Instagram Advertising: a Simple How-To Guide

Instagram advertising can be tough. Here at Optily, we’ve created a simple how-to guide to get you started. Better advertising means more conversions for your business!

1.    Why should you advertise on Instagram?

Market Growth

Since the launch of Instagram 10 years ago, it has grown into a global giant in the social media industry. Now in 2020, Instagram boasts an incredible 1 billion active monthly users. If that figure isn’t enough to get you to set up your business profile right away, then maybe knowing that 500 million people use Instagram stories every day will! This phenomenal growth isn’t set to stop either, eMarketer predicts that Instagram will continue this trend; seeing higher user growth than both Facebook and Snapchat for the foreseeable future.


Mobile phone users (which nowadays means nearly everyone) spend A LOT of time on social media. Studies show that the average American spends 30 minutes per day on Instagram alone. That’s a 14% increase from last year. And if you think that’s only America, think again, because of the 1 billion users that log into Instagram every month only 11% are American. If you’re shocked by how long people spend on their phone (as I was), you can check this for yourself:

  • If you’re an iPhone user go to Settings; Battery; Battery Usage and tap the clock icon.

  • If you’re an Android user go to Settings; Digital Wellbeing

You’ll be surprised by how all the quick “check-ins” and 2-minute scrolls add up!


As with other social media, Instagram allows specific targeting of advertisements. This means you can engage with the people you want to engage with quicker and, most importantly, cheaper! The platform allows you to target specific demographics, locations, and behaviors, which can streamline your contact with potential customers.

Instagram is no longer just a place for teenagers to post selfies and influencers to influence. No, Instagram has expanded into an essential marketplace and marketing tool for all businesses. With more daily users than Amazon, surely it is a no-brainer to get your business up and advertising on Instagram right away.

2.    Costs?

A great question, but a difficult one to answer. Given the multitude of different types of advertisements and variants that Instagram offers, there is no one answer to this question. Instagram currently offers 8 different types of advertisements:

  • Photo/Video ads
  • Story ads
  • IGTV ads
  • Explore ads
  • Collection ads
  • Carousel ads
  • Instagram shopping ads

Each of these types of ads can then be tailored to meet your own individual needs. Adjustments can be made to:

  • Placement of ad
  • Format of ad
  • Target Audience
  • Timing of ad

Every time you adjust the tailoring on your advertisement the cost will change. A positive thing to note is that Instagram advertising can be done on almost any budget. Whether you’re willing to spend $500,000 a month or $5 a month, you can tell Instagram how much you want to spend on advertising, and then it will try to get you as much reach as possible for your budget.

3.    The “How-to” Guide

“Post” Promotion

The easiest way to advertise on Instagram is to promote a post that you have already made. This method is especially useful if you have a post that is already doing well and your audience is engaging with it. Promoting this is a quick and easy way to get even more reach to your audience.  All you need to do is ensure that your account is an Instagram Business account and then under every post that you make you’ll see the “promote button.” Quick, simple, effective.

Facebook Ad Manager Integration

One fantastic benefit of Facebook owning Instagram is that we can use Facebook Ad Manager to create an advertisement to run on Instagram too. Linking the two accounts from either platform is easy, just go to settings and connect your Facebook and Instagram Business pages. Once this is done you can get to work creating your perfect advertisement.

Follow these 5 simple steps to make an engaging and creative Instagram ad:

Step One – Objective

Your first step is choosing your campaign goal. There’s a variety of different objectives from brand awareness, traffic, reach to conversions. Although these goals are intuitive, spend some time to figure out which goal is right for your business.

Step Two – Audience

Who do you want to see your ad? This is question NUMBER ONE in advertising and one you should define as accurately as possible. Facebook’s knowledge on people is quite amazing and it has one of the best databases in the world. Not only does it allow you to choose the typical options such as, demographics and location, but it goes beyond that to specific interests and behaviors. It also allows you to personalize messages that apply to your unique customer. The more specific you can be here the more targeted your advertisement will be.

Step Three – Placement

This step allows you to choose whether you want your advertisement to appear on Facebook, Instagram, or both.

  • Manual: Place your ads exactly where you want it to appear

  • Automatic: Your ad will appear wherever it is most likely to perform best, determined by Facebook

Step Four – Budget

Now it’s time to set your budget and how long you want the advertisement to run.  The system allows you full control over your budget, you can choose daily limits or lifetime limits. It also allows you to choose whether you want your ad to run continuously throughout the day or at specific times. This means you can curate exactly how and when your money is spent.

Step Five – Design

This is the fun part and is completely up to you.

Be creative, choose from the variety of different styles of advertisements discussed and make the best possible ad for your business. Whether it’s a photo, a video, a story or a carousel, make it as eye-catching and interesting as possible to turn your ad-spending into profit.

If you follow this simple how-to guide, you’ll be sure to create trendy Instagram advertising and be #instafamous in no time!

4.    Our Expert Tip – Use Optily

Optily is a plug and play online platform that gives you instant recommendations on optimizing your ads across the Google and Facebook platforms, which includes Instagram. It can help you recognize which channels are performing the best for each campaign and move budgets around from one to another with a single click.

Try it out for 14 days free! What do you have to lose (besides the headache you get from staring at data that doesn’t make sense!)?

Because at the end of the day isn’t that what marketers really care about: efficient advertising?

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