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2024 Instagram Ads Guide: How to Create, Types, & Tips

Reaching 2+ billion people on social media is possible. How? With Instagram ads, you can reach 96% of active users. 
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Instagram Ads Guide
Table of Contents

Instagram has 2.3 billion monthly active users, and over 1.38 billion people use the platform every day. You can – and should – try to build your own following to reach users organically, but you can also use our Instagram ads guide to learn how to:

  • Create ads following our step-by-step process
  • Pay to expand your reach on Instagram
  • Utilize tips to improve your ads

Placing ads on Instagram helps you reach 96% of the platform’s active users, and you can use Meta’s advanced filters and targeting to deliver your ad to your exact target demographic or buyer persona (if you’re a business).

How To Create an Instagram Ad? (6 Steps)

To create an Instagram Ad, you’ll need a Facebook Ad Account. From the Facebook Ads Manager, you’ll be able to create feed and Story ads.

Start by creating a new campaign and follow the steps below:

1. Choose Your Ad Objective

When you create a new campaign, the first thing you’ll need to do is choose an ad objective. There are three main objectives to choose from:

  • Awareness: Brands awareness or reach
  • Consideration: Traffic, engagement, video views, app installs, messages or lead generation
  • Conversion: Conversions, catalog sales or store traffic

Choose your objective carefully because your ad may be rejected if your objective doesn’t really align with the type of ad you’re creating.

2. Name Your Campaign

Once you choose your objective, you’ll need to create a name for your campaign. Naming your campaign will make it easy to track your ads on the ads manager platform.

3. Choose Special Categories and Campaign Details

Next, you can choose any special categories that may apply to your ads and choose your campaign details.

Your ad will fall under the Special Ad category if it focuses on any of the following:

  • Employment
  • Social issues, politics or elections
  • Housing
  • Credit opportunities

These types of ads have special requirements and regulations that must be followed, so you absolutely must choose your appropriate category if your ad covers one of the topics above.

If your ad doesn’t fall into the categories above, then you can move on to the next sections, which include:

  • A/B split testing (enable or disable)
  • Advantage Campaign Budget (enable or disable)

Advantage Campaign Budget will automatically distribute your ad budget across your ad sets. You don’t have to choose this option if you don’t want to. Ads Manager allows you to allocate your spending for each ad set manually.

4. Choose Your Ad Design

Now, you can finally start designing your ads. You have two options here:

  • You can create your own ads
  • You can use the Dynamic Creative to allow the ads manager to make the ad for you

With the Dynamic creative option, you’ll still need to upload images, ad copy and CTAs. The ads manager will test different designs using the elements you provide.

It’s up to you which option you choose, but the Dynamic creative route will allow you to test out different configurations and creatives to see which ones will perform best.

5. Set Your Budget and Optimization

The next step is to choose how you’ll be charged for the ads you run and to define your budget and schedule.

You can choose between:

  • Daily Budget, which allows you to run your ads indefinitely while spending your set budget for each day.
  • Lifetime Budget, which allows you to set a specific schedule for your ads. For example, you can choose to only have your ads shown on weekends or weekdays. You can even choose the exact times and days for your ads.

You can adjust these settings anytime you want if you decide to change your budget and how you run your ads.

6. Choose Your Target Audience, Ad Placement and Ad Format

With your budget set, it’s time to choose your audience. Make sure that you choose the right audience for your ads – the one that’s most relevant.

You’ll also need to choose the placement of your ad, which, in this case, would be Instagram. Ads Manager will allow you to choose between a few different placements:

  • Stories and Reels
  • Feeds
  • In-stream
  • Overlay and post-loop ads on Reels

Finally, you can choose your ad format (ads, slideshow, video, etc.) and get ready to launch your campaign.

Creating an ad is a multi-step process, and you want to do everything you can to ensure that your ads deliver the results you want.

But before we dive into pricing and tips, you’ll want to consider the types of ads that you can create. 

What Types of Instagram Ads Can You Create?

Instagram has ads in places that you likely overlooked. You can quickly boost a post, but selecting the right ad type will help you improve your overall results. When creating ads, you’ll find options for each objective, such as:

  • Awareness
  • App Promotion
  • Engagement
  • Leads
  • Traffic
  • Sales

And you can adapt your CTA buttons to very specific cases, such as “Get Offer,” “Download,” “Shop,” and many others.

Different types of ads will have their own objectives and call-to-action options available.

Meta offers the following types of ads👇on Instagram:

1. Carousel Ads

Carousels are very popular. You can add multiple photos to tell a story, and it’s what many apparel companies use to promote their products. Why? You can:

  • Showcase products
  • Tell a story
  • Share 10 images or videos in one carousel

When creating these ads, they’ll show up in people’s feeds or Stories, and you can add a CTA for each image. For example, your first image may include a CTA to:

  • Shop 6 sizes
  • Shop now for 50% off
  • Etc.

You can change the color of the CTA to make each offer stand out, and you have the option of changing the text in the carousel description to match the product.

2. Collection Ads

Ecommerce companies tend to prefer collection ads because Instagram allows for direct item purchases right from the ad. Leads can click on the ad, see more information about the product and make a purchase.

You can think of a collection ad as part carousel and part shopping ad.

Items in your store’s catalog can be added directly to an ad, and you can showcase multiple product views underneath the main ad image.

3. Explore Ads

Instagram Explore is a tab to explore the platform and find new content. You’ll find a lot of great accounts to follow on the tab, based on your own actions on the site, such as accounts similar to those that you:

  • Follow
  • Like
  • Engage with

And you can purchase ads that will be displayed in the Explore tab based on the user’s usage habits. You can show your ads alongside trending content. What’s nice about this type of ad is that you can reuse some of the assets that you’ve used in other ads for the Explore ad. You can use images or videos for your ad.

Instagram has a great video that shows Explore ads and how to use them in your marketing campaign.

4. Image Ads

An image ad is a timeless advertisement that uses a single image to promote your:

  • Brand
  • Product
  • Service

You’ll see these ads on your feed with the word “Sponsored” under them. Apparel companies are known to use image ads to promote their most recent collections, and you can choose from numerous CTA buttons, such as contact us, book now, get quote, shop and dozens of others.

5. Reels Ads

Reels are insanely popular on Instagram and allow the advertisement to run:

  • Fullscreen
  • Up to 60 seconds

You’ll find that while very effective, you’ll need to have a budget to create high-quality Reels that include audio and music. If you go through Reels, you’ll find a lot of brands, such as Redbull, use ads to promote their products with great storytelling.

Users can:

  • Like Reels
  • Share them

And Reels will loop, allowing your ad to be seen many times in a row.

6. Shopping Ads

Our Instagram ads guide has mentioned a lot of shopping examples, but you can go beyond normal ads for shopping. Meta has its own type of shopping ads that allow you to reach up to 44% of the users who shop on the platform weekly. 

Who knew this many users were shopping on the platform?

Instagram allows users to:

  • Shop on the app
  • Buy directly from the app

You’ll need to set up your shopping catalog and then add your products to the platform. Instagram does limit this type of ad to businesses that have Checkout enabled. If you use something like Shopify, it’s easy to begin adding your products to the Shopping catalog and show them as ads.

7. Story Ads

Instagram Stories are engaging and where a lot of users spend their time. You’ll pay more for ads in Stories, but with over half a billion people watching Stories every day, it’s well worth the expense.

You can make an image or video into a full-screen Story ad.

A few perks when choosing Story ads is that they offer:

  • Carousels, photos and videos
  • Call-to-action to swipe up from the ad
  • Filters and stickers when creating them

Instagram Story ads are very interactive and have a very high engagement rate compared to other advertisement types on the platform.

8. Video Ads

Video advertisements are another great way for brands to showcase their products. Instagram users see a lot of ads every time they look through their feeds, so you may prefer video because it helps your advertisement stand out from the competition.

Imagine a local landscaping company purchasing a video ad that shows:

  • A “before” video of an overgrown property
  • How the team cleaned up the property
  • An “after” video with a customer in awe at their new landscaping

If you want to showcase items or concepts, Instagram video ads allow you to show that story in one of the most engaging formats possible. You can add a CTA to the bottom of the advert and direct users to your site or store.

How Much Do Instagram Ads Cost?đź’µ

If you want to know exactly how much your ads will cost, no Instagram ads guide can tell you. You’ll want to have a minimum budget of $5 (USD) per day to run ads, according to Meta, which is a good starting point for brands purchasing ads.

Your total ad spend can be controlled with great precision, including the ability to limit ads to:

  • Daily budget
  • Lifetime budget

For example, if you may want to spend $20,000 advertising a new product, you can set the lifetime spend at $20,000, and the ad will stop being displayed on the platform.

If you want to spend $200 a day on ads, you can also set this threshold.

Costs for your ads will vary drastically based on multiple factors, such as:

  • Audience
  • Industry
  • Time of year
  • Placement

If you plan to begin advertising televisions on Black Friday to a U.S. audience, you can expect to spend dramatically more than if you promoted this same product in April.

Bidding on ads is how the platform works, so the “highest bid wins.” Instagram can set the bid for you, but it requires that you give up some of your control over your ads and profit margins.

What we recommend is:

  • Start with a low maximum bid
  • Increase the bid over time
  • Use your internal data to set your bid over time

You’ll gain insights into how the ad performs over time, allowing you to understand the exact maximum ad spend for your industry and product.

Instagram does provide you with a daily results estimator that will forecast how your ad will perform during a campaign.

Even if you just start with $5 per day, you can make a nice ROI with the right ad.

4 Tipsđź’ˇfor Creating High-Performing Ads

No Instagram ads guide is complete without helpful tips on how to maximize ad performance. While every Instagram account and audience is unique, these four tips will help most users maximize the performance of their ads.

1. Use Videos

Instagram may have started as a photo-based social network, but today, videos are king on this platform. 

Generally, Instagram video ads get more engagement and clicks than static image ads. If you don’t want to create video ads, carousels are a great alternative because they encourage viewers to interact with your ad.

2. Use Your Current Audience and Content as a Guide

Creating Instagram ads can be intimidating. There are so many possibilities when it comes to creatives and audience targeting. Where do you even begin?

If you want to maximize the performance of your ads, use your audience and your current content as a guide.

Use your Instagram Insights dashboard to analyze your content. Ask yourself:

  • Which images and videos get the most engagement?
  • What do these images and videos have in common aesthetically and topic-wise?

Once you analyze your content, you can use your findings to start creating ads with visuals that will catch your audience’s eye.

If you’re still struggling, we recommend starting out with promoted, or Boosted, posts before you create unique Instagram ads. Why? Because these are posts that will already have likes and comments. You know that your audience finds them interesting, so it’s highly likely that the people who see your ads will also find these posts interesting. You’ll be more likely to get engagement and clicks as a result.

3. Try the Audience Lookalike Targeting Feature

To create Instagram ads, you’ll need to use Facebook’s advertising platform, and this platform has a feature that can help you create high-performing ads: lookalike audience targeting.

Lookalike audience targeting features allow you to target users who behave like the ones who already engage with your content.

In other words, Instagram will show your ads to users who are just like your followers.

To set up a lookalike audience:

  • Open Facebook Ads Manager.
  • Choose Create Audience on the Audiences page.
  • Select Lookalike Audience.
  • Next, choose Engagement Custom Audience as the source.
  • Specify your audience’s location and audience size.
  • Click Create Audience.

Now, you can use your lookalike audience setting, which will allow your ads to reach new people who are likely interested in your content.

4. Use the Best Practices for Ad Design

If you’re going to create unique ads for Instagram, make sure that you’re following the best practices for this platform.

For example, if you want to run Stories ads, then you need to make sure the content is optimized for Stories. Creatives designed for feed ads won’t work.

Here are a few tips:

  • Feed ads should be on the larger end of the size requirements (maximum aspect ratio of 191X100).
  • Stories ads should have an aspect ratio of 9:16.
  • Focus on quality always. Your video and image ads should look professional if you want to maximize their performance.

When you follow the best design practices for your ads, you’ll maximize their performance and get more engagement overall. 

Are Instagram Ads Worth It?

Now that you know what type of ads you can create, how much they cost and how to maximize performance, you may be wondering: Is it worth it?

If you’re trying to grow your brand, increase your following, get more visitors to your website or increase sales, Instagram ads will likely be worth the investment for you.

Instagram has a huge audience, and ads will help expand your reach significantly. Because you don’t need a huge budget to use Instagram Ads, it’s worth experimenting with this tool to see if it helps you reach your goals.

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