Creating target ads on Instagram: A comprehensive guide!

instagram marketing
Reading time: 15 minutes

Instagram has long been at the forefront of social media platforms for years. As for now, it has over 1 billion profiles. And the number of active users increases every single day. Thanks to this tendency, numerous advertisers and advertising agencies start paying close attention to Instagram as the venue to promote services and goods and generate outstanding profits. And it comes as no surprise that such actions also make many people look for various guides on setting up ads and boosting their social accounts. If you have the same intentions, you have come to the right place. By the end of this article, you will get a clear picture of how to launch ads on Instagram without anyone's help.

Getting Prepped to Launch Target Ads on Instagram

First and foremost, make sure to complete this preliminary step:

Switching to a business account

Changing your account from private to business is a necessary step, as it allows you to set up and launch ads.

Here are quick tips on how you can do that:

  • Run the app and tap on your profile picture.
  • Choose the three paralleled stripes at the top-right
  • Below, tap on Settings and select Account
  • Select the "Business" type along with the category pertinent to your interests

Besides, you can link Instagram with your Facebook profile.

In case you can't attach your Instagram to Facebook, try to complete one of the three following steps:

  1. Specify basic information and create a business page right on the app
  2. Avoid linking Instagram with Facebook
  3. Open Facebook, create the company's profile, and then try to link both accounts

Keep in mind that you can always unlink a page or connect any other profile in the "Account" section. Upon tapping on the "Account" section, select "Linked Accounts."

If you follow the mentioned steps, the page will change its status from private to business. After that, you will get access to statistics and target management.

Differences between Business Manager and Ads Manager

The Facebook advertising environment has two versions – Ads Manager (basic) and Business Manager (advanced).

In plain terms, Ads Manager (a basic version) has only multiple payment options available.

In contrast, a Business Manager has much more perks, including:

  • Paying via multiple options
  • Sharing payment options with other advertising accounts
  • Managing multiple business pages
  • Managing two or more advertising accounts
  • Limiting access for individual employees
  • Sharing a pixel with another ad profile
  • Integrating with the CRM system
  • Adding contact information about the company
  • Enabling two-factor authentication
  • Creating a gallery of products
  • Managing multiple pixels
  • Deploying Facebook Dynamic Ads

A few words about the budget

Competent targeted advertising on Instagram and an adequate choice of the budget go hand in hand. The campaign's effectiveness depends on well-planned advertising, CPL (cost per lead), and profit (margin).

Advertising campaigns usually cost less than the amount of profit. For instance, you sold your book worth $10 10,000 times and earned $100,000. Your profit is lower, as you have hired an editor and designer to make your book faultless and good-looking. At the end of the day, your profit is $80,000. Spending less than half of it on ads will be the right advertising strategy.

Now, let's try to estimate the cost of the target user. Say that during the advertising campaign, you received 2,000 requests in direct messages. Out of 2,000 people, 1,500 purchased your book. With a conversion rate of 25%, we have a lead price of $53. This is a forecasting technique.

There is also another method – the actual one. It allows you to calculate the CPL for the entire advertising campaign. If, for example, the Instagram ad costs you $60,000 and you make 500 sales, then one target user costs $120.

All these calculations exist for a reason. They let you estimate the payback period, the cost of attracting a new customer or adjusting the product's or service’s price.

Preparing media files for ads

You can include either a single image or a selection of several photos, also known as Carousel when creating an ad.

If your Instagram version is up-to-date, it might support tagging products via shopping tags.

Launching ads on Instagram: the most effective ways

Let's now analyze the methods of targeting ads on Instagram.

Launching Targeted Ads On Instagram

It would be reasonable to kick this list off with the simplest method – launching an ad campaign on Instagram. To do this:

  1. Publish the desired post or select an existing one in the "Promotions" section.
  2. Click the "Promote" button next to it.
  3. Specify the target action (more profile visits, more website visits, more messages).
  4. Select the target audience through the "Create your own" option. Usually, Instagram picks up users automatically. But we suggest customizing settings to achieve the best results.
  5. Set your ad’s duration and budget. The minimum recommended budget is $10, along with the minimum recommended campaign period of three to six days.
  6. Add a payment method.
  7. Click the "Create promotion" button.

There is a similar algorithm to promote stories. Open your story, tap on the three dots in the lower-right corner and select "Promote."

Aside from that, you can check statistics by swiping up and tapping on the arrow in the form of a graph.

Important! Archived Instagram Stories can’t be promoted. Also, you can’t promote those that contain elements with touch support — polls, timer, etc.

You are all set! The ad campaign has been launched. However, this method does not guarantee maximum profit.

If you want to approach your ad campaign more effectively, use the following, more complex strategy.

Launch ads through the Facebook Manager

Facebook Manager offers a novel tool for setting up ads – the Ad Center. It has a simple and intuitive interface, but it lacks some vital elements for finding a specific target audience. Besides, you can't deselect Facebook placement here. To reach Ad Center, click on the relevant item in the page settings. Choosing + in your profile and picking "Advertising" is an additional and helpful option, as well.

Then select a relevant promotion goal:

  • promotion on Facebook;
  • promotion on Instagram;
  • multiplication the number of leads;
  • get more messages;
  • popularization of the app on digital distribution services;
  • the usual advertising on Instagram for an audience increase;
  • local business promotion (up to 80 kilometers from the geo point);
  • attracting potential clients to the website.

Customizing Ad Groups via Ads Manager

Before starting, make sure to disable the adblocker. You can do that by logging in to Ads Manager through your profile, linked to your business account. This will enable lots of advertising features.

In Ads Manager, configure settings following the next order:

  • ad campaign (goal)
  • ad groups (target audience)
  • individual ads (ad offers)

Once you complete that, proceed to create a new campaign. First, select an interface for further work. We recommend selecting "Mode with hints."

Instagram Stories For Advertising

You don’t need to reinvent the wheel when setting up Instagram stories for advertising. The creation process is almost identical to the one displayed above. However, when selecting placements, remember to disable the "Feed" option.

Before promoting services or goods, consider attaching relevant, vertical photos, as Instagram crops horizontal images. Any graphic editor or Instagram itself will help you succeed in this.

Creating correct Instagram ads

Efficient advertising comprises several steps. We have broken them down to help you understand their notion and how to set them up.

1. Goal selection

Suppose you know your ultimate goals for the campaign. In that case, it won’t be challenging for you to select your primary goal among the following ones:

  • Outreach. Suitable for advertising events or any other promotion.
  • Brand awareness. An excellent option for promoting a new product. Facebook will display ads in a particular order and at a specific time.
  • Traffic. You need it to collect as many web page visits as possible.
  • Engagement. The goal is for those who care about likes, comments, and subscriptions.
  • Lead generation. The process for searching for people who may be potentially interested in the promoted service or good.
  • Conversions. An effective way to achieve many actions on the site. Create a Facebook pixel in Events Manager and paste it to the web site's link to activate this feature.
  • Points for Physical Attendance. The goal is to attract clients to visit offline business meetings, stores, or offices.
  • Messages. The perfect option for those businesses that use Instagram to sell their products.

When you choose a goal, title your ad campaign. Besides, check whether the "Optimize your ad budget" option is off. This will let you customize the necessary settings.

2. Budget and scheme

In this section, you can set the daily cost or budget for the entire campaign. The latter option is better because it enables you to control the advertising costs.

Using advanced settings, you can also set the schedule for your ad appearance.

3. Building the target audience

Constructing the target audience (TA) is a demanding process. Under no circumstances should you mix audiences. Not only will it be challenging to set preferences, but you also pose a danger of losing potential clients.

When evaluating your TA, consider the following points:

  • places – region (or multiple regions);
  • target user categories (residents, recent visitors, travelers);
  • age and gender.

After filling out all the data, proceed to a more detailed configuration. It comprises interests and behaviors. The "View" button serves as a helper showing the list of possible options. Also, after including the data, the "Recommendations" button will add related interests.

Upon completing this stage, click on the "Languages" section and select your TA’s most frequently used languages.

Apart from that, you can set additional parameters for your ad. Click on the respective button and choose the "Connections" block. You will see the list of users who have ever had experience with a Facebook business page.

A correct setup of Instagram ads also draws special attention to the "Audience Size" section. If the arrow is in the green space – you have gained enough audience. In case of deviations to the right or left, you need to review your settings and change them for the best result.

After completing all the steps, click on the "Save this Audience" button. You will have a full-fledged configuration within your arm’s reach, which will let you use this setup in the future without doing the work all over again. You will find this configuration in the "Use saved audience" section.

Aside from that, pay close attention to Ads Manager, precisely its option of collecting a user audience, in other words, profile views. You need a Facebook pixel to activate this option.

In addition, the system offers to find people who resemble your user audience in several parameters. Simply select "Similar audience," specify the region and the percentage of similarity. The higher the percentage, the more similar the audience will be.

4. Selecting a placement for an ad

In Ads Manager, choose Instagram as the main app for placing ads. To do this, click on "Edit placements" and leave a checkmark opposite "Instagram."

Suppose you aim to increase the number of direct messages. In that case, specify Instagram Direct in the "Landing Page" section.

5. The "Optimization and display" option

Leave this option unchanged if you don’t know its functions.

6. Creating ads on Instagram

To finally launch an ad, first, create a new post or choose an existing one.

Three ad formats are available on Instagram: "Carousel," "Single Image or Video," and "Collection."

Single Image

Using a Single Image mode lets you add up to 6 ads (images and videos). All you need to do is select a picture, add text, and pick a CTA (call to action). Most importantly, don't forget about UTM tags if you plan to check traffic from the app to your page.


Carousel lets users upload up to ten images or videos. However, its functions are currently limited. The system will tell you what requirements the uploaded files must meet in any case.


It appeared on Instagram quite recently, and this format lets you get acquainted with the products and place an order without leaving the app. Upon tapping on the screen, the product card opens.

Select the ad template and attach the product catalog. If you don’t have the product catalog yet, go to Catalog Manager and create one. After that, write the product’s description, attach links, and tap on the"Confirm" button.

7. Format selection: photo, video, gallery

The seventh step is pretty intuitive. Choose one of the three creative formats: a photo, a video clip, or Carousel.

8. Upload the necessary files

Once you choose the creative format, add your images or videos to the ad. The official Facebook manual contains all details and requirements, so don't hesitate to check it before starting an ad campaign.

Connecting payment methods

Concerning paying for advertising, credit card or PayPal wallet are the two best options. Facebook will withdraw funds automatically once the campaign starts. Experts recommend using a separate bank account for this purpose. Besides, remember to add your ITIN since Facebook pays VAT from each transaction.

There you have it! The ad is ready, and it will have a pending status until the moderators review and confirm it. When they approve it, you will receive a corresponding notification.

Remember to get familiar with Facebook's advertising policies and the list of prohibited content in advance. Also, be honest about your services or products and don't try to deceive clients. Otherwise, restoring the reputation will take you plenty of time.


Time to wrap that up:

  1. Instagram enables users to customize ads, but the possibilities of such targeting are restricted.
  2. We recommend setting up a target using Ads Manager and creating separate ads for products for the feed and stories. This will make your campaign effective and less expensive, although it might be more time-consuming.
  3. Don’t forget that "one ad group — one target audience."
  4. Customization covers more potential customers.
  5. To pay for ads, use a separate bank account or PayPal wallet.
  6. To track the effectiveness of advertising, do not forget to put UTM tags on external links.


  • I can't save the created audience when setting up ads. What should I do?
  • There may be internal Facebook bugs. Please try another browser. content 1.

  • How do I set up ads in stories so that they lead to Instagram instead of the browser?
  • On your smartphone, log in to your Instagram account and copy the URL.

  • Is it possible to create a chatbot for advertising?
  • Creating a chatbot is not necessary because Instagram has a “quick reply” function.

  • Do ads disappear in stories after 24 hours?
  • They don’t disappear. You can set the duration and frequency of your ads.