Learning how to advertise on Instagram is not as tough as you may think. Advertising on Instagram is an easy and effective way to grow your digital presence and draw potential customers to your business. With Instagram Ads, you can target posts towards specific demographics that may be interested in your business. If you’re new to the social media advertising world, don’t fret. We’re giving you the cheat sheet for how to advertise on Instagram. 

Create a Business Profile

Step 1, if you haven’t already, is to create a business profile. The best part about this is that it’s easy to do and it’s free. Within your Instagram app, head to your profile and click “Edit Profile,” then scroll down to “Try Instagram Business Tools.”

Once you’ve clicked on this link, fill in the information you want your profile visitors to see. This could include hours, an email address, business address, and/or phone number. Once this information is inputted you can officially convert your regular profile to a business profile. 

Business profiles allow you to do so much more than traditional accounts. It offers metrics on how your posts are performing, insights into your followers and how they interact with your content, and targeting options for promotions. If you’re looking to grow your brand, expand your audience, and bring in new customers, understanding business profile tools and utilizing Instagram advertising will be crucial for success. 

Target the Right Audience with These Growth Hacks

Instagram advertising provides precise targeting options that allow your ads to reach the exact audience you’re looking to pinpoint. Users can be targeted based on a specific location, demographics like age, gender, and language, as well as interests and behaviors. 

Before targeting through Ads Manager, you can use Instagram growth services to target accounts in your niche to help gain a following. Getting more followers, and therefore potential customers is crucial for small business owners. These services implement actions like liking photos of other users in your niche to draw users to your business’ page organically. 

Another way to organically draw followers to your small business is through an effective hashtag strategy. Your thought process behind using hashtags should be would someone search this hashtag if they needed my help, my brand, or my product?  Hashtags are essentially a built-in Instagram search tool. When considering which hashtags to use on your posts, do not use ones with millions of previous uses. Remember the more posts already associated with the hashtag, the less likely your small business’ posts will be seen. 

Pay close attention to the hashtags of your competitors. This is one of the best tools for finding hashtags relevant to the followers you’re looking to attract. In addition to the hashtags they are using, find out which hashtags your followers or people in your niche are following. This information can be found when searching for a hashtag in the explorer search bar. 

Regardless of your method, hashtags have been proven to increase engagement rates. Essentially hashtags get your content in front of people. If you want your small business to get noticed, using hashtags effectively before implementing an ad strategy is the way to go. 

Create Ads

Finally, the step you’ve been waiting to learn, how to advertise on Instagram. Advertisements are an incredibly useful tool to target specific groups of people more strategically than the manual ways discussed above.  When creating Ads for Instagram you can either create them directly on the Instagram app or through Facebook Ads Manager. Ads Manager is a great place to start. 

Start with Ads Manager

Open Ads Manager and select Instagram as a placement for your Ads. If you want the Ad to run on Facebook and Instagram, this is an option as well. Go to Ads Manager, select ‘Create’ and choose an objective that supports Instagram as an ad placement. Next click “Continue” and fill in the details for your ad set. In the “Placements” section select “Instagram.”

If you selected “Automatic placements” the ad will run across a variety of Facebook placements. If you have more than one account linked to your Facebook Business account, double-check you’ve linked the correct Instagram account here. Nothing is worse than running an Ad on the wrong Instagram account. 

Once Instagram is the chosen placement, you can complete your advertisement by adding in details like the identity, format, and related links. These details will be available for preview before submission for review. After the reviewal process, you will be able to view your ad on Instagram. 

Then, Choose Your Target Audience

When it comes to targeting specific groups, Facebook Ads Manager gives you the flexibility to target people in specific locations, demographics, and audience interests. You can also create lookalike audiences or custom audiences, and reach more people depending on your budget. 

For example, say you own a small fitness business in San Diego. You would adjust your location to San Diego county, target the ages and gender you believe will utilize your services, and include working out, fitness, and gyms in the audience interests. Once you’ve created an audience, you can select a lookalike audience that also targets people who are similar to the ones in your original targeted audience. These audiences may take time and trial and error to find the right fit for your small business.  

Understand Different Types of Ads 

We’ve touched on how to create an Ad. But how do you know what type of advertisement is right for your campaign and small business? Below are various forms of advertisements and a break down of why you would want to use each type. 

  • Stories ads – Instagram stories are an incredibly popular feature and a great place to post video ads. Instagram stories are beneficial for engagement and video content. Stories also include question stickers, shoppable tags, and poll features that allow users to interact with your post.  
  • Photo ads – Photo ads are just like they sound, a photo in feed. You can post them in square or landscape format, and they will show up as users scroll through their feed. 
  • Video ads – You can include video ads in story or in your feed. Videos stop users in their tracks, and can sometimes provide more information more quickly than including everything in the copy of the post. 
  • Carousel ads – Carousel Ads allow you to post multiple photos within the same advertisement. This is a great type of ad to include “shop now” and “learn more” links that will direct users to visit your business’ website.  
  • Collection ads – This ad format lets people move from discovery to purchase efficiently. Collection ads feature a primary image or video with four smaller visual pieces of content below it, in a grid-like layout. Customers who tap the ad to browse or learn more will be quickly transitioned to a visual post-click experience without leaving the app. 


Your competitors are utilizing Instagram advertising; your friends and family are shopping through them; you’re even tempted by links directing you to a companies website. Follow this beginner’s guide to how to advertise on Instagram; you’ll be targeting audiences and attracting more customers to your small business in no time.