How To Win at Instagram Advertising (and Save Money)

How To Win at Instagram Advertising (and Save Money)


Instagram has 400 million daily users. 60% of them discover new products on the photo and video sharing platform and 75% of Instagram users take action after seeing a post.

In a bid to compete with Snapchat, Instagram also launched Stories feature in August 2016. A year and a half later, there are now 250 million daily active users of Instagram Stories, which is not that far from Snapchat’s numbers.

The mind-boggling statistics have made Instagram a gold mine for advertisers. It’s not surprising to know that there are already over 1 million advertisers taking advantage of Instagram’s reach.

With so much competition among advertisers already, you need to be extra careful. When it comes to designing an Instagram advertising campaign especially if you are on a tight budget.

Design Instagram Ads Yourself

The first and easiest way you can save money is by creating Instagram ads yourself with free designing tools like Canva. That way, you only have to spend money on publishing ads on Instagram, instead of hiring an expensive graphic designer.

Most online designing tools already have preset layouts and required dimensions for Instagram ads. So all you have to do is edit designs according to your requirements and upload them.

Find the Best Ad Format

By understanding which type of ads work best for your target audience, you can optimize your ad campaigns and get better results with a smaller budget.

Here are the different ad formats available on Instagram.

1. Carousel Ads

With carousel ads, you can add multiple photos or videos that the users can scroll through. It is perfect for brands that want to showcase more than one visual image. Carousel ads get 10x more engagement than single image ads

For instance, Amazon uses carousel ads to retarget past visitors and show them images of products that the users might have browsed or added to their cart.

2. Single Image Ads

One of the most basic ad formats, the single image ads are an affordable option for smaller campaigns. Since Instagram allows you to publish up to six single image ads with the same image at no extra cost, you can use these ads to test different captions, call to action buttons, scheduling time, and target audience.

Headspace, a meditation app, used a simple and powerful illustration to target users that had signed up for the app for a free trial. The goal of the ad campaign was to convert free users into paid ones by offering them 40% on a yearly subscription plan.

There is also a call to action ‘Sign Up’ button at the end to make it easier for users to buy a subscription.

Similarly, Body Shop also used single image ad to announce their end of season sale. At the center of the ad, the image is the signature design of the brand’s body butter tubs, making it easily recognizable for regular Body Shop customers.

When designing single image ads, it’s important to make sure the image you choose depicts your brand’s message as clearly as possible and it can relate to the target audience as well.

3. Single Video

25% of Instagram ads are single videos and that is because they drive better conversions and engagement. While videos on Instagram can now be up to 60 seconds long, the research found that drop off in engagement is quick if the video is too long. That is why it’s best to stick with a 30-second video or less.

The video you add should always be relevant to your brand and make sense without audio. If there is someone talking about your video ad, its best to upload an SRT file with captions, allowing users to understand your ad without turning audio on their devices.

4. Slideshow

One of the least used ads on Instagram, Slideshow ads are basically slideshows of pictures with an option to add music in the background. Instead of slideshows, most brands choose to go with video ads instead, because video ads perform better. Though these ads can be used to target users with slow internet speed.

5. Instagram Stories Single Image and Video

With over 250 million daily active users of Instagram Stories, it didn’t take much time for the platform to monetize these numbers. Now, brands can create a single image and video story ads on Instagram as well.

Users will see these ads when they are checking stories of the people they follow. Just like the other stories, story ads can be a single image or video that stay on screen for up to 15 seconds. A call to action can be added at the bottom, urging users to swipe up, which will redirect them to a URL added by the advertiser.

Instagram stories are usually a great way to target teens and the younger audience. For instance, Spotify posts story ads to urge users to sign up.

Set the Right Budget and Schedule

To set the budget, you have two options – Daily or Lifetime budget. With a daily budget, Instagram spends the daily limit and shows your ad as much as possible, and with a lifetime budget, you set a complete budget for the entire campaign.

Both of these options have their own pros and cons. The daily budget allows you to set a daily limit, so you don’t end up spending the whole campaign budget too soon. On the other hand, lifetime budgets allow you to optimize your ad delivery by setting a schedule for your ads.

The type of budget you choose will depend on the kind of campaign you want to run. If you know the most optimum time when your brand’s posts get the most attention then only run the ad campaign during those specific time slots by picking a lifetime budget and the ‘Run ads on a schedule’ option.

You can also add a manual bid amount to make the most of your advertising budget. Though you may have to do a few hit and trial campaigns to find the right bidding amount.


One thing we know for sure that there are no limits in advertising and marketing. So, are you ready to create high performing Instagram ads and still save money? What matters is choosing the right platform and Instagram can be a big booster for your business. So, what next? If you are already thinking about making a strong web presence then you need a brushed-up website to showcase your business.

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