There are two routes for creating Instagram ads campaigns: promoting a post and Ads Manager. Promoting an existing post only takes a few taps and can be done right from the Instagram app, but lacks the customization options available in Ads Manager.

Below, we’ll walk you through both methods.

Instagram advertising method 1: Promoting a post in-app

The easiest way to start advertising on Instagram is to promote one of your existing Instagram posts. This is similar to Facebook’s Boost Post option.

If you have a post that’s performing well in terms of engagement, promoting it within the app is a quick and easy method to scale up the post’s success—and show it to new people who aren’t following you yet.

You’ll need to have a business or creator account on Instagram to do this. You’ll also need to have a Facebook Business Page connected to your Instagram account (here’s how to connect your Facebook and Instagram accounts in Facebook Business Manager).

Then, it’s as simple as clicking Promote on the post you wish to turn into an ad.

You’ll be prompted to choose your preferred audience, destination, budget, and duration for your ad to run.

Finally, tap Create Promotion.

That’s it! Your ad will be reviewed and approved by Facebook. Once it goes live, be sure to monitor the results of your ad in the Promotions tab of your Instagram profile.

Instagram advertising method 2: Creating Instagram ads using Facebook Ads Manager (5-step guide)

In order to get the most out of Instagram’s extensive ad targeting, creative, and reporting abilities, you can use Facebook Ads Manager to create ad campaigns (remember that Facebook owns Instagram).

Although it requires a bit more work, our 5-step guide will guide you through the process.

Step 1: Choose your objective

To start, go to Ads Manager and click +Create.

First, you’ll need to choose your campaign objective from the list below.

Here’s a quick breakdown of what each of these objectives aims to achieve.

  • Brand awareness: Increase awareness of your business or products among users who haven’t heard of you yet.
  • Reach: Show your ad to as many people as possible in your target audience.
  • Traffic: Drive clicks to your website, app, or any other URL.
  • App installs: Get users to download your app.
  • Engagement: Increase comments, likes, shares, event responses, and offer claims on your ad.
  • Video views: Get video views from users most likely to watch it.
  • Lead generation: Gather personal info from interested users (i.e. email signups).
  • Messages: Get users to send a message to your brand account.
  • Conversions: Drive sales or sign-up conversions on your website or app.
  • Catalog sales: Promote sales from your online store catalog.
  • Store traffic: Direct users to your brick-and-mortar location.

This video can help identify your objective:

After selecting your objective, you’ll be prompted to name your campaign. Tip: Give it a specific name based on the campaign objective to help you keep track of your campaigns.

Finally, you’ll have the option to turn on Campaign Budget Optimization. This option allows Facebook’s algorithm to determine how to spend your budget across ad sets. AdEpresso has a full guide about if you should use Campaign Budget Optimization.

Step 2: Choose your budget and schedule

In this step, you’ll choose how much you want to spend and how long your campaign will run.

For your budget, you’ll have two options:

  • Daily budget: Set a maximum daily spend, useful for always-on ads
  • Lifetime budget: Set a maximum spend for your whole campaign, useful for ads with a clear end date

Under Ad Scheduling you can choose to run ads continuously (most common), or only at certain times of day (for example, if you’re a food delivery company and only want to run ads in the evening when your audience is most likely to place delivery orders).

As you adjust these options, you’ll see the Audience Definition and Estimated Daily Results modules in the right-hand column which will give you an idea of expected reach for your chosen budget. Try to choose settings so that your ad set falls in the middle of the green range.

Step 3: Identify your audience

The next step is to define your audience targeting. In this step you can either Create a New Audience or use a Saved Audience.

Saved Audiences are useful if you have your own custom audience data (i.e. past website visitors) or past audiences from previous campaigns that performed well. If not, you can create a new audience based on demographics, interests, and behavioral targeting.

During this step, you can also select Dynamic Creative. If you choose this option, you can upload separate visual assets and headlines, and Facebook will automatically create combinations that are optimized for your target audience.

Step 4: Select your ad placements

In the Placements section, you can decide where your ads will appear.

There are two options:

  • Automatic Placements: Ads will be shown to your audience wherever they’re likely to perform best.
  • Manual Placements: You can choose specifically where your ad will appear (and not appear). If you want to limit your ads to show only on Instagram (not Facebook), you can choose this using Manual Placements.

Here’s where you can select your manual placements:

While previewing placements, Ads Manager will display the technical requirements for each one. To ensure your visual assets are optimized for each format, see our guide to social media image sizes.

Step 5: Create your ads

Now it’s time to create the actual ad. Start by choosing your Facebook Page and corresponding Instagram Account. Then you can select your preferred ad format.

Then, proceed to fill out the rest of the details under Ad Creative:

  1. Choose your pictures or videos (unless you’re using an existing post)
  2. Input your ad copy
  3. Select a payment option
  4. Review your ad
  5. Click Confirm

At this step you will also choose the call-to-action button and enter the URL where you want to send people who click on your ad.

If you want to track conversions from your ad, it’s important to select the Facebook Pixel in the Tracking section. Once connected to your website or app, your Facebook pixel will allow you to see insights about how your audience interacts with your business after clicking on your ad.

When you’re ready, click Confirm to launch your Instagram ad.