How to set up Instagram ads?

It has long been known that well-tuned social media advertising can generate good income for a business. With its help, you can implement a full-fledged sales funnel – from acquaintance with the brand to warm-up to purchase. Instructions on how to set up ads on Instagram are in this article.

Everyone remembers that Instagram has been owned by Facebook since the distant 2012. Therefore, setting up ads takes place in the Ads Manager of Facebook and is impossible without creating a business page. A detailed description of how and for what, is at this link.

Although no, there is an option for setting up ads directly from the Instagram application, but the functionality is significantly limited there. And, in any case, you need a business account.

How to start setting up ads?

After creating your business account, check your payment settings. The card needs to be linked. And immediately an important point – you need to monitor the limits of advertising campaigns, since without them ad impressions will not stop, even if you have 0 on your card. Just during the billing period, Facebook will invoice the specified amount and you will have to pay.

Next, let’s move away from the technical side and turn to strategy. Yes, we do not recommend setting up ads without understanding for what purpose you need it. In addition, the advertising office will ask you about this in the very first setting.

Therefore, analyze the current state of affairs, think over an advertising strategy and desired indicators. There is no need to just launch a promo, because it often leads to a drain on the budget.

For example, your goal is to get sales from Instagram. This means that you need to think in advance where potential customers will be sent – to the site, lead form, to instant messengers.


You also need to prepare texts and other promotional materials. Let’s say right away that it is worth testing different formats. Anything can shoot – a regular post, story, carousel or video. It is also better to prepare several texts, with different approaches and advantages.

Well, it’s worth considering in advance who you will show your ads to. Write down several target audiences who are definitely interested in the product, and who will probably be. Let’s say you have a healthy food delivery website. It can be of interest to athletes, young mothers, and environmentalists.

Creation of an advertising campaign

We figured out the strategy, open an advertising office and create a new advertising campaign.

Target selection

Next, a window opens where we just need to decide on its purpose. This is necessary so that the algorithm understands what you need and optimizes ad impressions for users who meet the required parameters.

For the purpose of “conversion”, the advertising algorithm will look for people who are more likely to take some action on your site – buy or leave payment information. “Traffic” will help you find people who are more willing to go to the site, messenger, etc.

You can also choose the goal “lead generation”. Then you will be able to create forms where customers will leave their data – phone, mail, etc. This is a great way to collect a database, and also useful when a complex product and you need to communicate with a manager before buying.

You can read more about all options in the help. Marked in the picture where to look for it.

Title and budget

After choosing a goal, we go down below and name the campaign. We advise you to reflect the type of goal in the title, some defining information (name of the promotion, type of product, etc.). For example – wedding_events_lead, the names of the advertising of an event agency to search for orders for organizing a wedding.

And here we immediately determine the budget of the campaign, you can set it as a daily or for the entire duration.

Create an ad group

Well, now we got to the main thing. In this part, you need to set the parameters by which ads will be displayed and create the ads themselves.

First, we also write the name of the group. Here we advise you to write the date of creation and the audience to whom you will show.

If you selected conversion as your ad target, you will also need to choose which action counts as a conversion. For example, “submitting an application”, “lead”, etc.

Also, in some cases, you need to choose where a person will go when they click on an ad – to a website, an application, a messenger, etc.

Setting up audiences

So, here we need to choose the geolocation of the potential target audience, age, gender, language and circle of interests. Or, there is an option to take advantage of a custom audience. More on this later.

The country and age are simple, so let’s talk about detailed targeting. This is a setting that allows you to find an audience by interest. There are a huge number of them on Facebook, from broad types of “amateur sports” to “Ironman 70.3” (triathlon competition).

There may be several interests in one setting, but not too many is better. You can also cross interests. For example, we want to find those who can afford to buy a yacht. It can be someone who is fond of yachting and golf. Since both sports are characteristic of people with income. The “Recommendations” button will help you to find close interests.


Now we select the places where the ad will be displayed. Since Ads Manager immediately combines options for Instagram and Facebook. We select “manual seat selection” and mark the options we need.

There will be an additional menu under the seat options. There you can set on which devices we want to display ads. Usually everyone chooses, but sometimes you can segment. For example, it will be relevant for advertising an application that is available only for iPhone.

Also, this setting can help to highlight a paying audience. Since they tend to buy themselves the latest phone models.

Cost optimization

The last step of this level is setting the ad display time and limits (if you have not set them earlier).

Here you can choose when to end and start showing your ads. Relevant for limited-time promotions. You can also set a spending limit.

Setting up your ad
That’s it, we’re at the finish line – we create an ad. According to the classics, we write the name, by the way, it is better to add a format or placement (carousel, story, etc.) to it.

We choose from which page the ad will be displayed and select the format.

You can choose one image or video, or a carousel with several. Everything is relevant both for the feed and for the stories. And immediately a tip: test all the options and remember that the text in the picture should not take more than 20%.

Also, for advertising, you can select an existing publication or the one that you previously made in the “creative center”. This is a library for creating advertising layouts in a Facebook business manager. The thing is convenient to consult with colleagues or a customer.

Below we add one or more pictures, insert text and set the parameters of the button. This allows you to select a word as the call to action. For example, “more”, “download”, “contact us” and so on.

In the field “URL for additional information” put a link where our button will lead. To the site, to the messenger, etc. An important point: immediately put a link here with a UTM tag. Without it, you won’t be able to properly analyze ad performance.

Custom audiences, pixel and look a like
As promised, we are separately talking about individually configured. This is a great function of the FB advertising cabinet, which allows you to do almost any tricks with retargeting – to squeeze out site visitors, find a similar audience, etc.

All this happens in a special section “audience”. By the way, in it you can pre-configure and save audiences with the same interests. And during the ad creation process, simply select “use saved audiences”.

So, we have several options to create an audience. But the most commonly used are “custom” and “similar”. In the first case, you can generally download any base of potential customers and continue to warm them up with advertising. For example, you participated in a fair and handed out stickers for free for mail / phone number. Now the base with contacts can be uploaded to the fb.

But the best part is that you can set up a great “look a like” thing (just a similar audience). Then the Facebook algorithm will find a new audience that is most similar to your customers. According to many targeting experts, this setting is the best they could think of for advertising.


Well, it’s time to mention the pixel. Because if you advertise on a site, without a pixel, work does not make sense at all. It makes it possible to collect the audience of one or different pages of the site in order to then show it ads, or also make an audience similar to visitors. It also uses a pixel to retarget visitors. For example, you advertise on a visit to a site so that customers get to know each other. Then you collect those who are interested (that is, went to the site) and show them an ad with a focus on buying.

You can find a pixel code to give it to programmers or put it on the site yourself in the “Events Manager” section.

Set up what’s next?

Okay, we set up the ad, launched it, what are the next steps? Now you need to wait for the ad algorithm to learn and be able to display ads at a lower price.

In general, advertising on Instagram (and on Facebook) has the following logic – the machine shows ads to random people from the audience you have chosen. Someone is interested and clicks, thanks to which the algorithm receives additional “parameters” for finding new people. And so on, until the circle narrows down to the best results.

Therefore, if after 1-2 days you see that the results are not very good, do not rush to cut everything down and do it again. Give the algorithm a chance and time to think.

In the learning process, look at the results, and then start to gradually reduce the price for the target action. You can also adjust your daily budget.


Last but not least, always use analytics systems to track your results. The most common options are Yandex.Metrica and Google Analytics. Be sure to include UTM tags in all your ads, as they provide more accurate conversion information and you can track the customer journey right through to the purchase.

If you are afraid to get confused, you can create a simple Excel table with the names of the labels and the sequence of their formation. For example, register social networks, types of traffic (banner / story, etc.), names of advertising campaigns, etc. It is also useful if you work with someone or the customer keeps statistics himself.

Let’s summarize

Phew, it’s time to take stock of our conversation. First, don’t go advertising without a strategy! This is often a waste of money and your time. Plus, with a strategy, it’s easier to prepare everything you need for customization – banners, texts, audiences.

Second, don’t do anything without analytics tuned in. Only she will be able to answer the main question – was the advertisement effective. And if you are advertising on a website, put the pixel code on it first.

Third, test different ad formats and audiences. Be sure to give ad algorithms some time to learn. Sometimes it takes up to several weeks. Therefore, the results “here and now” are a bit of a utopian story.

Fourth, remember that ad customization is not a panacea. You need, at a minimum, to have informative content in your account.