Why market on Ins? The ultimate Instagram advertising strategy guide!

If you have a certain budget allocated for social media advertising, you must be familiar with setting up an Instagram ads campaign. As a matter of fact, Instagram ads have the potential to reach nearly 850 million users, whereas over 200 million Instagrammers visit at least one Business Profile per day.

Hoping to get the most out of Instagram advertising? Here are some secret hacks you should seriously take into consideration.

What is Instagram advertising?

It is hard to find any businesses who haven’t considered advertising on Instagram, for we all know how Instagram has grown, and probably will be growing in the coming years. According to Statista, in 2019, nearly 815 million users accessed Instagram on a monthly basis, this figure is projected to reach 1.2 billion in 2023  and, particularly dominant in the 18-34 age group.

With the introduction of features like Stories, people are spending more time, and probably money, on Instagram, around 500 millions accounts view stories every day, while 90 million tap on the product tag each month, these figures reflect how Instagram has changed the rule of game – from a photo sharing platform, gradually evolving to a market showcase which brands can convert their views to actual sales.


Photo by Lisa from Pexels

Why advertise on Instagram?

Apart from the ever-increasing Instagram community, brands love Instagram for some more reasons, to name a few:

1. Ease of ad placement

If you’re already a user of Facebook Ads manager, placing an Instagram ad is like a no-brainer as they are already integrated into one platform. With this you can easily plan your holistic social media strategy, allocate your budget and contents across different platforms. You will also be able to compare different ad performance at a quick glance and make changes accordingly.

2. Higher engagement rate

According to Totpo, in 2018 people are 58 times more likely to engage with branded content on Instagram than on Facebook, and 120 times compared with Twitter. Although the overall engagement rate on Instagram has decreased recently as a result of a greater competition, when compared to other platforms, Instagram is still the engagement king.

New to Instagram? Check out our Instagram Marketing starter kit to grab the essence of it!

Types of Instagram ads

Instagram ads come in many different forms.

1. Photo ad

The most classic type of ad. An instagram photo ad looks like a post from any account that you are already following, except the word ‘ Sponsored’  in the corner to indicate it’s a paid ad.

2. Carousel Ads

Commonly used by brands or shops who want to showcase a collection of products. You can create a series of up to 10 photos or videos in one ad, with each photo directing to a specific URL or location.

3. Video ads

Appear along with Instagram feeds, ranging from seconds in lengths or as long as sixty minutes.

4. Branded creator ads

Instagram finds out 68% of their users come to the platform to interact with creators, branded content ads are created for businesses to tell their brand stories through the voices of creators. Users will see the word “Paid partnership with” along with the brand name on these branded posts.

5. Instagram shop and product tag

For brands who have activated the Instagram shop function, shopping links and product tags can be added to photos, allowing viewers to click to the products directly to learn more details.  This is a good conversion tool for ecommerce purchase.

6. Stories

With a daily user of  500 million people, Stories is an effective environment to place ads as viewers actively scroll the stories of the accounts they follow. Interactive features that exist only in Stories have also made it the ideal place to encourage engagement.  


Similar to video ads on YouTube channels, IGTV ads appear when a user clicks to watch an IGTV video from the preview button in their feeds, with a duration of up to 15 seconds.

8. Reel ad

A new form of ad introduced in June 2021, recommended by Instagram as the best place to reach people who don’t follow you.  Reels ads are full screen and vertical, looping up to 30 seconds, and appear in between individual Reels.

reel ad

Photo by Cristian Dina from Pexels

Which form of Instagram advertising suits you the best?

From the above we can see how Instagram has provided options to cater different advertising needs. The tough part is, as advertisers, how do we find out the best form of advertising that suits my purpose? Below are some points that you may consider:

1. Know your goal

What do you want to achieve from this ad? Awareness? Website traffic? Conversion? Depending on your objectives, you can make a choice, for example, if you have a good video, IGTV and Reels can give it a strong boost, while shop and carousel ads will be most effective if you want to drive ecommerce conversion.

2. Identify your target audience

Stories ads are the new trend and widely used by skincare and fashion brands, but what works for them might not work for you. Who are your target audience? What are their social media behaviours? How do they use Instagram? Do they tend to scroll feeds instead of watching videos? Create the ad for your target audience, not for following the trend. Find out the type of ad that matches their preferences.

3. Learn from your past performance

You might have spent a lot of time reading books and videos to find out the best type of content and ad, yet nothing compared to ‘consulting’ your own performance history. What type of content gave you the best performance? How did people respond to your stories? Organic views don’t lie, trust them to provide insights for your ad strategies.

See how the dashboard function of SleekFlow helped Weirdo Beauty Salon to monitor and organize their customer inquiries.

How much does Instagram advertising cost?

That’s a question for every Ceo and marketer. To give a general idea on the advertising cost on Instagram, cost per click (CPC) for Instagram ads ranges from USD $0.20 to $2, and cost per impression (CPM)  is around  USD$5 per 1000 impressions.

But as you start placing ads on Instagram, the actual costs might be quite different from what mentioned above, there are a few factors causing such differences.

1. Bid amount

Instagram ads work like Facebook ads,  your bid amount affects how much you spend on an ad campaign. You have to decide how much you are willing to pay to outbid the others.

By bidding it means competition. Brands who target a niche audience might find their CPC lower as the competition is less keen. In general ads that target men are cheaper than those which target women.

2. Ad relevancy score

Instagram cares about engagement, they want to deliver contents and ads that are relevant to their users. Based on the number of likes and comments they compile an “Ad Relevancy Score". If people responded positively to your ad, your ad is likely to get a higher score and be delivered to more people. On the other hand, if people report or hide your ad, it will affect your ad performance.  

3. Estimated action rates

Instagram values conversion as much as you do. If you are advertising a product, make sure to include paths that link to your products.

If Instagram thinks people are likely to interact with your ad, they will deliver the ad to more people and result in a lower ad cost.


Photo by Brett Jordan from Pexels

Set up the right KPI for your instagram advertising campaign

Just like every other business activity, KPI is inevitable. Setting up a right goal for your team and the corresponding measurement metrics ensure the marketing effort is on track. The table below briefly illustrates the logic between marketing funnel, your final goal and how to measure. It is hard to start thinking from scratch. Before setting up the right KPI for a specific campaign, developing ideas from the current marketing funnel can be a way out.  

Marketing funnelKPI-Final goalMetrics-How to measure if the goal is achieved
Branding and AwarenessTo create market noiseImpression Growth Rate Account Reach Growth Rate
ConsiderationGain more knowledge about your productEngagement growth rate: The engagement can be no. of likes, comments, shares and save. For videos, it should be the no. of view and view time. The engagement rate could be total number of engagement/ followers total number of engagement/ post reached
ConversionQualified leads No. of events triggered e.g. sign up/ filled the contact form

If you don’t measure, you will never know your progress. It is important to track those metrics in an organized way. An all-in-one marketing platform such as HubspotSleekFlow can ease your pain in tracking multi-platform.

How to set up an Instagram ad?

Try setting up an Instagram ad! It’s easier than you’ve imagined.

1. Go to Facebook’s Ad Manager

Instagram doesn’t have an individual ad manager, navigate to Facebook Ad Manager to start running your campaign.

2. Choose Your Marketing Objective

There are already many objectives listed in the Ad center, most of them are self-explanatory,  what you have to do is to decide which best suits your purpose. After you’ve made your choice, you will be prompted to provide relevant information, for example, if website traffic is what you’re looking for, you will be asked to enter the URL of your website.

3. Set your Target Audience

This includes location, age, gender, language and demographics. Under demographics, you will see ‘detailed targeting’ which you can input the interests and behaviours of your target audience.

Once you’ve configured your audience, Ad Center will show you an estimation of audience size and potential reach, this is an important reference because neither too big or too specific is good for a campaign.

4. Choose your placement

By default Facebook delivers your ad to both Facebook and Instagram, if you want your ad to show on only Instagram, choose edit placements and click the options for Instagram.

5. Set your budget and schedule

Facebook will automatically suggest a budget and schedule for you, but you can always do it manually. Don’t worry if you think you haven’t made the right decision, you can pause your campaign anytime.

6. Create your ad

There are technical requirements for each type of ad, be sure to observe them because editing and reviewing can take a lot of time. You may refer to the Facebook ads guide for the most updated requirement.

Best practices of Instagram advertising

Check out the following tips to create an Instagram ad like a pro!

1. Include motion in Stories ad

Facebook reports that ads that use motion perform better. Compared with static photos, motion captivates attention better and attracts engagement. Be creative and add motions to your Stories ad.

Wanna create rich ads visuals? Here are some video marketing tips for you.

2. Include text to emphasize your message

People don’t always turn their sound on, so even if you’re creating a video or motion ad, remember to insert texts that help you tell the story and call to action.

3. For photo ad

If you have ever wondered whether Instagram users prefer a certain style, a study from Curalate confirms there is one! In general, images with a single dominant colour, bluish tints, lower saturation and lots of visual texture are more likely to get engagements on Instagram. Not bad taking this as your visual reference.

Unlock extended features such as auto reply with a social messaging CRM platform

Features like dm auto reply (see below) and promocode tracking could be easily set up with SleekFlow CRM platform. Making use of Instagram Business API, SleekFlow integrates with it so that you can manage your Instagram Inbox on our SleekFlow platform.

A practical example can be an advertising campaign aimed to trigger people to DM you with the promo code, you can set an automation rule of labelling those specific DMs with that promo code. At the moment the potential clients send you a promo code, their conversations are labelled on SleekFlow platform for later remarketing or measuring the campaign success.  

See the example of how our happy customer, Afterschool (an up-and-coming education online platform) leveraged SleekFlow to engage with Gen-Zs.

Want to take it further?

Read Instagram Marketing starter kit for more IG marketing tips. Or speak with our representatives and see how SleekFlow can up your Instagram game.

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