How to set up targeted ads on Instagram yourself

The article has been updated. First published: September 12, 2018

Targeted advertising on Instagram is a powerful tool that allows you to reach your target audience, both large brands and anyone interested. A whole course “Total Advertising: Facebook and Instagram” is devoted to this issue. See if it will be useful to you. Read more about it at the link above.

Targeting allows you to perform an abundance of important tasks, the key ones of which are:

  • promotion of posts and account
  • advertising and retargeting to target audiences (and an audience similar to target audiences)
  • increasing user awareness and engagement
  • advertising of new products, announcements of events
  • collection of subscription base

If you are interested in targeted advertising on VKontakte, then you should take a look at the course on targeted advertising on VKontakte.

What’s good about targeted ads on Instagram?

The audience… More than a billion accounts are registered on Instagram, which is 1/7 of the entire population of the world. For SMMs, this means that about a billion people have gathered in one place with whom you can interact.

Instagram users are loyal to advertising, actively click and navigate, which means you can perform a variety of tasks with them.

Cheap traffic… If you have worked with a target, but have not achieved good results, do not despair. Most likely, you do not know something and made a mistake when drawing up a strategy or setting a task. With the right settings, everything will turn out differently, and in the case of Instagram, cheaper.

Lots of settings… Any user can set up ads in two clicks directly from their Instagram. To do this, just go to the Business profile (I hope everyone has already gone over?) And click “Promotions” from your page. Detailed instructions on how to do this are below in the material.


But if you are an SMM with an abundance of goals and objectives, I advise you to do it from the Facebook advertising account, which offers a variety of targeting settings.

After Zuckerberg bought Instagram, he was given the same targeting features that Facebook has.

Why categories and goals are needed

Categories and goals are needed in order to maximize the performance of the assigned tasks. Some are aimed at increasing engagement and some at generating leads. Let’s figure out what’s what.

There are 3 goals to choose from in the Instagram mobile app.


Look at the tips to see which one is right for you.

This ad can be customized in two clicks by selecting one of your published publications.

But the Facebook ad account offers as many as 11 goals in 3 different categories!


Screenshot from Facebook advertising cabinet

The choice of the goal also determines the choice of optimization parameters for the advertising campaign, so carefully read the explanations of Facebook.

Recognizability… Awareness goals help you grab people’s attention.
Leads. There are several goals in this section, let’s look at them in more detail.

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Application settings – allow you to increase the number of installs of your advertised application. This goal works best in conjunction with in-app event optimization and value optimization, as recommended by the developers. Facebook recommends using them together to increase memorability.

Traffic… Allows you to attract users with a greater likelihood of going to the site, application or correspondence. Best for advertising with external links. You can pay for both clicks and landing page views and reach.

Generation of leads… The goal is also optimized for actions with the site and the application. Best used with lead ads. Collect user contact information, such as name, email address, and phone number, using lead forms. You can immediately collect contacts, add custom questions to understand the needs of potential customers.

Posts… In the advertisement, users will see a button – write in Direct. The goal is sharpened to collect users who are more likely to start chatting.
Involvement. With this goal, you can find users who will actively leave comments and likes, repost.

Video Views… It works to find users who are more likely to watch your promo video to the end.

Conversions… Goals help you get tickets and users who have completed certain actions. With the help of a pixel, you can collect everyone who added a product to the cart, viewed catalogs, visited certain places. Ideal for the second phase of your sales funnel. For optimal results, you should get at least 50 conversions in 7 days. Otherwise, the algorithms will have nothing to analyze in order to find hotter customers for you.

Sales of goods from the catalog… Ideal for stores with goods – the chosen target optimizes our advertising so that you can find users who show or have already shown interest on the site or in the application. Works great for cross-selling.

Visiting points… Everything is clear here, the goal is perfect for targeting users visiting a specific location on the map.

Regardless of the chosen goal, advertising on Instagram allows you to attract the attention of users to your products or services. Important! Unlike the mobile app, the goals in the Facebook ad account are not optimized for Instagram subscriptions. Therefore, you can use a life hack if you need subscribers:

The audience settings in the mobile application are not as precise as in the ad account, so run an advertisement for the Profile target and then edit the audience in the ADS manager.

Formats, placements and their features

Format… To diversify content and present ads in the right light, the social network offers several ad formats. You have the opportunity to advertise in the form of:

  • Images
  • galleries
  • video

Also, there are less popular formats: slideshow, collection and canvas.

Read also:   Guide to Instagram post formats

Placement… There are only two of them: a feed and a story.

If you choose as placement ribbon, The target audience will see the advertisement in their feed. It will look like this:


Recommendations for images:

  • File type: jpg or png
  • Maximum file size: 30 MB
  • Minimum aspect ratio of the picture: 4: 5
  • Maximum aspect ratio: 1.91: 1
  • Maximum text length: 2200

Video recommendations:

  • File format: .MOV, .MP4 or .GIF
  • Resolution: 720p (minimum),
  • File size: no more than 2.3 GB,
  • Duration: up to 60 seconds

Second placement – storiesand it differs significantly from tape.
Stories are full-screen vertical ads that users see when they view user stories on Instagram.


Please note that you can add a call to action in the feed and stories.

Recommendations for images:

  • Aspect ratio: 9:16
  • If more than 20% of the image area is occupied by text, there will be fewer impressions.
  • Size: 1080 x 1920 pixels

Video recommendations:

  • Video format: 9:16
  • Resolution: 720p (minimum), file size: 2.3 GB or less,
  • File format: .MOV, .MP4 or .GIF
  • Duration: 3-15 seconds

We’ve only covered the basic image format. To see recommendations for other formats, go to a special section on Facebook, where there are detailed instructions with examples for each of them.

How to create an ad image

The times when you had to contact a designer with or without reason are long gone. If your budget is tight and you need to do something simple but interesting, we recommend It’s like Photoshop, only easier! Instant registration and many templates for different formats.


Thanks to Canvas, preparing images has become a game. To learn more about the service, read our article “Stealing Bread: How to Create Your Own Publication Covers”.

Another thing – stories

In order to make an advertisement that will be different from the rest, it is enough to install the Unfold application (available in the App Store and Google Play) or StoryArt (also available in the App Store and Google Play).

In them you will see an abundance of cool templates, you just have to add a picture and text.


By the way, the Story Builder has appeared in SMMplanner, in which the Canva and Crelo applications are already integrated. Use it! You can read about our updates here.

How to set up Instagram targeting

This is the easiest way to set up targeting, let’s set up your first Instagram ad in 4 steps.

Step 1… Open the post you would like to target and click the Promote button. Instagram will offer to link the page to Facebook, agree.


Step 2. Choose a destination

If you select the option “Your profile”, a button “Open profile” will appear under the post. By clicking on it, the audience will be directed to your page. “Your Site” will lead people to the site, and “Showcase” will allow you to advertise new products and receive requests or calls.

Read also:   Games in Instagram - a legal and interesting way to engage followers


Hints will help you understand exactly what you need

Step 3. Select an audience

You will be able to choose audience location, interests, age and gender.

Please note that by choosing an “automatic” audience, your ads will be shown to those who are most similar to your subscribers. If you are unsure of your followers or there are many bots among them, it is better to create a new audience.


Step 4. Final

Choose a budget. Depending on the amount, you will be shown the estimated coverage of the publication. After that, check all the information and start advertising!


Newbies can try running promotions on the Instagram mobile app. It’s fast and convenient. But for more serious work, for sales growth, for in-depth analytics, you cannot do without the Facebook advertising cabinet, where there are much more opportunities for optimizing your advertising.

Read our super selection on setting up Facebook ads.

How to evaluate advertising results on the Instagram mobile app

Despite our recommendation for launching targeted advertising in the ADS Manager home office, you can try working in Instagram itself. Even in the mobile application, you can also track the results:

To track the targeting results, click “View Statistics” under the promoted post or “Promotions” in the profile.


A statistics menu will open, which will show the reach, impressions and number of: likes, comments, saves, transitions to the profile, clicks on the call button.

The assessment of this data depends on what goals you set for yourself.

  • If this set of subscribers, estimate how much one subscriber costs. The formula is simple: ad spend / new subscribers.
  • If you wanted to increase the number interactions, track metrics such as ER, reach, likes, and comments.
  • If a transitions to the site – look at the clicks on the link, their cost.
  • If a sales – Track the costs of the advertising campaign and the income from it. If your campaign hasn’t paid off, don’t rush to disable ads. It is possible that users left their mailboxes during the transition, which means they can buy in the future.

In order not to lose data, create a table in which you will track the main indicators of advertising campaigns and analyze them.

Let’s summarize

Now you know:

  • What are the benefits of targeted advertising on Instagram
  • that advertising can be configured from both Instagram and Facebook
  • why there are so many goals, and which ones should be chosen
  • recommended parameters for different placements
  • how to set up ads from Instagram itself and evaluate the results

Try setting up your first ad today and share the results in the comments. And do not rush to give up – if you wish and work hard, everyone can turn out to be an excellent targetologist.

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