30MB
  • Your image may not include more than 20 percent text. You can use Facebook’s text overlay tool to see how much text is on your image

Video Design Requirements

  • Aspect Ratio: 1:1
  • File type: .mp4 container ideally with leading mov atom, no edit lists
  • Video: H.264 video compression, high profile preferred, square pixels, fixed frame rate, progressive scan
  • Audio: Stereo AAC audio compression, 128kbps + preferred
  • Caption: Text only, 125 characters recommended

Video Technical Requirements

  • Caption length text: 2,200 characters Max
  • Video aspect ratio: Landscape (1.91:1), Square (1:1), Vertical (4:5)
  • Minimum resolution: 600 x 315 pixels (1.91:1 landscape) / 600 x 600 pixels (1:1 square) / 600 x 750 pixels (4:5 vertical)
  • Minimum length: 3 seconds
  • Maximum length: 60 seconds
  • File type: Full list of supported file formats
  • Supported video codecs: H.264, VP8
  • Supported audio codecs: AAC, Vorbis
  • Maximum size: 4 GB
  • Frame rate: 30fps max
  • Bitrate: No limit to bitrate file if you’re using two pass encoding, as long as your file doesn’t exceed 1 GB. Otherwise, 8 megabits per second for 1080p and 4 megabits per second for 720p.
  • The thumbnail image ratio should match the aspect ratio of your video. Your image should include minimal text. Don't forget that the amount of text in your ad image will impact the reach of your ad.

Once you've met all the requirements...

You'll fill in the details of your ad. Choose your headline, text, and call-to-action (if desired). Click Show Advanced Options for additional options. Keep in mind that these options are creative ones that may differ based on the objective of the ad you choose.

Below Ad Preview, you'll see all of the placements your ad will be shown on. By default, all of the placements will be selected. It's recommended that you run your ads on Facebook and Instagram at the same time. However you do have the ability to show your ads on just Instagram. Simply click Remove next to all of the places except for Instagram.

Once you've finished your ad, click Place Order in the bottom-right corner. Finally don't forget to review your ad closely before you hit the green button. Since your ads have the potential to be seen by a very large audience, because you really can't risk a typo.

Best Practices of Instagram Ads

First of all, there's always a right (and a wrong) way to do things. And Instagram ads are no exception. The key is to know your audience. One of the coolest features of Instagram ads is the targeting capabilities. So instead of sending a photo of your business or brand out into space, you can send it directly to people who might already interested in what you have to offer.

Just a few more Instagram tips to stand out...

Captions Matter. Images aren’t everything. The captions you use on your Instagram post allows you to show off your brand’s personality. Because the voice of your brand is essential to your social media marketing plan. Start by asking yourself: what are the qualities and values I want my brand to promote? Furthermore, you can make a list and use it to shape your image. Therefore you might also try brainstorming a few adjectives that describe your brand and use those to refine the voice.

Use Hashtags. Instagram posts with at least one hashtag get a lot more engagement than posts that don't. So use them whenever they are relevant to your post and target audience. However, don't use so many that they crowd your caption. Because you don't want to make it difficult to read. Looking for more information on hashtags? Head over here for a crash course.

Be consistent. Use the same filter or style on all of your Instagram posts. It will give your feed a more consistent look. Your audience will start to recognize you right away in your feed.

As you can see, creating an Instagram ad isn't hard. Especially if you follow these steps we mentioned above. However there are a few tricks of the trade that you need to focus on when it comes to Instagram. Such as creating engaging captions, using hashtags and being consistent. In conclusion, we hope that this post will help you succeed with your Instagram ads. It's important to focus on creating a consistent brand identity for you Instagram. And don't forget to engage you audience and you should do great!

Have you advertised on Instagram before? How did it turn out? Did you gain new followers and engagement? Let us know in the comments below, so we can discuss!