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Guide to Instagram Advertising

Written by Cassie Oumedian


Guide to Instagram Advertising


72% of marketers all around the world are spending less than 15% of their funds on social. Although Facebook is the leading networking site for social advertising, there are many other networking platforms that you should be investing in. In fact, 40% of marketers plan to increase their budgets in Instagram in the next 12 months.


Why Invest In Instagram?


Instagram’s popularity is rapidly growing, just second behind Facebook, and marketers are finding success with ad formats, such as photo, video, mobile apps and carousel ads.

[Social platforms advertisers are currently investing in. Source: Hanapin Marketing’s 2017 State of Paid Social Report]


About 42% of advertisers are investing a good amount of dollars in Instagram, but the majority of those are not taking advantage of new, unique formats, like Instagram Stories, and Mobile App Installs, so right now is the time to jump in and try your hand at Instagram ads before it becomes as highly populated as Facebook!


Who’s on Instagram?  


According to Instagram internal data there are 700M active monthly activities and 400M daily activities and continuing to grow. Majority of those users are Milliennials.


69% of Millennials are on Instagram daily, checking more than 13X a day. 55% of these users are women. 64% are women between the ages of 18 -34, while 70% are men ages 18 – 34.



If your target audiece are Millienials, Instagram is a platform you don’t want to miss out on.



Getting Started With Instagram


1) Creating Instagram Ads Without An Instagram Account


While you don’t necessarily need an Instagram account to start advertising, it is recommended. However, you will need a Facebook Page and Ads Manager account.


Once you are running ads in Facebook, creating ads in Instagram is basically just like creating ads in Facebook. All you need to do is select “Instagram” in the Ad Preview section. Additionally, there are a few other items you’ll need to know to get started.


Similar to Facebook Ads, you have the ability to create ads through Ad Creation, Power Editor, or Facebook API. Below is a tutorial on how to create Instagram ads via Ad Creation without an Instagram account.


Go to Create Campaign in Facebook’s Ad Manager.


Choose an Objective – Here you will need to choose a campaign objective that supports Instagram, including: Awareness, Consideration, and Conversions.





Build Out Audience Details –  Select the specific targeting and demographic information you would like to target on Instagram just as you would while creating a Facebook Ad.


Placements > Edit Placements > Select Instagram. Here you can select which placements you would like to run on, including Facebook, Instagram, Audience Network, and Messenger. By default, all but Messenger will be selected. Facebook recommends that you run on both Facebook and Instagram for ease of set-up. However, you can create separate Ad Sets for each targeting method to allow for segmentation of placements.




Budget & Schedule – Set up campaign budgets, bidding, and ad schedule then select continue. Here you can select between automated or manual based on a cost per average or maximum purchase.


Create Ads – Here you can select between Single Image ads, Carousel, Dynamic Ads or Video. Canvas Ads are currently not available on Instagram at this time.


Pages & Links – For this set-up, if you do not have an Instagram account, it will not be linked so you will select the Facebook page that will represent your business on Instagram. If you have an Instagram account, you would select that account here as well.


Build out Ad details – i.e. Headline, text, images, video, ect.



Under Ad Preview make sure Instagram is selected.


Place Order!


2) Instagram Account Vs. No Instagram Account Set-Up


You are able to run ads on Instagram without having an Instagram account, however, it is recommended that an Instagram account is set-up. Below are a few issues you could face when running Instagram Ads with no Instagram account.


Your Facebook Page’s name and image will be used on your Instagram ad so that people can easily identify your business.


You won’t be able to respond to comments on your ad.


Your Instagram handle will be your Facebook Page’s name. It will be grayed out and won’t be clickable. If your Facebook Page’s name exceeds the IG handle character limit, it will be truncated with “…”


If you have an Instagram account that you would like to link to your Facebook ad account, you can link via your Page Settings or through your Business Manager.


3) Instagram Ad Creative Best Practices


Instagram is at the forefront of Visual Communication Advertising. The key to creative for Instragram is to have high quality visuals and images that focus on where the user is at in the funnel or decision process with a clear call to action.


Instagram ad formats follow the same specifications as Facebook. As mentioned above in the set-up, Instagram allows Single Image, Video, Dynamic ads, Carousel ads and Mobile App installs. The Instagram Ads appear in the feed and can be noticed with a Sponsored label that appears under the profile name.


Single image ads show as square, vertical, or landscape formats. Video ads may appear in square or landscape formats. While carousel formats will show in square format and users can click on arrows to scroll to view other images for carousel ads.



Instagram is a visual platform where images are the main focus, so selecting the right images can make or break an ad. Our friends at AdEspresso provide some great key insights from a study provided by Curalate that help layout best practices when selecting images for Instagram ads, including:


  • Use images with high brightness and light
  • Use images with natural light
  • Have lots of background space in your images
  • Choose images with “colder” dominant colors like blue vs. red
  • Have a single dominant color in your images


4.) Targeting and Bidding


When it comes to setting up audience targeting for Instagram, advertisers have all the targeting features that are available in Facebook for Instagram. For example you have the ability to target users that have visited your website or downloaded your app. Or create audience that are similar to those have completed your desired conversion action. This ability allows you target your Instagram ads for your target personas.


To view your audience size estimated delivery size, you can view those directly in power editor once you added your audience targeting.


When it comes to audience size, Instagram recommends starting with a larger broader audinece to let the system learn and refine targeting as necessary to drive performance.


Bidding for Instagram may vary depending on your advertising goal. For example, if you have a very tight CPM or CPC goal you may choose to use a manual bidding option. However Instagram recommends using an automated bidding approach by optimizing for conversion objective to be the most effective way of bidding.


This allows the system to find the best results to achieve your goals. We’ve seen success using noth bidding models but tend to start with an Optimize for Conversion approach to start.


5.) Attribution and Pixel Placement


Pixel placement is key to any Instagram or Facebook account in order to use all the insights and features the platforms have to offer including: Optimized Bidding as mentioned above and to gain greater insights into attribution across devices as well. In fact, 58% of Instagram users conversion occur on desktop vs. mobile.

The Facebook Pixel can be found in your Facebook Business Manager > Tools > Assets > Pixels. Here you can create Facebook pixels and offline events.  Typically you will place a PageView pixel on all pages and a Purchase/Lead pixel on the final conversion event page (i.e. Thank you page).


By placing the pixel on all pages of the site, you will be able to target users at various levels of the funnel, and gain insight into how users are interacting across devices. Here is a full guide to Facebook Pixel implementation support.


6) Reporting And Results


You can report and view Instagram results the same as you do on Facebook through the PowerEditor under All Tools > Ads Reporting. From here, just select the columns you would like in the report and be sure placements are selected.





This particular campaign hasn’t been running for long, but you can already see that over a 60-day period the results on the site are -18% lower Cost Per Results on Instagram compared to Facebook! This expansion into Instagram has allowed expansion with social reach, increase conversions, and engagement as a whole.