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Paid Media 11 min read

Instagram Ads Crash Course: Everything You Need to Know

Carolyn Noel photo

Written by Carolyn Noel

Communications Coordinator @ Galactic Fed

Dallin Porter photo

Expert reviewed by Dallin Porter

Marketing Director @ Galactic Fed

Published 15 Jun 2022

With over 500 million daily users, Instagram is one of the most effective social media marketing platforms. And through Instagram Ads, your brand will be able to target and reach specific users, increase traffic to your website, and boost your profits. 

Sound good? 

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We think so too. 

But if you’re struggling to understand how to get started, which type of ad will be most effective for your business, or how much money you should allocate for this paid media platform, we’re here to help. 

This comprehensive guide will make sure you understand everything there is to know about Instagram Ads in no time! 

What are Instagram Ads? 

Let’s start with the basics: Instagram Ads are posts businesses pay for to reach Instagram users. These advertisements are a method of sponsored content that is intended to reach a targeted audience, drive brand awareness and increase the customer base through visuals. 

As a consumer, you probably see Instagram Ads frequently and, upon first glance, can’t even tell they’re advertisements. However, they always contain a “sponsored” label and a “call-to-action” button to indicate that they are an ad.

Spring app instagram post

Source: Pinterest 

How to Get Started With Instagram Ads 

Now that you know what an Instagram Ad is, it’s time to learn how to create one. The two most common ways to create Instagram Ads are through Facebook Ads Manager and on the Instagram app itself. 

Facebook Ads Manager

Instagram is owned by Facebook, which means that Facebook Ads Manager will be where you go to create both Facebook and Instagram ads. You can add your Instagram account to your Facebook Business Manager to get started. 

To begin, click the “Ads” button on the left side of your Business Suite homepage. 

Galactic Fed meta ads list

From here, you can click “Create Ad” and then choose your overall advertisement goal. 

Create ads in Meta

This goal could be: 

  • Get more leads
  • Boost a post 
  • Boost an Instagram post (we’ll come back to this!) 
  • Promote your page
  • Promote your business locally 
  • Get more subscribers
  • Get more website visitors
  • Get more messages 

Once you have chosen a goal, you will be able to begin crafting your new advertisement. This will include creating your ad by giving it a headline, description, image(s), call-to-action and website link. 

Galactic Fed ad preview

You will then be able to choose your target audience based on location, age and interest, set the ad schedule and duration, decide your daily budget, and choose where to run your ad. 

Audience settings

You can run your ad on just Instagram or choose to promote it on Instagram, Facebook, and Messenger. From a paid media perspective, it’s pretty uncommon to run ads on Instagram and not Facebook or the vice-versa when using Facebook Business Manager. 

Promote your website settings


You can also create an Instagram Ad on an existing Instagram post directly on the app. This is called “boosting a post.” When you create an ad from Instagram, you can choose whether your advertising goal is more profile visits, website visits, or messages. 

To boost your Instagram post, start by going to your profile and clicking on the post you’d like to boost. Below the post’s image, tap Boost Post. 

Luckyshrub instagram posts and feed

Source: AdWeek 

You will then be able to fill out your goal, audience, budget, and duration, just like you did on the Facebook Business Manager. 

Instagram advertisement

Source: Flick 

Once completed, your ad will be submitted for review and then, if it meets all ad policies, will begin running shortly. You will receive a notification once it goes live. 

And voila! You now know how to create Instagram Ads through both Facebook and the Instagram app. 

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Types of Instagram Ads

Now that you know how to create Instagram Ads, you can begin exploring the different formats. These include: 

Instagram advertisements

Source: Key Media Solutions 

Each category of ad can be used for different business goals and will all feature call-to-action buttons with titles such as “Shop Now”, “Sign Up”, “Learn More”, etc. It’s important to remember that these ads shouldn’t stand out as pesky advertisements. Make sure they match your brand’s design and aesthetic and feel informative and interesting rather than pushy and bland! 

When crafting your ad, this is where your SEO knowledge will come into play. Instagram is like a small search engine and you want to make sure that you’re using high-quality images, keywords directly related to what you are trying to sell or offer, and making your caption informative, catchy and directly related to what your intended audience is looking for. 

Cost of Instagram Ads

There is no set cost for Instagram Ads. The amount of money that you spend on advertisements is entirely up to you and your paid social budget. If you have a budget of $10 a day, you will never spend more than $10 a day on Instagram Ads. 

Budget and schedule settings

Source: Sprout Social 

Some cost factors of Instagram Ads include: 

  • Your targeting
  • Competitiveness of your industry
  • Time of year (Advertising during Black Friday, holiday season, etc can cost more) 
  • Placement (costs can differ between ads shown on Facebook vs. on Instagram)

On average, companies pay $0.20 to $2 per click, $6.70 per 1000 impressions, and $0.01 to $0.05 per engagement for Instagram ads. 

There is no right or wrong amount of money to spend when starting with Instagram Ads. If you’re nervous, start with as little as a few dollars a day and monitor your success. 

Facebook recommends starting with at least $5 for your budget and picking a duration of six days. This will allow their ad delivery system to find the best people for your advertisement. Keep in mind that a higher budget will allow you to reach more people and that you can pause or cancel your advertisement at any time. 

Set a budget, track success, scale up over time and continue to grow! 

Measuring the success of your Instagram Ads 

Tracking the results of your Instagram Ads are the key to a successful ad campaign. This gives you the opportunity to see what’s working, what isn’t and make changes along the way. Some strategies may work, others may not and it’s important to learn and adapt. 

When running Instagram Ads through Facebook Ad Manager, you will be able to see the performance of your advertisements through charts. To do this: 

  • Go to Ads Manager 
  • Click on the campaign name of the advertisement you’d like to see 
  • Click “View Charts” 
  • From here you will be able to see a performance overview, demographics, etc. 

According to Facebook, “Depending on the objective you chose, you’ll see different results available. For example, if you created a Page post engagement ad, you’ll see how many post engagements your Instagram ad has received as well as total reach. You can also view Amount Spent and Cost per Result to understand how your budget is being allocated.” 

On the Instagram app, you will be to click the “Insights” button underneath your advertisement to view similar metrics. 

Instagram post insights tutorial

Source: Iconosquare 

Chances are, if you launch one Instagram Ad, it won’t be the last! So learning how to track your success and grow even bigger along the way is essential. 

Ready to get started? 

Now that you know how to create an Instagram Ad, the different kind of ads, cost factors, and how to measure success, you’re ready to jump right in. Before we leave you to take the plunge, let’s go over some last frequently asked questions. 

Can I create Instagram Ads without a Facebook? 

Yes, but you will only be able to do this on the Instagram app through boosting posts. Having a Facebook business account will allow you to use Facebook Ad Manager where you can create, monitor, track and analyze several different campaigns at once. 

Can I create Instagram ads without an Instagram account?

Yes! You will just need a Facebook page to do this. This is called a “page-backed Instagram account” and it will allow your Facebook page to be the face of your Instagram Ads. 

However, we recommend having an Instagram account for your business. The benefits of having one far outweigh any cons!

Can my Instagram Ads be seen on a computer? 

Nope. Instagram Ads will only be shown on a mobile device through the Instagram app. However, Facebook Ads are shown on computers and you can choose to run the same advertisement on Instagram and Facebook at the same time. 

So should I run an ad on both Platforms? 

We say yes! As you’ve learned, both campaigns are created in the same place and they are just different placements where the ad will be served. So why not toggle on the option to advertise in both places? This will give you more reach and more potential customers. 

If you’re still looking for more information on Instagram Ads, we recommend checking out Facebook guide. If you’re looking for some inspiration, here are 53 great Instagram Ad examples. 

And, hey, if it all seems like too much for you to manage on your own, we’re here to help.

At Galactic Fed, our Instagram Ad services include: 

Ad Creatives (Meaning we handle the graphic design part of the ads)

Ad Copywriting

Tracking and Analytics Implementation

Reporting & Attribution

So what are you waiting for? Schedule a free 30-minute consultation with our experts today! 

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Carolyn Noel photo

Carolyn Noel

Communications Coordinator @ Galactic Fed