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How To Make Instagram Ads: The Complete Guide for 2024

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
May 20, 2024
15
min

Table of Contents

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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

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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.

Also, private profiles cannot be switched to a business account, so turn your private profile into a public one before you switch to a business account.

Open your Instagram app, go to your profile and click on Edit Profile.

You will go through different pages telling you what you can do with an Instagram professional account. Just keep on clicking the Continue button.

Instargam will prompt you to choose what type of a business you run. There is a huge list of business categories to choose from, so you’ll likely find one that best suits your business. Select an Instagram business category for your business and tap Done. 

I recommend you to turn on the toggle saying “Display on profile”. This way, whenever Instagram users land on your profile, they’d know what kind of business you are. This one small tweak can greatly improve your collaborations, leads, and sales.

Confirm that Business is selected in the next window.

In the next window, Instagram will ask you to confirm your business information This will be your contact information. You can review and confirm it by clicking on Next, or click on Don’t use my contact info if you do not want to reveal your contact information on your Instagram profile.

Instagram will prompt you to connect your Instagram business profile to your Facebook page/account. You can do this now or later, but I recommend you do it rightaway as it only takes a few clicks. Click on Continue and log in to your Facebook account/page.

Now you have a professional account on Instagram. 

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 need to use Facebook ads manager, now Meta ads manager, to run ads on Instagram. 

Go to your Meta Business Manager and log in using your Facebook credentials. On the navigation panel, you can find a Gear Icon ⚙️ that says Business Settings. Click on it.

Once the Business Settings open, find the Accounts section and click on Instagram Accounts.

Now, click on Connect Your Instagram Account and log in using the credentials for your Instagram business account. 

You may receive a security code to the email or phone number associated with the account to verify your identity. On the next screen, you'll have the option to select the ad accounts and Pages you'd like to assign. Click Finish. You can also click the X to skip this step.

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 any of the campaign objectives: Awareness, Leads, Traffic, Engagement, App Promotion & Sales

🔔 Note that you can create Shopping ads only with the Sales, Leads & Traffic objectives.

In the placement section, you can choose Manual engagement campaign and click on Continue. This way, you will have more control of your ad placement, custom audiences, and other aspects of your Instagram ads campaign.

Fill in the details of your ad set, same as you would for a Facebook ad. This means your audience, budget, and ad placement.  Don’t forget to define where your audience is based, as well as further details (e.g education, employment, marital status, etc.) that might be relevant to your ads. Also, select what’s the goal you want to achieve out of this ad campaign: conversions, enquiries, visit your landing page/website, etc.

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. 

The most important types of Instagram ads in 2024

Before you know how to make a solid Instagram ad, you need to know what types of ads are available to you. You need to choose an ad type according to your campaign objective as each ad type will yield different results. Here are some of the most popular Instagram ad formats.

Single image ads

Using single-image ads on Instagram is a mix of challenges and rewards. Instagram's visual nature makes these ads appear more natural than on other platforms, possibly leading to higher engagement. Social media post design plays an important role in driving the click-through rates. Instagram is a visual platform, so a lot of images are uploaded on it daily. So, you need high-quality ad graphics to capture the attention of users quickly.

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

It's also a good idea to make sure the ad visual fits your Instagram theme, so that users that decide to visit your profile upon clicking the ad, will immediately feel they're in the right place.

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

Carousel ads are a collection of 2-10 images or videos. They are one of the best ways to create stellar Instagram content that lets you tell your brand story and promote multiple of your products in the same space.

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).

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.

In 2024, Instagram got rid of previous video formats (video, IGTV) and turned all videos into Reels. Afterall, video advertising is all the rage now. Close to 93% of brands claim they have gotten new customers because of a video views on social media.

Instagram, in response to TikTok's influence, has significantly shifted towards promoting video content through Reels. These short videos come with various templates and editing tools that help you understand user preferences based on audio, visuals, hashtags, and viewing time. 

Instagram provides a dedicated Explore section for Reels which clearly suggests that promoting Reels is currently a high priority for Instagram. 

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

  • Recommended resolution: 1080×1080 pixels for square ads/1080x1920 for vertical ads
  • Aspect ratio: 9:16.
  • All formats should be either MP4 or MOV.
  • Maximum duration 60 seconds.
  • Max video size is 4MB.
  • Video sound and captions are optional but highly recommended

Although image ads suit physical products, the best way to advertise software on Instagram is to show it in action. Here’s a wonderful example from the design software granddaddy: Photoshop. 

If you’re in the market for a professional design or photo editing software, an ad like this is sure to grab your attention. 

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.

Explore Ads

The Explore feed on Instagram is a section where users can discover new content based on their interests. It includes a personalized mix of photos and videos from accounts that users may not follow yet but might find interesting.

Explore ads allow businesses to reach users who may not be following their account but have interests related to the products or services offered. Users in the Explore feed are often in a discovery mindset, making it a prime opportunity for brands to capture attention and engage with potential new audiences.

While there may not be a specific format called "Explore ads," as it depends on whether you’re doing a carousel, a single-image, a reel, or a video ad. You can design your ads to perform well within the Explore feed by considering the following:

  • High-Quality Visuals: Use eye-catching images or videos that stand out in a visually rich environment.
  • Relevant Messaging: Craft compelling and relevant captions to encourage users to engage with your content.
  • Clear Call-to-Action (CTA): Include a clear CTA to guide users on the next steps you want them to take.

For example, look how this explore ad is popping out from the rest of the posts, due to its Shop text. 

Collection Ads

Collection ads on Instagram are a format designed to enhance the shopping experience for users. They allow businesses to showcase a combination of images or videos along with product listings. 

Although, collection ads are very similar to Shopping ads, the one major difference is that collection ads lets users shop for the product by clicking on the ad. When users tap on a collection ad, they are taken to an immersive, full-screen mobile experience called the "Instant Experience" (previously known as Canvas). 

This Instant Experience provides a seamless transition from discovery to purchase, allowing users to explore products and make purchases without leaving the app.

For example, look at this collection ad run by Klairs on Instagram. You can use an image, a video, or a carousel, anything works with collection ads. However, I recommend you to do A/B testing and decide on a winning collection ad.

Once you have found what kind of collection ad connects with your audience and is bringing sales, double down on it.

 

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

One thing everyone must understand is that ad designing is different from graphic designing. To get the best results you must 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.

Always prioritise creating compelling ads that resonate with your audience on Instagram. You should combine stunning visuals that grab attention and a strong message that creates impact. Motion graphics like gifs and moving stickers are a great way to captivate users and boost 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

Video sharing on Instagram is thriving, especially in competition with TikTok. In 2021, video content reached nearly 92% of internet users. For effective video ads, aim for under a minute and prioritize captivating the audience in the first 2-3 seconds. Motion graphics can be a great alternative if you lack advanced video equipment.

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.

Conclusion

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 our list of brands with the best social media.

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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