You definitely kept hearing the same thing over and over again: Instagram ads are a hit. They generate more revenue every year and brands value their potential.

It’s not that easy to just publish an ad, though. You have to do a few things before you can start advertising on Instagram.

Start advertising on Instagram: checklist

You probably need some quick answers to this question, so we’ve prepared a short checklist for you.

Once you have the following things ready, advertising on Instagram will be a piece of cake.

1. An advertising strategy.

If you’re going to be investing money in this, you want to make sure you have a plan to do it effectively. So before you start advertising on Instagram, we recommend you go through some good resources.

Reading up on the latest marketing tips and guides definitely helps when you don’t know much about Instagram ads. Even if you don’t have the time, we recommend checking out podcasts that you can passively listen to so you can get new ideas. After learning more about targeting, creating content, and how to track your results, it won’t be as scary. It’s best if you start by getting to know who you have the best chance of converting, though.

We recommend checking your Instagram audience metrics to get to know your followers. You can do it through Instagram Insights for a shorter period of time, or you can use a third-party product like Sotrender to get more data.

Instagram follower demographics

Follower demographics in Sotrender

Okay, now you know that you should try to appeal to a specific type of group. Preparing content and setting up your targeting options should be easier than before.

What about inspiration? What kind of content should you post? Well, it’s always a good idea to check in on your competition from time to time! Of course, you shouldn’t copy them, and you shouldn’t try to be them. You can use their content to get an idea of what your shared audience likes and doesn’t respond to. You might notice that their followers respond well to posts with shorter captions, minimalistic visuals, or something else. Take these things into consideration and experiment with these elements until you find what gets your followers engaged.

To sum up, you will need an advertising strategy in order to:

  • Have a clear goal in mind – you have to know what you want to achieve (e.g. higher engagement, more followers, more visits on your profile)
  • Define which metrics and KPIs you’ll need to measure performance/ success
  • Be aware of who your target audience is and how you should talk to them
  • Understand your competitors and their strategy
  • Plan your content and actions effectively
  • Manage and control your budget

Now let’s consider something a little bit more technical.

2. A Facebook Page (optional)

Before we jump right in, we need to clear something up. Because Facebook and Instagram are part of the same ecosystem, they share a few platforms like Ads Library and Creator Studio. What this means in practice is that these platforms can be integrated so you can create, post, and track ad performance more easily. It’s actually pretty easy to get the hang of!

So, what do you need to know about it?

For one, you’ll be able to use Ads Manager to create ads for both Instagram and Facebook. You can pick different placements for your ad, target users based on so many different characteristics and interests, and even set your ad budget.

placements instagram ads

Choosing placements for Instagram ads

We actually have an article that explains how you can create Instagram ads if you’d like to know more.

The other thing you should know is that you will be able to respond to Instagram DMs from Facebook.

answer instagram messages from facebook

Long story short, it won’t be that hard to keep up with both.

After getting acquainted with these tools, it’ll be much easier for you to start advertising on Instagram.

 3. Good content

One of the things that you might not be aware of is how ads function socially on Instagram. If you’re used to making other forms of ads, Instagram ads might not be as intuitive.

Instagram ads can appear while you’re scrolling your feed, the Explore page, and Stories. Since these features have different functions, you should be aware of what type of copy and content works best for each placement. It also depends on how you and your followers use your feed and Stories, to begin with. Experiment by changing some elements of your ad around and see what works for your followers.

Instagram ad in feed

Instagram ad appearing in the feed

instagram story ad

Instagram ad in while scrolling through Stories

And as always, don’t neglect your organic content. We usually see a ratio of 1 sponsored post for every 3 organic posts. Constantly putting out ads is expensive and not nearly as worth it. After posting a good mix of organic and sponsored content, remember to check important Instagram metrics. That’s how you can be sure that your content strategy is effective overall.

We hope this post was helpful for you and that you can start advertising on Instagram now! Good luck with converting those leads!

Start analyzing your Instagram performance

This post was originally published in 2016 and has since been updated.

Read more:
  1. What type of ads can I use on Instagram?
  2. Should I advertise on Instagram?
  3. What Instagram metrics should I care about?


Iva Djukic

Marketing Specialist

Graduated from University of Warsaw with a Master's degree in psychology. Can be found binge-watching Netflix, reading, or spending time on social media.