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Updated by Sarkis Hakopdjanian on Jun 20, 2019
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How to Create Instagram Ads in 5 Steps

Are you wondering how to advertise on Instagram?

Have you tried creating Instagram ads with mixed results?

To learn more about Instagram advertising, read our article:

Instagram Advertising: How to Create Instagram Ads


The first decision that Facebook Ads Manager asks you to make is: what’s your marketing objective?

Instagram and Facebook Ads are designed to help you achieve one of three campaign objectives: awareness, consideration, or conversion.

  • Awareness: display your ads to the maximum number of people possible to increase their awareness of your health products and services.
  • Brand awareness: introduce your business to a new audience.
  • Reach: display your ad to as many people in your audience as possible.
  • Consideration: promote your ads to encourage people to interact by visiting your website, commenting, sharing or liking your post, watching your videos, and more.
  • Traffic: increase traffic of people to your website or app.
  • Engagement: increase the number of post comments, likes, and shares.
  • App installs: encourage people to install your app.
  • Video views: encourage people to watch your video.
  • Lead generation: get new potential patients into your pipeline.
  • Messages: encourage people to contact you using Facebook Messenger.
  • Conversion: encourage your audience to take action by purchasing a product, or by visiting your clinic in person for an appointment.
  • Conversions: encourage people to take a specific action on your website, such as subscribing to your newsletter or booking an appointment.

For awareness goals, you pay every time a person views your ad, known as an impression. For consideration and conversion goals, you pay every time a person takes action, like clicking a link to visit your website.

Deciding your marketing objective affects how Instagram displays your ad to help you achieve your goal.

Once you’ve set your campaign marketing objectives, you can start to segment your audience into groups within the ad sets. You can create multiple ad sets that focus on different audiences.

For example, if you offer health services for seniors and also for parents with young kids, you can create two different audience categories. By creating two different ad sets, you can create different ads that are relevant to each audience segment. Ads that are more relevant have higher success than generic ads for everyone.

Facebook’s extensive information database allows you to create highly focused audience segments based on various demographic and psychographic information, such as:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Languages
  • Relationship
  • Education
  • Work
  • Financial
  • Home
  • Ethnic Affinity
  • Generation
  • Parents
  • Life Events
  • Interests
  • Behaviours
  • Connections

Since you can save your audience segments as ad sets, you can experiment with the different segmentation options to find the best audience for your business. After conducting various tests, you may be surprised by which audience segment is most receptive to your ads.

After selecting an audience, there is an area below segmenting your audience and above setting your budget called “Placements”.

The default setting is “Automatic Placements (Recommended)”. This default setting will place or display your ad in various places, including Facebook, Instagram, Audience Network, and Messenger.

If you want to be specific about where to display your ads, check the radio button named “Edit Placements”. This opens up all of the options for where you’d like your ad displayed, and on which type of device (e.g. Apple iOS or Google Android).

When selecting your budget, you have two options to choose from:

  1. Daily budget: ads are displayed continuously throughout the day, up until your daily budget limit. You can also set a start and end date for your ad schedule.
  2. Lifetime budget: set a schedule for when to display your ads and they are shown to your audience until your lifetime budget runs out.

You can also choose specific budget spending options, such as your bid strategy, whether you’ll get charged per view (impression) or per click (engagement), and even what time of day your ads will be displayed.

If you already have an audience of followers, you can review the analytics of when they’re using Instagram to determine the best time to display your ads.

You can either use an existing Instagram post that you’ve already created and published, or you can create an entirely new post. Instagram’s algorithms favour posts that have higher levels of engagement, so it helps to use posts that have already been published and are well received.

Next, you can decide the format for how your Instagram advertisement will be displayed. There are five ad formats that Instagram uses, including:

  • Carousel: you can include up to 10 images or videos, each with their own link, all in one ad. This works well to showcase different features of a product, to explain a step-by-step process, or to present multiple products.
  • Single image: in addition to a photo, you can also include 125 characters of text, plus a headline and link description. You can also add a call-to-action button, like “Book Now” or “Call Today”.
  • Single video: display videos ranging from short mobile videos to longer ones for desktops that are up to 240 minutes long. Shorter videos have higher completion rates and many people typically watch a video on Instagram without sound, so ensure that your message is succinct and supported with text.
  • Slideshow: this ad format creates a video from several static images. This offers the dynamic motion of video, but using basic images. This ad format loads faster than videos, so keep that in mind if your audience has a slower Internet connection.
  • Collection: this ad format highlights your products right in the Instagram feed. The ad includes a cover photo or video, plus product images with pricing, which allows people to learn about your products without leaving Facebook.

Once you launch your Instagram advertisement, it’s important to review the performance metrics of your campaign using Facebook’s Ads Manager. When logged into your Ads Manager dashboard, select the campaign that you want to view, then click on the “View chart” link found either below the campaign name, or on the far right-hand side.

You may have an idea of what you think will work well, but only the results can validate that idea. If your ads are performing well, continue with your plan. If your ads are not performing well based on your goals, consider pausing your campaign and re-evaluate your strategy.