How to Create an Instagram Ad That Will Drive Sales

Why create an Instagram ad for your company? According to Instagram, there are 400 million users and 80 million posts daily. In addition, paying for advertisements does not need to be a large financial commitment. Instagram will try to get you as many results for whatever budget you select — from $ 10 a day to $ 10,000 a day. This means that you can try your hand at an Instagram ad no matter what your budget is.

Most importantly, Instagram ads are extremely effective. One example is Tostitos Canada, which created Instagram video ads that resulted in a 5.5% increase of sales on Tostitos Scoops! and Hint of Jalapeño chips.

Once you decide to create an Instagram ad, the first step is to determine the objective. Here is a list of some common goals for a paid advertisement:


Instagram advertising is like a magnetic field that attracts customers to your business.

  • Traffic to your website
  • Engagement to increase brand recognition
  • Increase sales
  • Increase app-installations
  • Increase video views
  • Gain more social media followers

According to Falcon, Instagram audience targeting options can be broken down into three categories:

1. Core Audiences – Instagram’s default ad targeting option.

2. Custom Audiences – Numerous data sources are used to pull a group of users who have previously interacted with your brand.

3. Lookalike Audiences – Data is analyzed to create a group of users who have similar characteristics to your existing customers.

The next crucial step is for you to decide who your audience is. The best way to go about this is to look at your Instagram page’s insight tab in order to find out the demographics of your pre-existing followers. Alternatively, you can make decisions based on the type of person who is going to be interested in the specific product or service in your ad. On Instagram, you can target viewers by:

  • Interests
  • Demographics
  • Behaviors
  • Employment backgrounds
  • Targeting people who have visited your website or abandon their carts to win them back

The next step is to determine which type of Instagram ad is the most effective to achieve your goal. Options include:

  • Single photo ads
  • Carousel ads (multiple photos)
  • Video ads
  • Instagram story ads

There are benefits for each type of Instagram ad. It is important to think not only of the content of your ad but of the best medium to achieve your goal. Instagram offers a variety of options and the pros of each are listed below.

  • Photo ads
    • Visually compelling
    • Viewers can save and return to the post.
  • Video ads
    • Up to one minute long. Allows you to tell the story of your business, present a problem and solve it or go in-depth about how a product works.
  • Carousel ads
    • Up to 10 images or videos.
    • Highlight multiple products.
    • Deep dive into the details of a single product.
    • Take multiple angles. For example, show different circumstances where your product solves a problem. Or, if you’re selling accessories, demonstrate different ways of styling your product.
  • Stories ads
    • Seamlessly integrate into the stories of their friends.
  • Ads in explore
    • More than half of Instagram use Instagram Explore every month.

If you choose to advertise with Instagram video, the most important thing is to grab the attention of the consumer immediately. There is no time to waste — studies show an ad needs to compel a viewer to stop within milliseconds. Here are some tried-and-true tips for Instagram video:


When you create an Instagram video ad, optimize it for mobile viewing.

  • Natasha Courtenay-Smith, CEO of digital marketing firm Bolt Digital, says this means incorporating movement in the first three seconds.
  • The audio of the Instagram video will be muted by default. It is therefore crucial to add text or captions, so the viewers know what is going on.
  • Make a video that effectively loops. This may include music that fades in the intro/outro of the video so that it seamlessly flows from the end of the video back to the beginning.
  • Instagram has a feature where you can ensure your viewers are all connected to WiFi so that it isn’t a subpar experience due to lack of connectivity.

Below is a list of ideas for Instagram advertisment visuals that are particularly successful for brands:

  • Identify a problem and show how your product or service solves it
  • Focus on one single goal. Don’t try to ask a viewer to follow you and make a purchase, for example. The total viewing time of your ad will be short, so the goal needs to be succinct and attainable.
  • Fill the entire space. Optimize the size of your videos or pictures for Instagram’s dimensions so that they fit in the frame.
  • Use visual consistency. Use your brand’s font, color palate, tone and personality.

One of the best approaches to avoid being skipped over is to make your Instagram ad look like a post by a friend. In other words, make the ad not appear to be an ad. We see this increasingly with cosmetic and skincare companies, such Glossier, who advertise to a teenage and young adult audience with advertisements that mimic:


These advertisements are effective because they blend into an Instagram feed and therefore are not immediately ignored. They also feel authentic, approachable and familiar. Finally, it can make the ad appear as if the products are recommended by peers instead of being promoted by a corporation.

The final step is to know your end goal. Do you want the viewer to immediately purchase your item or call you to make an appointment? Choose a button accordingly. The options on an Instagram ad offer many “call to action” buttons. Choose the option which caters to the goal of your Instagram ad and then create visuals which compel them to click. Some examples include:

  • Buy Now
  • Learn More
  • Visit Website
  • Install Now


Instagram has over 400 million users, making it an optimal platform for marketing.

This article is intended to act as a guide to help you brainstorm your Instagram ad and make the decisions that will put you on track for a focused, successful ad that persuades your viewers to act.

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