Instagram Ads: A Complete Guide to Advertising on Instagram [with Examples]

Snappy, engaging Instagram ads are the key to standing out and reaching audiences on this popular social media platform. Here’s what marketers need to know about crafting ads that deliver.

Updated: June 13, 2024

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Although there’s plenty to be said for investing in your brand’s organic reach on Instagram, the right Instagram ads make a terrific addition to any campaign.

Advertising on Instagram supports your ongoing digital marketing efforts by boosting brand awareness and exposing your business to a wider audience.

However, there’s an art to getting social media ads just right. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll dive into how to make Instagram ads that perform.

    Why Use Instagram Ads for Your New Business Page

    Instagram presents modern brands with a robust set of advertising tools that can really shine a spotlight on a new business page. The many benefits of integrating Instagram ads into your brand-building strategy include the following:

    • Instagram’s advanced targeting features help expose brands to exactly the right audiences.
    • Increased exposure aids in building brand awareness.
    • Ads can drive web traffic and elevate conversion rates.
    • They help initiate and support strong customer-brand relationships.

    Instagram ads are also relatively affordable. Upfront costs can vary depending on various factors, like seasonality and ad type. However, the average cost per click in 2024 is about $0.75.

    Understanding Instagram Ad Formats With Examples

    Instagram offers marketers a wealth of different ad types to choose from, each with its own unique benefits and perks. When it comes to determining how to post ads on Instagram that perform well, choosing the right ad type is key.

    Photo ads

    Clean, simple, and straightforward, photo ads are single-image promotions that blend seamlessly into users’ Instagram feeds. Collectively, Instagram photo ads are:

    • Ideal for boosting brand awareness and showcasing key products
    • Comparatively low in cost
    • 1080 x 1080, 1200 x 628, or 600 x 750 pixels, depending on the aspect ratio
    Vitaly Design Instagram Ads
    Screen cap – Source:

    Instagram video ads

    Video ads offer a trendy, effective way to grab attention and convey brand messaging in an engaging manner. Instagram video ads are:

    • Best for engaging brand storytelling and product demos
    • Comparatively expensive
    • 1080 x 1080 pixels

    Example: GIF – Source: Sprout Social/Enterprise

    Instagram carousel ads

    Carousel ads multiply the effectiveness of photo or video ads by combining several images or video clips. This ad type is:

    • Perfect for showcasing related products or multiple product features
    • Moderately costly, and possibly more expensive depending on the content
    • 1080 x 1080 pixels for photos, 600 x 600 for videos
    Mercedes Instagram Ads
    Screen cap – Source: Digivizer/Mercedes

    Instagram Stories ads

    Story ads appear as full-page advertisements within Instagram’s ephemeral but popular Stories feature. These ads are:

    • Best for time-sensitive content and raw, relatable material (like behind-the-scenes footage)
    • Variable with regard to cost, but generally effective from an ROI perspective
    • 1080 x 1080 pixels
    Chewy instagram ads
    Screen cap – Source: Social Media Examiner/Chewy

    Instagram collection ads

    Collection ads showcase groups of images or videos featuring in-app shopping technology that allows users to shop within the ad itself. Collection ads are:

    • Perfect for driving e-commerce sales and optimizing product launches
    • Expensive but also high on ROI
    • 1080 x 1080 pixels
    Treatwell UK Instagram ads
    Screen cap – Source: Treatwell UK

    Instagram shopping ads

    If you have an Instagram shop, the shopping ads are a terrific way to support convenient social media shopping via your posts. These ads are:

    • Ideal for product launches or special events
    • Variable in cost, depending on seasonality and content
    • 1080 x 1080 pixels
    Colour pop cosmetics Instagram Ads
    Screen cap – Source: Iubenda/Colourpop

    Instagram Reels ads

    Similar to standard video ads, Reels ads are shorter, snappier, and leverage Instagram’s popular Reels feature. These ads are:

    • Best for connecting with younger audiences
    • Median to high cost, but with a high potential ROI
    • 500 x 888 pixels

    Example: GIF – Source: Lyfe Marketing/Burberry

    How to Make Instagram Ads

    Once you settle on the right type of ad for your campaign, it’s time to consider the content. Here are some quick tips on creating Instagram ads that make audiences sit up and take notice:

    • When appropriate, use video to maximize engagement and improve click-through rates.
    • Make dynamic ad types like videos and Reels accessible by adding captions and descriptions.
    • Add relevant hashtags to improve discoverability (yes, they still matter).
    • Include a clear call-to-action so users know what to do next.
    • Hire professionals to help you put together winning ad content. (WriterAccess is an ideal place to connect with both writers and designers.)

    “Despite what some may think, Instagram isn’t just for younger people. While it’s massively popular among 18 to 34-year-olds, people aged 35 to 65 still make up over 30% of overall users. Older age groups also flock to it.”

    – Neil Patel, digital marketing guru

    Instagram is a prime place to connect with audiences of all ages and from every demographic. Tailor your ads accordingly.

    How to Post Ads on Instagram

    Instagram’s ad program operates through Meta. For that reason, you’ll want to check current Meta Ads Manager requirements to ensure compliance. Next, follow these simple steps to get started:

    • Navigate to Instagram’s Ad Manager and hit “create.”
    • Choose an objective that aligns with your overall business goals.
    • Define your audience. Consider whether you’re pitching to a target audience vs. target market.
    • Choose your placement, set your budget, and settle on a schedule.
    • Select an ad format and upload your content.

    You can also choose to turn standard posts into ads by using the platform’s boost feature.

    Be sure to consider the times when your audience is most active on Instagram as you optimize your ad posting schedule. Analyze your on-platform audience metrics to intuit when those times might be.

    Instagram Ads Costs and Budgeting

    Naturally, maximizing the ROI of your Instagram ads is crucial, and that means getting smart about your budget. Here are some best practices and tips to make the most of yours:

    • Understand the factors that affect how much Instagram ads cost. They include your ad format, the duration of your ad, and the targeting factors you specify.
    • Start with a daily budget instead of a lifetime budget.
    • Scale slowly, increasing your spending gradually as you get the hang of things.
    • Carefully consider who you’re looking to reach when you select targeting criteria. What do they want to see in an ad? When are they most likely to be online?
    • Help your budget go further by ensuring your ads stand out.
    • Track and analyze your results. Improve future efforts accordingly.

    But you may be asking, “how much should I spend on Instagram ads?”, here’s what Meta recommends:

    “For ad set budgets, most advertisers who are charged for impressions should allocate at least $1 per day for daily budgets.”

    The amount depends on your goals and you can see more recommendations on the Meta Business Help Center.

    Sponsored Posts on Instagram

    Sponsored posts differ from standard ads in that they consist of organic content instead of material created specifically for the ad program. There are two main types to consider:

    • Promoted posts are standard posts that a brand pays Instagram to promote via the platform’s boost function.
    • Paid sponsorship posts are content that a brand pays an influencer to publish on its behalf.

    The upside to going with a sponsored post over a standard Instagram ad is that these posts tend to seem less like advertisements. For that reason, they can feel more approachable and blend more effectively into a user’s feed.

    If you’d like to consider partnering with an influencer, be sure to target people whose audiences overlap with yours. Your Instagram promotion cost can vary drastically from one influencer to the next, so don’t sleep on smaller influencers! Their audiences can be just as engaged.

    Examples of Successful Instagram Ads

    Are you curious about what an outstanding Instagram ad looks like in action? Check out the following examples for some top-tier inspiration.


    Ever Instagram Ads

    The productivity app Ever successfully stood out in a saturated market thanks to clever ads like this one. It works because it leverages a problem that pretty much everyone has—a lack of adequate storage space for photos on their devices. It’s simple, eye-catching, and gets straight to the point.


    Screen cap: Source – Sendible/Ever

    Pet photos rank among the most commonly shared types of images on platforms like Instagram, and pet care brand PetSmart uses that to its advantage in this ad. The advertisement is actually a re-gram of another user’s pet, helping the ad fit comfortably into feeds and connect with viewers.

    Stance Socks

    Screen cap – Source: Sendible/Stance

    Sock company Stance is famous for making some of the best socks in the entire world. After noticing that ads featuring their Star Wars-themed socks were performing especially well, Stance put that knowledge to good use. This dedicated ad cleverly showcased the entire set, just in time for the holiday rush.

    Instagram Ads FAQ

    Do you still want to know more about Instagram ads? Take a look at the following frequently asked questions.

    How much does it cost for Instagram ads?

    As of spring 2024, the average cost for an Instagram ad ranges from $0.20 to $2 per click. However, actual costs can vary.

    Do Instagram ads really work?

    Yes, as part of a well-rounded social media campaign, Instagram ads work. They can help brands boost reach, maximize ROI, and gain recognition.

    How do I run ads on Instagram?

    Sign up for an Instagram business account. You can use the platform’s Ad Manager tool to create and target your advertisements.

    Are Instagram ads worth paying for?

    Yes, if you take the time to create quality ads and target them correctly, Instagram ads can be highly effective.

    Can anyone run Instagram ads?

    Anyone with a professional account can run ads. If you don’t have one, you can convert your personal profile to a professional account.

    How much should I spend on Instagram ads per month?

    That depends on your marketing budget. Consider yours carefully, as well as the return you’re hoping to see on your investment and the audience you need to target. Start small and increase spending gradually.

    Amplifying Brand Success with Instagram Ads

    When incorporated into a comprehensive digital marketing strategy, the right Instagram ads can be very helpful for expanding reach and ROI. However, it’s crucial to ensure your ads are well-crafted.

    Take the guesswork out of designing amazing Instagram ads when you sign up for your free 14-day WriterAccess trial. Connect with the industry’s top writers and designers today, and create ads that perform!


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