How to Create Instagram Ads

Advertising on Instagram is an ever expanding resource for Facebook, with it earning $20 billion in ad revenues in 2019. This accounts for nearly a third of all Facebook’s ad revenue in 2019, with this figure set to rise in 2020.

Why are more and more advertisers putting money into Instagram? Very simply it is because they are making money from it. Every indication we get from Instagram is that it’s becoming an increasingly bigger and more important social media for businesses; both big and small. The time to start advertising on Instagram is now because every day you’re going to have to start competing with more brands.

In this post we’ll explain what Instagram ads are, the types of ads, how to create your first ad on Instagram and some things we’ve learned from doing them.

What are Instagram ads?

Instagram ads are exactly just that-ads on Instagram. If you use the app regularly you are probably familiar with them. They usually look like normal posts you’d see on your feed or stories but a little different. They have a call to action (usually “learn more” or “shop now”) at the bottom and then a “sponsored” tag at the top.


Cost of Instagram Ads

Instagram ads, in short, can cost as little or as much as you want. Of course, there is a minimum cost as ads work based on a bidding system. Price varies based on where you place your ad, demand, what type of ad you use and who you want to show your ad to. You control your spend based on your campaign budget, daily spend limit and your bidding strategy.

Types of Ads

Stories: These ads appear inbetween users stories and fit in pretty seamlessly to app, allowing you to use photos or videos. they are full screen on mobile with an aspect ratio of 9:16, and allow users to swipe up from the bottom of their screen to visit whatever you’re advertising. Instagram also offers you features like stickers, filters, effects, etc that you can add to your stories.


Feed: Feed ads appear in the normal Instagram feed as you scroll. They come in a variety of formats allowing you to use an image, a video up to a minute in length, a carousel or a collection. Image and video ads are familiar to anyone used to the Instagram ecosystem. They are images or video posts with a call to action and a “sponsored” tag in the left hand corner.



Carousel: These ads allow you place up to 10 different videos or images each with a different headline and destination. They can be individual to sell different products, or all combine together to tell a story and bring viewers through them all.


Collection: Collection ads offer advertisers the ability to have use or create an “instant experience” for viewers. You have an ad with a cover image or video at the top to catch the eye of people and then a carousel of products underneath linking to your store. This ad type is only available with the conversions objective.


Explore: Explore is where Instagram users can find new content and accounts related to topics they are interested in. Your ads do not appear here, they only appear when users click into a post and scroll.


How to actually create an ad.

To create an ad you’ve two options; you can use Instagram directly or Ads Manager.

To advertise though Instagram you must have your page set as a business page and have it connected to a Facebook Business page. If this is all okay you can advertise. All you have to do is go to the post you want to promote, click “promote” and select the options that best suit your aims. Once you’ve done this click “create promotion” and you’re done.


To use Ads Manager you must already have set up an ads manager account and linked your business Facebook page and Instagram page to it. Once that is done, you’re ready to go.

Go to your ads manager and click the green “create” button. Here you will be met with a whole host of objectives. Each has it’s own purpose, but for this example we will use the traffic objective. Click on traffic, go to the bottom of the page to name your campaign and set the budget.


The next page will allow you to set your audience. The targeting is very detailed and so you can get very niche with it. Understand who you want to target and who your message will attract. Taking this understanding, base your targeting around that.

To advertise solely on Instagram, go to the next section and choose “manual placements.” From this you then have three options; Feed, Explore and Stories. These are where your ads will be shown.

Next you have to create your ad.

Pick the format you would like, upload your images or videos, add text, add a URL and click create. Be aware of what aspect ratio suits each ad placement.

Feed and explore are best with a 1:1 ratio or a 4:5. Stories is made for the full screen mobile experience, so 9:16 is best here.

Below this section is your Pixel tracking section, which you will have on your website if you want to track what people are doing on your site.


Keep your primary text short. Instagram displays the first 80 characters before the text disappears below the fold. Be sure to get what you want to say in here to capture audiences.

Use emojis in your text to catch people’s eyes

Create an ad where imagery and text work together to solve demonstrate how they solve the issues of your audience.

Test, test, test. Use a variety of ads with different images, videos and text till you find what works for your company.