Instagram Ads: How to grow your active audience with Instagram advertising

There comes a time in everyone’s Instagram journey when your number of followers all but ceases to grow. You’ve made the rounds, following old friends from high school, people at work, and maybe even a few strangers who share a similar interest in #knitting. 

If you find that your page isn’t getting as much traction as it used to, there’s a simple way to grow your audience: Instagram ads. 

Instagram promotions: How they work and how to start one

Sometimes you share a photo or a video and it immediately blows up with likes and comments. And other times, your posts are met with radio silence. What gives?

While Instagram’s algorithm is tricky to master, promoting a post can easily get you a little more engagement, especially when it comes to increasing your audience with accounts who don’t follow you yet.

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How to sponsor a post on Instagram

If you have a post that just needs a little boost, you can try promoting it. Promoting a post — also referred to as an Instagram sponsored post — is essentially a paid advertisement. However, instead of making a standalone ad, you’re simply turning a photo, graphic, or video you already posted into an ad. Promoted posts have the exact same format as Instagram ads but require far less work. 

Here’s how to promote a post:

  1. Go to your profile. 
  2. Locate the post you’d like to promote. 
  3. Under the image, press Promote. 
  4. Select where you’d like the promoted post to send people (like your profile, a website, or a direct message).
  5. Select your target audience. The automatic option allows Instagram to target users who are similar to your followers, and the manual option allows you to choose your audience based on location, interest, age, and gender.
  6. Select your budget, which is how much money you want to spend daily over a certain number of days. 
  7. Add your payment information. 
  8. Press Create Promotion. 

Once you complete your promotion, it will be sent to Instagram to make sure that it meets the platform’s ad policies. Most promotions are reviewed and either approved or denied in 60 minutes, but they do occasionally take longer. 

Once your promotion has been approved, it will immediately begin running. 

What happens when you promote a post on Instagram

So what exactly happens after you press that “Promote” button? 

Since the objective of Instagram Promotions is to elevate the reach of normal, non-advertisement based content, they appear in the exact same spot as a regular post. The major difference — outside of the fact that you paid for it — is that there’s a tag underneath your username that says “Sponsored.”

Even though promoted posts appear in the same place on your home page, Instagram’s algorithm treats them differently from regular posts. It takes a post that is already performing well and pushes it to the next level by increasing its visibility and engagement. 

Not only will your followers see your promoted post, but people who you don’t follow you (but who fall under the target audience you selected) will also see it. 

Once your ad is approved and running, you can click on the “Promotions” button underneath it to access the promoted post’s insights. Doing so will give you analytics on how users are engaging with it and if the content is performing well. 

What’s the cost of an Instagram paid promotion?

Much like Google Ads and other similar platforms, paid promotions are operated on a cost-per-click (or CPC) basis. That means you only pay when a user clicks on your “Call to Action” button. 

When you’re creating your post, Instagram gives you the option to set your budget and provides a rough estimate of what you’ll spend per day. The maximum limit to spend on ads is $1,000 daily for up to 30 days, which provides a maximum potential reach of 400,000 to 1 million people. Luckily, you don’t have to spend that much to see results. However, Instagram recommends spending at least $10 a day. 

How much is an Instagram paid promotion?

The great thing about promoted posts is that you can spend as much or as little as you want. You can spend as little as $1 a day for 1 day (which can reach a maximum of 540 people), or, as stated earlier, $1,000 a day for 30 days. It’s really up to you. 

Plus, if a promoted post is getting a lot of reach and engagements, you can always choose to spend more money to increase its reach and duration after the post is published.

How to advertise on Instagram via Facebook Business 

There are other ways to advertise on Instagram. One of the more popular methods is to create ads through Facebook Business via Facebook Ads Manager. 

How to start an Instagram advertising campaign

An Instagram advertising campaign is a great way to grow your reach and gain new followers. However, you do have to have a business profile on Instagram to access this feature. It’s easy and free to switch. You also have to link your now-professional Instagram account to a Facebook Page and connect it to the Facebook Business Manager. 

Here’s how to start an Instagram Campaign using Facebook Business Manager: 

  1. Go to 
  2. Press Create Account. 
  3. Fill in all the details and required fields. 
  4. Finish the account. 

Once that’s done, you can link your Instagram account by doing the following steps: 

  1. Open Facebook Business Manager.
  2. Click the menu button at the top-left of the page.
  3. Select Instagram Accounts > +Add.
  4. Enter your username and password.
  5. Click Next > Save Changes.

After that, it’s time to create an Instagram ad campaign: 

  1. Click the menu button > Ads Manager.
  2. Click the green +Create button on the left of the page.
  3. Choose Guided Creation or Quick Creation. Guided Creation is great for beginners who want to be walked through the exact steps, and Quick Creation gives you more control in drafting your ad. 
  4. Fill in the details and make selections for your objective, the name of the campaign, your audience, ad placement, budget, schedule, and format. 
  5. Click Confirm. 

Doing this will create your ad to run on Instagram and Facebook. So if you’re trying to increase your reach and engagement for both of these platforms, then Instagram ad campaigns are a great option. 

How to launch Instagram Story ads and Instagram Carousel ads

While photo and video ads are the most common types of Instagram ad campaigns, some other unique formats are becoming more and more popular. 

Instagram Story ads and Instagram Carousel ads are great ways to promote your advertised content in a unique and engaging way. Plus, it’s just as easy to create these kinds of ads as it is to make more traditional ones. 

While you go through the steps we laid out above to create an Instagram ad campaign using Facebook Business Manager, you have the option to choose from the following formats: 

  • Single Image
  • Single Video
  • Slideshow 
  • Carousel

Choosing the Carousel option will allow you to run an ad with two or more images and videos at a time.

When it comes to creating a Stories Ad, all you have to do is select “Edit Placements” during the Placements section of ad creation in Ads Manager. There, you have an option to select Instagram Stories. 

How do I know if my Instagram ads are running?

If you’re wondering how to see your Instagram ad, all you have to do is go back to the Ads Manager section on Facebook Business Manager. There, your ads will be displayed along with varying metrics on how they are performing. 

If growing your audience organically feels like a bit of a mystery to you, try running an Instagram ad campaign or a promoted post. Not only will both of these avenues increase your engagement with your current followers, but they will also put you in front of new potential followers as well.

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