After months, some would say years, of expectation, advertising on Instagram is now available to everyone.

Just recently Instagram’s active users reached the 400 million milestone, bypassing Twitter’s 316 million monthly active users. With 3.5B (!) daily likes and over 80M photos shared daily, Instagram drives massive engagement.

Instagram’s demographics are very appealing for advertisers. Young, mostly millennials, who spend hours scrawling the feed. According to SproutSocial, 53% of 18-29 year olds use Instagram. The photo sharing platform is a huge success not only in the US. 75% of its users live outside of the States, mainly in Brazil, Japan and Indonesia.

Instagram demographics

Now, advertising on Instagram is open to everyone. Here’s what you need to know if you want to play:

The 3 Ad Formats

1. Image Ads

Promote an image ad that looks just like the regular feed photo, and includes a call to action of your choice (and indicates ‘Sponsored’).

2. Video Ads

Brands can now promote videos of up to 30 seconds long.

Instagram Ads exmples

3. Carousel Ads

Following the success of this feature in Facebook, Instagram offers the carousel option on its platform as well. It lets users swipe a few images horizontally and for brands to gain more engagement with a good visual storytelling.

instagram Carousel ad

On top of these three great options, there’s a 4th Premium option which is not open to everyone: Marquee. The Marquee “drives mass awareness and expanded reach in a short time-frame”, says the company. This feature is great for time-sensitive events, like launching a product.

Targets to Accomplish with Instagram Ads

Instagram offers four different objectives you can achieve using their ads:

  1. Clicks to Website: leads users to the desired website or landing page with varied call-to-actions like “Learn More”, “Shop Now” or “Sign Up”.
  2. Mobile App Installs: directs users to install a mobile app through an image or a video ad.
  3. Video Views: attracts users’ attention through a captivating video. 
  4. Mass Awareness: This one is a Premium option through the Marquee route. It drives mass awareness in a short time frame. Currently not available to everyone.

How Do I Get Started?

To create an Instagram ad you’ll need to use Facebook’s Power Editor.

Funny as it sounds, in order to set up an ad on Instagram you must have a Facebook account even though not necessarily an Instagram account (though it’s recommended).

Want to launch your own Instagram campaign? Here are 6 simple steps you should follow:

1. Connect your Instagram account to your Facebook page. Go to your page settings and then to the “Instagram Ads” tab.

2. After confirming the account via email, go to the Power Editor.

3. Choose one of the three objectives offered: Clicks to Website, Mobile App Installs or Video Views.

4. Continue creating the ad just like you would on Facebook, targeting your audience by language, location, and demographics.

5. Choose the CTA: Book now, Contact Us, Download, Learn More, Shop Now, Sign Up or Watch More.

6. Choose your budget and launch the ad with a great image and copy!

Design Tips for your Instagram Ad

Image Dimensions:

  • The recommended image ratio is 1:1 with 1080 x 1080 pixels.
  • Just like with Facebook ads, an image should not include more than 20% text. Test your image here to check if your text exceeds the limit.


  • Instagram recommends keeping the text up to 125 characters. Maximum 300.
  • Use hashtags to tag your ad and increase its reach potential beyond the target audience you’ve set.


  • Video format needs to be MP4.
  • Audio: Instagram recommends Stereo AAC audio compression, 128bps and above.

Instagram’s Biggest Challenge

When Instagram announced its advertising opportunities you could almost hear a sound of relief from brands around the world. Marketers were eager for this piece of news.

Just three years ago Facebook acquired Instagram for $1B, with many questioning that price tag. Today things look completely different. eMarketer estimates that Instagram will bring $595 million in mobile ad revenues in 2015 and $1.48B in 2016.

The main question is how quickly marketers will adopt this new advertising opportunity and allocate necessary budgets. Marketing opportunities are by all means huge here. With great ad copy and smart targeting, users may think alike.

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