How To Create Instagram Ads: A Beginner’s Guide

Instagram first introduced limited ad services around the time when it was taken over by Facebook in 2013. However, real advertising for different brands and sizes of businesses began in 2015. These businesses started to realize that using Instagram ads had a truckload of benefits for their business operations.

Furthermore, because Instagram is incorporated with Facebook ads manager, a business can smartly utilize the enormous resources of user data that Facebook has. This ensures they can make advertisements to their desired audience.

If you like looking at the numbers to better grasp how advantageous Instagram ads can be, below are some statistics:

  • Seventy-five percent of users usually perform an action through Instagram ads such as purchasing a product or visiting a website.
  • Thirty-five percent of adults in America use Instagram (“22+ Instagram Statistics That Matter to Marketers in 2019”, 2019).

You can now see that if you are not maximizing Instagram ads, you deny your business a considerable amount of possible income. Knowing this, let’s have a look at how you can get started with Instagram ads.

Beginning with Instagram Ads

Instagram has ensured that the process of developing ads on the platform is seamless. If you want to develop and manage advertisements on Instagram, you have four options at your disposal. They include:

We will be covering how to create ads using the first two options as they are the most straightforward options to use. Also, most brands and businesses use this option in the creation of Instagram ads.

The Facebook marketing API and Power Editor are great for those who want to develop a huge number of ads on Instagram at the same time. In contrast, Instagram Partners are professionals who can aid you in the purchase and management of your ads, developing content on your page, and engaging in your community. Now, let’s move on to developing Instagram ads using the Facebook ads manager.

How To Create Ads with Facebook Ads Manager

Navigate to the Ad Manager using Facebook

Head to Facebook and log on your business account. Then, head to the Facebook ad manager using this link. You can manage your Instagram ads using the Facebook ads interface.

Determine Your Ad Goals

Here, you have to pick a goal for your ad campaign. The goals or objectives you can choose from are explicitly stated. However, there are only a few objectives you can choose from when using Instagram ads, which we will be looking into below.

The Different Objectives on Instagram Ads

Instagram offers only eight (8) objectives in their Ads manager. This is in contrast to Facebook, that has 11 objectives available on their Ads manager. To create an ad on Instagram, the following are the objectives available to you:

  • Brand awareness 
  • Reach
  • Traffic 
  • Engagement 
  • App installs 
  • Lead generation 
  • Conversion 
  • Video views

While many of these objectives are very easy to use and straightforward, a few require additional steps and processes before your ad can run live. The simple objectives only need you to select the objective after which you create your ads instantly.

Below is a breakdown of the various objectives and how they can be used:

Brand awareness: This objective aid you in creating awareness for your business. Here, your ad will be displayed to your target audience and users that are most likely to take an interest in your Instagram ad. This objective is straightforward and doesn’t require additional steps.

Reach: This objective allows you to increase your reach. The number of people who will potentially see your ad will be maximized using this. This objective doesn’t restrict the ad to just the people who might show interest in it, unlike in the brand awareness objective.

Further steps:

This objective requires that you name your campaign and create a page on Facebook to link with your ad campaign. When your business doesn’t own an Instagram account, the linked Facebook page would represent your brand during the ad campaign. When your company owns an Instagram account, and you prefer it to the Facebook page, you will be given an option to link your Instagram business account during the creation of the ad. Presently, the reach objective is the only objective that supports the use of Instagram stories ads.

Traffic: This objective allows you to drive traffic to your app or your website from your ads.

Further steps:

You will need to name your campaign after selecting this objective. Then, you will choose the destination of the traffic you’re driving, which might be a desktop or mobile application, or a website. You’ll be required to enter your URL during the creation of the ad.

Engagement: This objective allows you to increase the rate at which people engage and interact with your posts. This objective will allow you to choose the kind of engagement you want. You can choose between page engagement, event responses, offer claims, page likes, and post engagement.

App installs: This objective works best for people who intend to boost app downloads on app stores. It has a bonus feature called split testing. You can test various versions of your ad to determine the best-performing one using the split testing feature.

Further steps:

You will name your ad campaign after selecting this objective, after which you pick the app you wish to promote. The following step is choosing the app store you need. This objective has its limitations, as you will not be allowed to promote multiple platforms at a go.

Video views: Videos can be promoted to reach more people using this objective. The objective is straightforward and doesn’t require further steps.

Lead generation: This objective allows you to create Instagram ads for lead generation. Here, the relevant information is collected from leads.

Further steps:

After you select this objective, you will be required to name your campaign after which a Facebook page will be chosen to connect with your ad campaign. If you don’t own any Instagram account, the Facebook page will serve as a representative for your business.

Things to note about lead ads:

  • Facebook and Instagram lead ads are different in many ways.
  • Instagram doesn’t support every pre-filled field. Fields that are currently supported by Instagram include: phone number, gender, full name, and email.
  • The ads operate differently. While Facebook allows users to scroll down the ad without having to click through, Instagram requires that users click through some pages after opening the ad to input their particulars.
  • Instagram’s design conditions for lead ads have to be met before your ads appear on Instagram.
  • While creating the ad, it’s necessary that you create a form for the lead ad.

Conversions: This objective allows you to persuade people to visit your app or website. Just like the app installation objective, ad split testing is permitted.

Set Up Your Instagram Ad

Various options are available, depending on your objective. Instagram provides six ad formats. Among the six ad formats, two can be seen on Instagram stories while the remaining four can be seen on the feed. Usually, advertisers and marketers leverage the four ad formats that can be seen on Instagram feeds.

The following are the six ad formats: 

  • Image Story Ads
  • Image Feed Ads
  • Video Story Ads
  • Video Feed Ads 
  • Canvas Story Ads 
  • Carousel Feed Ads

These ad formats are integrated into the feeds and stories to ensure a flawless experience for users.

Image Feed Ads

This ad format is the most frequently used format. The ads come as a big image that is displayed as your audience runs through their feed. Their ability to look like a normal part of the feed rather than an ad is one of the strong points of this ad format.

Below are some requirements for this ad format: 

  • Hashtags: Not more than 30.
  • Text Length: Maximum of 2,200. Nevertheless, Instagram recommends under 90 characters to ensure excellent execution.
  • File Format: Jpeg or PNG.
  • File Size: 30MB. 

Image Story Ads

It is pretty much the same as the image feed ads except that they are seen on stories rather than on feeds.

Its major requirement is a 9:16 image ratio as well as an image width of 600 pixels minimum.

Video Feed Ads

Using a video ad can make your ad look more original and exciting. A video with excellent quality can easily be used as a video feed ad. Instagram recommends the following: fixed frame rate, progressive scan, square pixels, H.264 compression, and a 128kbps + stereo AAC audio compression.

Nevertheless, you don’t need to fret if your video doesn’t fit these specifications. There are quite a number of apps that can help in modifying the video for you.

Below are some requirements for this ad format:

  • Length of the text: Instagram suggests 125 characters. 
  • Hashtags: a maximum of 30.
  • Video resolution: minimum of 1080 x 1080 pixels. 
  • Video length: 60 seconds maximum.
  • Size of File: 4GB.

Video Story Ads

Stories are also amazing spots to run ads. The reason for this is that many users already know that this is a location for videos, so when they come across ads, they are not surprised. These ads have a few specifications, which are:

  • Video Resolution: 1080 x 1920 pixels.
  • Video Length: 15 seconds max.
  • file size: 4GB max.

Carousel Feed Ads

This ad format can be quite entertaining, depending on how you capitalize on it. It gives you the chance to show users more than one image they can scroll to as opposed to only one image. This is an ad that will work well for brands that deal with visuals. Examples of these include brands in the gadgets industry and food industry, among others.

With this ad, you can incorporate as much as ten products in a single ad and include a link to all of these products. If you would like to include a video as well, this format also gives you the option to do so.

This ad has a few specifications, which are: File format: JPG or PNG.

  • Number of Hashtags: 30 max.
  • Text length: 2,200 max. However, if you want the best outcomes, Instagram states that you shouldn’t exceed 90 characters.
  • File size: 30MB max.
  • Video Length: 60 Seconds max.

How Do You Create Ads in These Various Formats?

Creating a Single Image Ad on Instagram Stories

You can’t do much with the single stories style since it’s straightforward and easy to create. It only requires you to upload an image or images. After this, you can go to “show advanced options” to enable offline tracking or pixel.

Creating a Slideshow Ad

To create a slideshow ad, you can create a new slideshow or upload an already existing slideshow. The slideshow creator on Facebook ads manager has an easy and simple slideshow creator. All you need do is upload images, arrange the images to your taste, and choose your preferred music. If it interests you, you can select a thumbnail and add video captions the same way it’s done in video ads. After filling up the caption, you can also include a website URL if you want to.

Creating a Single Image Ad

Unlike carousel ads, single image ads are simple and easy to create. When creating a single image ad, the first step is to choose the image or images you’ll be using for your ad. These images may come from existing ones, or you can load up some new ones.

After this, input the caption for your ad by filling up the text field. This caption may have about 300 characters, but it is advised that you only use 125 characters as recommended by Facebook.

To enable more visits to your site, choose “add a website URL,” and you’ll see more options. Input your website URL and choose a CTA button. Other fields will not be used for Instagram ads.

Creating a Single Video Ad

After choosing the single video ad format, choose an already existing video or upload a new one. Also, you can load an SRT file (also known as a subtitle file) for your video captions.

After this, type in your caption. A caption can have about 300 characters, but it is advisable to use no more than 125 characters, which is recommended by Facebook. To have more people visit your site, choose “add a website URL,” and you’ll see more options. Text in your URL and choose a CTA button. Other fields such as headline, display link, and news feed link description will not be utilized for your Instagram ads.

How to Create Instagram Ads Using the Instagram App

Another way of putting up Instagram ads is through the use of the Instagram app. Unlike the Facebook ads manager, the Instagram app lets you advertise an already existing post on Instagram.

Here are a few things you need to do to advertise directly from the Instagram app:

You have to change your profile on Instagram to a business profile.

You have to become an admin or one of the admins of your Facebook page, which is connected to your Instagram profile.

You have to obey Facebook’s advertising policies.

How Much Do You Need to Pay for an Ad on Instagram?

Just like Facebook ads, Instagram ads use the same mode of operation. Some factors like your budget, automatic bidding, or manual bidding selection will determine the cost of your ad. Instagram ads only cost you what you can spend with slightly above 10$ daily budget.

Tips to Ensure Your Instagram Ad Is a Success

Knowing how to create ads is just one piece of the puzzle. Understanding the strategies to ensure your ads produce the desired result is the following step. Below are some leading strategies that can help you do this:

Make Use of Hashtags

The use of hashtags is one of the ways Instagram is different from Facebook, as well. On Facebook, hashtags are not widespread, unlike on Instagram. Including hashtags in your post is essential. Based on a study carried out by TrackMaven, more engagements are generated on posts with 11 hashtags.

Beyond the number of hashtags, it is also important to employ the correct and most relevant hashtags. Maintain a balance between quality and quantity. You can employ the following services when searching for hashtags: Hashtagify, Hashtags.org, Websta, Keyhole, etc.

Quality and Flawless Photos

Instagram is a platform that is centered on visuals and images. If you study Instagram pages that are doing well, you will notice that the major thing similar with these pages is the use of great images. It is therefore essential to use good quality visuals for your ads if you want them to improve your sales, ad recall, and give your brand a good name.

Quality images have better aesthetics compared to mediocre ones. This helps them to blend naturally with other images on the feed. The effect of this is that people see your ads rather than bypassing them just because it looks so much like an ad.

Images that fit in naturally give an impression that they are just normal posts on the feed; hence, your ads won’t look like ads. People tend to skip ads quickly, so this helps you prevent that from happening.

Let Your Content Be User Generated

It is important that you ensure that your ads help you build confidence with your followers. It is important that your followers have confidence in your brand, as this will help you experience continuous and lasting growth. You can achieve this by utilizing user-generated content. This is how you build trust and ensure that your ads lead to sales.

User-generated content is a good means to help build confidence in your brand, and also this type of content is usually suitable for most of the points mentioned above.

Keep Your Text at a Minimum

It is important that you keep your ads as original and natural as possible. One of the ways to do this is by ensuring you keep your text at a minimum. This is very important if you want your ads to bring maximum returns. Instagram is all about visuals and images; hence it makes sense to pay more attention to this.

Facebook has a text boundary of 20% for ads, unlike Instagram. However, keeping your text at minimum is a silent rule on the platform. Even Instagram is aware that images containing too much text won’t get to a large percentage of the audience based on their algorithm.

Use Short Captions

People use social media to get quick information and fast access to stories. They intend to achieve that with as little reading as possible. A large percentage of people who use social media do not have large attention spans. Instagram is one of the platforms where people do not want to read as much.

Hence, in addition to just keeping the text in your images at minimum, it is also advisable that your captions are short as possible. A 40-character post is permissible for Facebook. Captions used on Instagram should not be longer than this either.

Include a Call to Action

Usually, Instagram does not allow the addition of a clickable CTA to posts that are not ads. It is only on your Instagram profile that you can include one. This is a disadvantage.

Beyond creating more recognition for your brand, you should also be concerned about returns from your ads in terms of purchases and lead creation. Rather than the usual “link in bio” mention, you can include CTAs to your ads on Instagram.

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