Tips For Running Instagram Ads [IN PROGRESS]

With hundreds of millions of users, Instagram is a platform worth considering for marketers running ad campaigns. But what should you know before running Instagram ads, and what are the best practices for Instagram ad campaigns? These are the questions I would like to answer in this piece, and we’re currently doing research on what Instagram ads work best, as well as reaching out to marketers who have ran Instagram ads in the past.

If you’ve ran ads on Instagram successfully before, please let us know your story here and we’ll add it to this piece.

Below are all the decent submissions we’ve received so far on how to effectively run Instagram ads + stories from people who have ran Instagram ads before. We will update this page when we have more useful advice to share.

Tips for running ads on instagram:

1. Don't promote via the IG app. Definitely set up through the ads manager so you can do custom and niche audiences, various ad types, and a/b testing.

2. Optimize for conversions if you want ROAS.

3. Look to see if there are add to carts for cold audiences. If not, you're targeting is likely off (even more so than the copy needing updates, unless the creative is really bad) Usually creative can be tested after audiences have been tested if you need to prioritize testing

4. Always retarget! Do re-orders, social engagers, abandoned cart, website visitors, email lists, etc. This is usually your best bet at fast return on ad spend and profits/revenue

5. Customize placements - don't be lazy and let the same creative run on feed and stories. They make it SO easy now to customize this, so take a few extra minutes and do it!

6. It's actually more work to turn OFF all placements and focus just on Instagram. I always suggest letting everything run everywhere and then seeing where your best ROAS come from. It may surprise you!

7. Always use closed captioning if using a video that relies on verbal communication, as almost everyone may miss the message if not

8. Be careful following someone else's proven formula as its usually only proven for themselves.....

I've been running Facebook ads since 2007 - they are my true passion! We run Instagram ads for retail, services, food, honestly everything.

--Emil Zakirov, Petrucci Marketing


I'm the project manager for the advertising and outreach side of our business. We're a Brooklyn based tutoring company, who over the course of the last 18 months have been trying to grow our online presence. We began, unsuccessfully, by trying to just convert customers right away (in the beginning, we were trying to sell college guidance advice) we wasted over $1000 dollars this way. We learned that the best way to convert customers was through a slow drip, we started just advertising our page (@revolution_tutors). We had an ad going that we spent under $200 on and it grew our page by 2000 followers (all active and interacting with our page). That was by far the best investment we made. We're slowly growing out community, and they all eventually check out our website. Many of them have signed up for tutoring as well (each student is worth over $700 to us, and we believe we've got more than a few new students).

Best advice: start slow, test what works before spending big. Make sure your audience is well targeted (our ads in the beginning were being seen by 24 year olds, and we're a HS tutoring company). Don't use look a like audiences if you're just starting out, they're too complicated for smaller ads.

--Sam Beyda, Revolution Tutors


As a social media marketer, I am constantly running ads on instagram for my clients. Instagram ads can bring in a positive ROI as long as you get your targeting and ad copies right. People on instagram are usually on there to be entertained, therefore your ad also must entertain them to get their attention. There form of entertainment differs from target audience to audience and in order to find out what your target market find entertaining, you must do some research and run some test ads. After that, you will be able to optimize your Instagram ads effectively for your target audience and obtain a positive ROI.

I have promoted both goods and services across several industries such as health and fitness, beauty, technology, etc.

--Anjana Wickramaratne, Active Digi Solutions


Running ads on Instagram can be a challenging feat until you become familiar with the process. One of the biggest mistakes we encounter with clients is that they are setting up their ads through their Facebook business page rather than Facebook Ads Manager. Going through Ads Manager gives you more customization that allows you to fine-tune not only your audiences but the ads themselves.

Choosing the best business objective is crucial for optimizing your spending budget on Instagram. In order to make sure that your money is being used effectively, you need to make sure that you are choosing the objective that gets you your desired results. There are 9 overall objectives that are broken down into 3 different categories: Awareness, Consideration, and Conversion. Analyzing your strategy and determining which of these is most important to your business plan will help you determine what target audience to get in front of and what content is most likely to get them to convert!

Making sure that the audience you use to create your ad is fine-tuned to the target audience is essential in producing a successful Instagram ad. When we are creating Instagram ads, we typically create a ‘Custom Audience’ based on either a Facebook Pixel that we have installed on the site or an email list that has been provided to us by clients. From there, we create a ‘Lookalike Audience’ that allows us to expand the audience to users who are similar to those in the ‘Custom Audience.’ Creating these audiences in Ads Manager allows you to really narrow down your target audience and only get your ads in front of the people who are likely to convert on your desired goal!

With Instagram, being an app that is designed to focus on the visual aesthetics of an image/video, your graphics are also essential for running successful ads. Make sure that your graphics are clear, concise and have little to no words on them. When you include a lot of words on your graphics, they are less likely to get delivered to your desired audience. Promote your best content and you will see your best results!

Once you have run a few different Instagram ad campaigns, it will be easier to see what works for your business and what does not. Until then, keep these tips in mind in order to get a positive ROI from your next campaign!

--Anjana Wickramaratne, 3PRIME


I had a positive experience launching lead ads on Instagram through Facebook Ads Manager for a water filter company.

We created an attractive magnet (Water Pollution Map in NYC 2020) and gave it away in exchange for a name, email, and doing multiple-choice questions. A convenient difference between the Lead Ads on Instagram and a landing site is that the forms are filled in automatically, increasing the conversion rate.

I restricted the placement to Instagram's Mobile platform only. The ad shows up on the Feed and Stories. In optimization for ad delivery, I set leads. The creative element was the image of the map. The average cost per result was $0.4. So, for only $100, you can sign and engage 40 customers through CRM automation to our email list.

Useful tip: try the AB test ad delivery of Link clicks vs. Leads.

--Emil Zakirov, Lasting Trend