Instagram Ads: Your Ultimate Guide [2021]

Instagram is another popular social media platform – especially among teenagers. A high percentage of Instagram’s audience is teenagers and those aged between 18-24 years. Consequently, Instagram is a great platform for targeting Gen-Z.

Here’s everything that you need to know about Instagram ads:

1. Types of Instagram Ads   2. For Whom Are Instagram Ads?       3.  Why Instagram Ads  4. Instagram Ads vs. Facebook Ads  5.  Objectives   

6.  How to Create Instagram Ads   7.  Best Practice    8 Bottom Line

Types of Instagram Ads

Depending on your objective, you’re going to be using different types of Instagram ads. Here are some types of Instagram types:

Single Image Ads

As the name suggests, they display a single image to the user. So, you can use these types of ads in stories as well.

Single Video Ads

These types of ads show a single video to the user. In addition to being displayed on feeds, they can also be shown on stories. However, if the video is too long, users will have to click on “Expand Story” to keep on watching the story.

Carousel Ads

Put simply, Carousel ads are a mixture of image and video ads. Because it allows a mixture of formats to be used, you can use these to convey your brand’s products, mission or informative content. Though you can choose separate headlines for each image/ad, the caption and CTA will be the same for all of them.

Story Ads

You can use images or videos in stories to get to your audience. If your account has over 10,000 followers, you can put a hyperlink in your story. However, this feature has only been introduced recently. Previously, there used to be a “Swipe Up” option, but that’s no longer available.

For Whom Are Instagram Ads?

Instagram, as of 2020, was the third most preferred social media platform among teenagers in the US. This goes to show that this is a platform ruled by teenagers. Because the majority of Instagram users are teenagers, brands can use this to target the youth. Therefore, if your business is one of those that are targetted at the youth, Instagram is a great place for you to advertise.

Why Use Instagram Ads in the First Place

As of June 2018, there were around one billion active monthly users on Instagram. Even though compared to Facebook, this is less. However, it is only “less” when compared to Facebook. One billion active users is, by no means, a small number. Thus, the huge audience, combined with the fact that people use this platform to engage with businesses makes this a good choice for marketing.

Instagram Ads vs. Facebook Ads

Instagram ads are not too different from Facebook ads. For example, other than a few things, like ideal resolution, ideal file size and technical things like that, everything is the same.

In fact, at the grass-root level, Facebook and Instagram have been under the same roof since Instagram was acquired by Facebook. Instagram ads are created from the same Ad Manager that is used to create Facebook ads.

 The only main difference is the target audience. With Facebook, you have the option to target people aged over 30 years with abundance. However, that is not the case with Instagram.To summarize, if you’re planning to target people from different age groups, this isn’t a great platform. However, this is the perfect platform for teens as the target audience.


There are around a dozen different marketing objectives that you can choose from. However, you’re going to only need one.You can choose from the following objectives in Facebook Ad Manager for setting up your Instagram ads:

Brand Awareness

Ideal if you want to get your brand known to people.


Ideal if you want to reach more people.


Ideal if you want people to make sales.

Catalogue Sales

Ideal if you want people to buy from your catalogue.

Store Traffic

Ideal if you want people to buy from your online store.


Ideal if you want people to view your website.


Ideal if you want to increase your account’s engagement rate.

App Installs

Ideal if you want people to install your apps.

Video Views

Ideal if you want people to watch your videos.

Lead Generation

Ideal if you want to gather data about potential customers.


Ideal if you want people to engage your business through messages.

How to Create Instagram Ads

Before you start creating ads for Instagram, you need to make sure that your account is linked with Facebook. By doing so, it’ll be connected to the Ad Manager. However, if you don’t know how to do so, you can read Facebook’s article on how to do so. Secondly, you need to decide your objective. If you haven’t done so yet, do so now. Once you’ve done that, here’s how you can create an Instagram ad in 5 minutes.

 1. Go to Ad Manager    2. Click on Create    3. Choose your marketing objective   4. Fill in all the relevant details   5. Select Instagram in Manual Placements in the selection section    6. Click on Continue                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

Once you do that, you’re done. However, setting your target audience and choosing your marketing objective can be a bit tricky, though.

Best Practices

To make sure your ad is perfect, you need to optimize it. Here are the perfect dimensions, file size and everything else for Instagram ads according to Facebook:

Image Ads



1080 x 1080 pixels

Aspect Ratio


File Type


File Size

25 MB


Video Ads



1080 x 1080 pixels

Aspect Ratio


Video Type


Video Length

Max. 2 Minutes


Story Ads



1080 x 1080 pixels

Aspect Ratio





Carousel Ads



1080 x 1080 pixels

Aspect Ratio


Video Type


Video Length

Max 60 Seconds


No-sound Optimization

Most users watch videos with the sound turned off. Therefore, you need to optimize your ads without sound. To do so, add captions and check if the ad makes sense without sound.


In short, your video should be such that it makes complete sense and conveys the message even with the sound turned off.

Bottom Line

Instagram ads can be much more effective than Facebook ads can be for youth-targetted companies. For Gen Z-related marketing, there’s a lot of audience that Instagram has to offer. In fact, Facebook’s 2.98 billion audience has less than 33% share of Gen Z. This implies that Instagram has a greater number of Gen Z (and millennial) users than Facebook does.


Setting up Instagram ads is as easy as creating Facebook ads is. You can also show your ad on both platforms. If you choose Automatic Placements in the selection section (in step 5), your ad will be distributed on both Facebook and Instagram (along with others as well).

To summarize, Instagram is a great marketing platform for many businesses. Is it for yours?

Do you use Instagram ads for your business’s marketing? If so, what are your marketing objectives?

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