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Getting started with Instagram Advertising

Instagram ads are created and run on the Facebook Ad platform. Because of this, you get all of the highly-detailed targeting and choice of objectives that Facebook offers. With over 800 million monthly active users, the platform is powerful above all for content rich, engaging ads. Ensure you have your Facebook Business Manager set up before you begin, learn how to with our blog.

Objectives + Ad Types

As Instagram ads are managed through Facebook Ads Manager, the infrastructure for creating audiences is the same as for Facebook ads.
Your ads will fall under three main objectives. Awareness ads can either be optimised for Brand Awareness or Reach. Brand Awareness ads are more likely to reach people who will pay attention to your ads. While Reach will show your ad to the maximum number of people your budget will allow.
Consideration ads are split into the following possibilities:

  • Traffic and App Install ads will send your audience off platform, to your website or where they could download your app.
  • Engagement and Lead Generation ads encourage your audience to engage with the post itself. Whether it’s commenting, reacting or sharing, engagement ads are a favourite as they encourage your audience to interact with both your brand and with each other.
  • Video View ads are ideal for behind-the-scenes, product launches or lifestyle brands who want to showcase their products in a fun and in-motion way.
  • Message ads allow you to drive conversations with audiences, answering questions or offering support directly in the messenger app.

Conversation ads come in three optimised versions:

  • Conversion ads drive your audience to take action on your website, usually a purchase.
  • Catalog Sales ads use your in-platform catalog of products for ease of sale.
  • Store Visit ads promote your business locations to users who may be nearby.

Once you’ve established that, you need to define your audience.


Facebook allows you either to create your audience while creating your ad campaign or to use a saved audience you have previously created in the Assets section of Business Manager. Here, you can define your audience using the basics: location, age, gender and the language they speak. You can then use the detailed targeting offered by Facebook to define your Instagram audience further. You can do so by inputting your own interests, and then using the suggestions drop-down menu to build the list, or by selecting from pre-loaded choices in the browse menu. The following ‘Connections’ option allows you to include or exclude segments from the audience you have built. For example, you can choose to exclude audiences who already like your page or who already use your app
Alternatively, you can upload your own database of existing customers or create an audience based on your Facebook Pixel. This is a piece of code provided to you by Facebook that can be embedded into your website, which tracks the action taken on your website by your visitors. You can then use this database for advertising to your website visitors, or to visitors of specific pages.


Facebook allows you to select where your Instagram ad will appear – on the timeline or as an ‘Instagram story’. Timeline ads will appear as the user is scrolling, usually with a CTA below the image to take them either off platform to your website or to your account. Story ads will appear in between the organic stories the user is watching and work best in video format. Ensure that your ads are optimised for each of the placements.


The pricing of your Instagram ads is decided similarly to that of your Facebook ads, and ultimately comes down to your audiences, which can be different to those you use for your Facebook campaigns. Define which of your potential audiences would be using Instagram as a social platform, and more importantly who wouldn’t, as this will affect the cost of your campaign. For example, only 26% of Instagram users are over the age of 50, so this may not be the ideal platform to advertise to them.
Instagram as an advertising platform gives you all of the targeting benefits of Facebook while giving you the chance to experiment with your visuals. Its popularity amongst 18-25 year olds means it’s the ideal platform to reach a younger audience and to showcase your products. Want to nail your Instagram advertising? Then get in touch with us!

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