How To Make Instagram Ads: The Complete Guide for 2022

Instagram is much more than a vanity platform: it’s one of the best places to advertise! Learn how to make Instagram ads with the latest tips, data & specs!

Social media design
August 4, 2023

Table of Contents

If you have an audience between the ages of 25 and 50 there’s no better social media channel to advertise on than Instagram. Learn how to make Instagram ads that convert, with all the latest specifications, data, and ad examples to get inspired by!

Instagram is the 4th most popular social media platform with a whopping 2 billion users. Over 200 million businesses advertising on Instagram and, more importantly, 44% of users shop on Instagram weekly.

So, if you’re yet to refine your Instagram ads, now is the time. Learn everything you need to know about how to make Instagram ads. Here’s what you’ll learn:

  • How to make Instagram ads step-by-step
  • The different types of Instagram ads, with specs
  • How to make a good Instagram ad
  • Instagram ad cost

How to make Instagram ads?

Before we dive into the specifics and questions like how to make Instagram story ads, let’s go through the basics of creating an Instagram ad campaign.

1. Set up a business account

If you’ve set up an Instagram profile for your business, but haven’t switched it into a business account, this is the first step before launching your ad campaign.

Here’s what you need to do:

  • Go to your profile and tap the menu bar in the upper right corner.
  • Tap Settings. (For some accounts, the Switch to professional account option will be listed directly under Settings)
  • Tap Account, and then Switch to professional account.
  • Tap Continue.
  • Select a Category for your business and tap Done.
  • Tap OK to confirm.
  • Tap Business.
  • Tap Next.
  • Add contact details and tap Next. Or tap Don’t use my contact info to skip this step.

Now you have a professional account on Instagram. You can also add an Instagram business category. There is a huge list of business categories to choose from, so you’ll likely find one that best suits your business.

2. Connect your Instagram account to Meta Ads Manager

As you probably know, Instagram doesn’t have its own professional ads management platform. Instead, you run Instagram ad campaigns through Meta Ads Manager (formerly Facebook).

Here’s what you need to do:

  • Go to Business settings (Meta Business Manager)
  • Click Accounts.
  • Click Instagram accounts.
  • Click the blue Add button.
  • Click Connect your Instagram account
  • Enter your Instagram username and password. (You may receive a security code to the email or phone number associated with the account to verify your identity).
  • You’ll have the option to select the ad accounts and Pages you’d like to assign on the next screen. Click Finish. You can also click the X to skip this step.

And that’s it! You’re now ready to do it, so let’s learn how to create an ad campaign for Instagram!

3. Create an Instagram ad campaign

Here’s a quick step-by-step on how to make Instagram ads campaigns.

  • Go to Meta Ads Manager and select Create
  • Choose an objective that supports Instagram as a placement. These are Awareness, Leads, Traffic, Engagement, App Promotion & Sales. Note that you can create Shopping ads only with the Sales, Leads & Traffic objectives.
  • Fill in the details of your ad set, same as you would for a Facebook ad. This means your audience, budget, and placement.
  • In the placement section, you can choose Manual placements and select Instagram. You can also deselect other placements, including Facebook if you want to run your ads on Instagram only.
  • Click continue and start making your ad creative. You can add images or videos, or select an existing Instagram post to promote.

Once done you can click Publish and wait for your ad to be approved so it appears live. You can get all the data and insights about your ad campaign through Ads Manager. Alternatively, you can also check this and manage your ads through the Ad tools on your Professional Dashboard on Instagram.

The most important types of Instagram ads in 2022

Before you know how to make a solid Instagram ad, you need to know what types of ads are available to you. Here are some of the most popular Instagram ad formats.

Single image ads

The use of single-image ads on Instagram is both challenging and rewarding. Instagram is a visual platform which means image ads will appear more organic than on other platforms. And since native ads are said to have 9 times higher click-through rates than display ads, a similar logic might apply to social media advertising.

However, due to the sheer volume of images users encounter on Instagram, you need to put extra effort into a single visual since only high-quality graphics will get serial scrollers to pause.

Here are the single-image ad specs:

  • Recommended resolution: 1080×1080
  • Recommended aspect ratio: 1:1, other aspect ratios may be masked.
  • All file formats should be either JPG or PNG.
  • All image files are 30MB max.
  • Primary text: 125 characters
  • Headline: 40 characters
  • Maximum number of hashtags: 30

Here’s one of many terrific Instagram ad examples to learn from. Although trendy-looking plates have been one of Instagram’s staples for a long time, some advertisers still manage to make this type of visual exciting.

With a vibrant background and a powerful incentive (discount code), even the most jaded of plate Instagrammers are bound to pause and look at this ad.

Carousel ads

Carousels are a collection of 2-10 images or videos. According to a recent study conducted by Socialinsider and Sked Social, carousel ads bring the highest engagement rates for small profiles (under 5k followers) and large accounts (over 100k followers).

This makes a lot of sense. A carousel allows you the most space to tell your brand story or promote different products. If you’re just starting out, a carousel ad will help enhance brand awareness and boost your follower count.

If you already have a considerable social media presence, this is the perfect way to showcase all of your products and everything you’ve been up to.

Here are the carousel ad specs for images:

  • Recommended resolution: 1080 x 1080 pixels.
  • Aspect ratio: 1:1.
  • JPG or PNG format
  • Max image size is 30MB per image/card.

And these are the video specs for carousel ads:

  • Minimum resolution: 600 x 600 pixels.
  • Maximum resolution: 1080 x 1080 pixels.
  • Aspect ratio is 1:1.
  • All formats should be MP4.
  • Max video size is 4GB per video/card.
  • Max video length is 60 seconds.

So, how about an example? There’s no better way to go than a carousel ad when you have several products to showcase. However, a simple product shot can sometimes seem lazy.

Here’s a beautiful example that makes you feel like you’ve stepped into a fairytale. Although they are very cohesive, the photos certainly don’t look the same and have an exciting dynamic to them that encourages you to keep scrolling through.

Video ads

You may have heard that video advertising is all the rage now. Close to 93% of brands claim they have gotten new customers because of a video posted on social media.

Videos have been a part of Instagram for almost 10 years. However, with the rise of TikTok, Instagram has made a drastic shift toward promoting video content.

Reels, which are short Instagram videos with different templates (audio, filters, images, etc.) and editing tools available, are Instagram’s direct response to the growing popularity of TikTok’s short video format.

In 2022, Instagram got rid of previous video formats (video, IGTV) and turned all videos into Reels.

Reels offer a lot of information for the Instagram algorithm (including audio, visuals, hashtags, and time spent viewing a reel), so it’s a really helpful way to determine what type of content a user likes. There’s also a separate Explore section just for Reels, so although no one can tell you for sure that the Instagram algorithm favors reels over single-image posts, there’s a lot of evidence to suggest that video content is Instagram’s top priority at the moment.

So, how to make a superb Instagram video ad? Here are the specs:

  • Recommended resolution: 1080×1080 pixels.
  • Aspect ratio: 9:16.
  • All formats should be either MP4 or MOV.
  • Maximum duration 2 minutes.
  • Max video size is 4MB.
  • Video sound and captions are optional but highly recommended

Story ads

How to make Instagram story ads that convert is one of the main concerns for many marketers. Instagram stories have increased the overall time spent on Instagram to an average of 28 minutes. Another interesting statistic from Omnicore Agency suggests that 58% of customers have purchased a product after seeing it on an Instagram story.

Here’s how to make Instagram story ads with the right dimensions:

  • Recommended resolution: 1080x1080pixels
  • Aspect ratio: 9:16
  • File format for images: JPG or PNG
  • Max image size is 30MB
  • File format for videos: MP4 or MOV
  • Maximum duration for videos is 2 minutes.
  • Max video size is 4MB.
  • Video sound and captions are optional but highly recommended

A great example of story ads to learn from is Netflix. Many of their story ads feature clips from popular films and TV shows, so it’s no wonder they’re fun and engaging (leave it up to professional filmmakers to create top-notch social media content, right?).

However, here’s another much less ambitious Instagram story ad that follows the same principle. It still tells a story, without having to rely on show content. It’s minimalist, yet incredibly engaging and exciting, all neatly packed into the short story ad format!

Shopping ads

According to a survey by Instagram 44% of people use the platform to shop weekly. Another report says 72% of shoppers make purchase decisions based on the brand’s Instagram content.

So, there’s a strong connection between advertising on Instagram and increasing your sales. Shopping ads are therefore one of the most useful Instagram tactics you can adopt.

These ads allow people to make direct purchases on the platform. By tapping on the video or image in a shopping ad, users can see details about a product including price, description, content, etc.

The size specs are the same as for image and/or video ads.

Although a lot of people use the platform to research products and shop, remember that’s hardly ever Instagram’s primary purpose. So, the best way to create effective Instagram shopping ads is to place your products in context.

This example from Delonghi could work just as well as a simple inspiration post. However, once the beautiful kitchen interior catches your attention, you also have the opportunity to check out the fancy coffee machine you’ve been wanting to buy.

How to make a good Instagram ad?

Good Instagram advertising might sound daunting, given everything you should keep in mind. However, there are a few pointers to help you create the most effective ad.

Be clear on your ad’s objective

Clear messaging is one of the most important parts of any advertising campaign. If it’s a limited-time offer, for example, make sure the ad has the information on the deadline.

The best ad campaigns have distinct aesthetics and names. That way it’s easier to coordinate different pieces of advertising. It also helps you create a stronger brand.

Follow the best practices for ad design

It pays to learn about the best practices in Instagram advertising. For example, if you’re making a story ad, make sure it’s portrait-formatted. Here’s another quick refresher on Instagram ad specs.

Try to tell a story with your visuals, and attempt to create an emotional response. People are used to stunning visuals, so you need to pair them with a powerful message. Equally, don’t overlook the power of visual storytelling, on this totally visual platform.

Motion elements are another great way to grab the users’ attention. Gifs and moving stickers can be an amazing addition to a story ad.

Another helpful hack is to consider using a carousel post with a call to action or question in the first picture. That way the user is instantly intrigued and it generates even more engagement.

Partner with an influencer

And it doesn’t have to be a Kardashian/Jenner sister either! Partnering up with the right micro-influencer in your industry can also be of great help. Micro-influencers are a great way of getting organic quality engagement. Their audience is smaller, but it has been reported that micro-influencers garner more engagement from your target audience.

Set up a Lookalike Audience

Lookalike Audience is a tool that helps you identify potential customers, based on the contacts of your followers and other users who interact with your page.

Find out how to set up a Lookalike Audience in your Meta Ads Manager here.

Focus on videos

We’ve already suggested that due to its competition with TikTok, video sharing on Instagram is huge right now. In 2021 it was reported that video content has a reach of almost 92% among internet users.

However, most studies show that the most effective video ads are under a minute long. That’s why it’s vital to make the first 2-3 seconds as interesting and attention-grabbing as possible. If you don’t have fancy video shooting and editing equipment, motion graphics can be an awesome substitute!

Instagram ad cost

The cost of Instagram ads depends on several factors including:

  • The size of your audience
  • The bidding model (cost-per-click (CPC) or cost-per-impression (CPM))
  • The demographic of your target audience (e.g. women are more active than men on Instagram, so CPCs will be higher for female audience)
  • Your location and industry

But with all of that in mind, what’s a reasonable Instagram ad cost you should be paying? According to AdEspresso, the average cost-per-click on Instagram is $0.80. Wordstream suggests a range between $0.40 to $.095.

So, anywhere between $0.50 and $1 per click is a reasonable Instagram ad cost.

Since Instagram has the highest engagement rate of all social media platforms, it makes sense that the overall cost of ad Instagram ad campaigns will be higher.

Again, when determining your budget, it’s important to consider who your audience is and what is the objective of your campaign. If you want to reach a lot of people, Instagram is definitely a great platform to do that.

However, bear in mind that Instagram is most popular with people of a specific age group, and delivers the best results with audiences between 25 and 29 years old.


Keeping on top of your Instagram advertising will be vital in 2023, so make sure you know how to make your ads campaigns a success!

For more tips and information on Instagram, feel free to check out our article on how to make quality branded content for Instagram and our list of brands with the best social media.

If you want to really get your social media to a whole new level, we also have a comprehensive social media guide for you to grab! Ideas, tips, and data for 2023!

Lastly, you can find out more about unlimited social media design service, and some of the thousands of social media posts and ads we’ve created for our clients. If you need social graphics, we can handle it! Book a free demo call to find out more.

I hold two degrees in history, and am currently working on a project of creating a digital library of Medieval manuscripts. I still like to have a foot in the 21st century though, so I write freelance about my other big passion, art and design. All Lord of the Rings references and puns I make are intentional.

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