Social media is a big part of your professional world, and you work hard to make sure your professional accounts look great and reach your audience. The next step may be advertising on social media, and Instagram ads could be just what you’re looking for to increase your followers, promote customer engagement, and ultimately boost sales.

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What Exactly are Instagram Ads?

One key to successful social media for a business is reaching as much of your target audience as you can. A great strategy to do this is through Instagram ads. According to Sprout Social, Instagram began to offer ads when Facebook acquired it in 2013. Since then, over a million users have successfully advertised on this platform. offers a clear explanation of Instagram advertising:

Instagram advertising is method of paying to post sponsored content on the Instagram platform to reach a larger and more targeted audience. While there are many reasons a business or individual may decide to advertise, Instagram advertising is often utilized to grow brand exposure, website traffic, generate new leads, and move current leads down the funnel (and hopefully towards converting).

Since Instagram is such a visual platform, text ads are not a thing here. Rather you need an image, set of images, or video (which can be accompanied by text) to reach your audience with Instagram ads.

Whether you are looking to create ads for Facebook and Instagram, or just Instagram, it’s easy enough. Your ads can show up in your stories and feeds, connecting with more customers on a daily basis.

Instagram ads all you need to start


Active engagement is key on social media. The more customers you can engage with, the more successful your strategies will be. Ads are able to incorporate social media algorithms to reach more of your target audience than organic methods alone. Just like companies advertising on radio or TV choose spot advertising, those working on social media should look at paid advertising as well.

Social media advertising is also easy because you can work with your demographics to create ad placement. Placement on Instagram means something different than it does on another platform because Instagram ads all run on stories or feeds. But you can dictate how many people will see your ad or when it will run. You can also choose your format and objective which is key in a successful advertisement.

People love their Instagram. An incredible amount of time is spent here, in fact, according to, users spend, on average, 50 minutes a day on Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger. In the U.S., one in five minutes spent on mobile is spent on Instagram or Facebook.

Getting Started with Your Advertising on Instagram

Though advertising on this platform is more than just the tap of a key or two, it’s pretty straight forward and easy to create a successful ad. When you’re ready to get started with your first ad, here’s what you’ll do.

Decide on your budget

Ads will cost different amounts depending on a number of factors. Hootsuite shares that these factors will impact your cost:

  • targeting
  • ad placement
  • ad format
  • time of year

A great thing about this platform is you directly set your own budget. Maybe you want to spend $5 a week, maybe $500. It’s easy to create your own budget. Of course, it almost goes without saying that the more you spend, the more you’ll reach. But with that being said, don’t be afraid to start small and stay within your budget.

Decide on the type of ad

Instagram ads come in a few different types, including ads on stories, photo ads, and video ads. Each serves its own purpose and reaches a specific audience. It also plays into your budget. Think about your business goals and what kind of call to action you want. That will help you decide on the type of ad. The Hootsuite article shares that with 500 million Instagram users viewing Stories every day, you have the potential to reach a massive audience with Instagram Story ads. With a swipe up feature, the call to action response is at their fingertips.

Each ad format has a different business objective. Spend some time taking a look at these and connecting with your own objectives. You want to hit on just the right type of ad for your audience to encourage conversions. Remember, your ultimate goal is engagement and sales. Choose the format that will take you there.

Know your target audience

This is key to any advertising, right? You’ve got to know your audience and you have to know what compels them to act. Don’t be afraid to check out your competitor’s feeds for inspiration. No, you don’t want to copy what they are doing, but you can follow their lead while keeping it your own. This article shares some tips including working on your hashtags, using locations, and working with influencers. All of these can help connect you with your audience. And once you connect with that audience, you’re on your way.

Creating an Engaging, Appealing Ad

Instagram is about engagement. Your ad needs to be one that draws your audience in with appeal and aesthetics. You want to captivate them into engagement. And don’t forget to engage back. So what makes an engaging ad on Instagram? One thing, of course, is the aesthetics of your photo or video. We all know Instagram is about the beauty and creativity of the posts and stories. Everyone loves a lovely feed. Your ad has to fit this as well.

Entrepreneur shares some tips on creating that desirable aesthetic that will get your ad noticed.

  • Determine your brand’s personality and stick to it. Let this come across not only in your feed but in your ad as well. This will lure your audience into your beautiful feed.
  • Choose a theme. Maybe you are going for that vintage look or the clean, minimalistic vibe. Some companies like to only use certain colors to create a cohesive theme. Whatever it is, stick to that, too. Let your theme be apparent in all of your squares so your followers will recognize you consistently, and by incorporating this into your ad, it will tie your ad to your feed.
  • Tie it in to your grid layout. When a potential customer looks at your grid from your ad, you want it to be appealing. The ad square should fit right in your grid in a cohesive, natural way.

The most important thing is to have your ad be appealing in a visual sense while it ties into your vibe, brand, theme, and feed. Your ad is an invitation to take a further look at your account, and it should be a little tidbit of what you have to offer.

Include a Call to Action

A call to action is key in getting customer engagement and new sales. Your ad should invite your viewers to do something. Drive Social Media tells us that there are over 25 million business profiles on Instagram and that 71% of US businesses are active on Instagram. Your account has got to stand out. Using a call to action (or CTA) can help you do that. Instagram business offers call to action buttons for your ads. They are:

  • Start Order
  • Book
  • Reserve

Instagram partners with providers such as Treatwell, Fresha, Bookatable, and Quandoo to help you with your orders, bookings, and reservations. This way it’s all done right there, without ever having to leave the site.

You can also include your own call to action such as

  • Visit my Esty shop
  • DM me
  • Send me a message
  • Inquire through my website
  • Check out my page

Anything that offers that call to action to help your viewers take the next step is important and valuable. Whenever you place an ad, include a call to action. Even an “I’d love to hear your thoughts” is a good place to start. Remember, provide that call to action and that opportunity to engage.

Instagram ads take it to the next level

Great Instagram Ad Examples

You’re ready to take on some Instagram advertising and you know the basics. How about checking out some of the great Instagram ads to see what we’re talking about? Let’s do it!

  • Defshop – You can see the use of call to action here from this European streetwear company

Since Instagram shopping is gaining popularity, the company has decided to add product tags in posts to make it easier for interested Instagrammers to find out about the featured items. The campaign proved that modern users were ready to buy in-app.

  • Tawkify – With a short, sweet, and simple take and a theme with earthy tones and a clean design, this ad conveys the brand and the vibe of the company. They share the “humanness” of this dating app through the aesthetics of the ad. There is also a definitive call to action through their “learn more” button.
  • Birkenstock – With this aesthetic feed, it’s easy to see their success. Even on the account page the call to action is present, Share your styles and tag us with @birkenstock. Other squares direct the viewer to follow Birkenstock. Each square fits beautifully in the grid layout, and the photos are aesthetically pleasing. It’s not just one post here, it’s the whole feed.

The Big Takeaway on Instagram Ads

Advertising on Instagram is a smart way to go. You can be doing all of the right things, like creating beautiful photos, listing catchy hashtags, and adhering to a color scheme. However, if you’re not reaching as many viewers as you could be, you could be missing out. Take some advice from the big accounts and turn some of your posts into sponsored ads. You could use your stories, too, for a great advertising platform.

People love Instagram. But remember, they scroll quickly, and your ad must grab their attention. Make it eye-catching and don’t forget that call to action. Consider your audience and gear that ad to them. When they see it, they won’t be able to resist and before you know it, you’ll not only have new followers but potentially lots of new customers and great engagement.