What Kind of Instagram Advertising is Right for You

There are plenty of great ways to boost your chances of success on Instagram.

Whether you choose to work with a brand like Upleap to boost your engagement and followers, or you spend every day working on your photography skills, the more you experiment, the more you’ll grow. Of course, there is a way to speed up your path to success if you’ve got a little extra cash to splash – and that’s with Instagram advertising.

Now that more than 1 billion people visit Instagram every month, more companies than ever before are battling for their chance to earn more audience attention. If you want to get ahead of the curve, there’s nothing wrong with trying a few #PayToWin strategies – provided that you stick to the Insta terms of service.

Instagram advertising can be a safe and effective way to connect with ‘Grammers, which is a big deal when you consider that 31% of your audience earns more than 75k a year. Cha-ching!

How to Get Started with Instagram Advertising

By the time you’ve finished reading this article, you’ll know what all the different types of Instagram advertising are, and which ads are most likely to get you the best results. However, before you start experimenting, you’re going to need to know how to advertise on Instagram.

First, make sure that you have a #Business account. You can’t create ads without one. Plus, a business account will let you measure your metrics so you can see which of your ads are the most effective.

Once you’ve got your account, keep the following golden rules in mind:

  • Know your audience before you started posting. Set your audience filters with a critical focus on demographics, interests, and specific targets. You need to know who you’re talking to, so you can speak their language.
  • Use a call to action: Instagram might be all about the visuals, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore the power of words. Remember that an effective call-to-action will drive people to your website – and that’s crucial for any kind of
  • Embrace #Hashtags: Remember that hashtags are the ultimate way to get your audience’s attention on Instagram. Make sure that you know which tags to use to capture more engagement.
  • Create a brand experience: Help your customers to know that they’re interacting with you. Use a specific filter or do something to make your unique tone of voice shine through. Your ads need to stand out!

4 Types of Instagram Advertising (and how to use them)

Now that we’ve got the basics out of the way let’s get down to the nitty-gritty.

There are various kinds of Instagram advertising campaigns that you can launch to build followers and engagement. However, since this is an article for beginners, we’re going to start by covering four basic options:

  • Photo Ads
  • Video Ads
  • Carousel ads
  • Story ads

1.     Photo Ads

As we all know, photos are crucial for success on Instagram. Sometimes, the strangest photo on your feed can have the most significant impact. Remember the Insta-egg?

When it comes to Instagram Advertising, pictures are the simplest and most popular option. They’re designed to let you show off the value of your product by letting the image speak for itself. The key to success is simply making sure that whatever visual you post is interesting enough to make your audience want to learn more.

We recommend using a fun, bold picture with a caption that captures your audience’s attention. Look at this post from the Dollar Shave Club, for instance. We love the caption: “Shower products so nice, we’re gonna tell you twice.”

When to Use Picture Ads

So, when should you use Picture-based Instagram advertising? Easy – whenever you’re looking for simple ways to boost traffic, conversions, and leads. If your company is already creating plenty of visual content for Instagram (which it should be), this will be a natural addition to your campaigns.

2.     Video Ads

Awesome Instagram photos might be the lifeblood of the IG community, but videos are quickly catching up in terms of popularity. Video-based Instagram advertising will give you a nice change of pace if you want something besides the basic photo ad. Whether you opt for a trendy Boomerang video or a full-fledged ad similar to what you’d see on TV, rest assured that Instagram will get you in front of your target audience.

Global haircare brand OGX recently invested in their own Instagram video campaign with the “Rock What You’ve Got” movie. The ad shows women taking advantage of their diverse hairstyles, and it’s a great piece of emotional content. Just remember that if you take a similar approach, Instagram only supports videos for up to 60 seconds, and you need to engage your audience fast. OGX shows its brand within the first few seconds of the video to boost audience recall.

Check out the full video from Instagram’s case study collection here:


When to Use Video AdsThe truth is that video content is seriously hot right now. That means that if you have an opportunity to use video in your campaigns, you should probably take it. Remember to keep the footage vertical to take advantage of Instagram’s format, and focus on really drawing your audience into whatever you’re selling. If you can tell an inspiring story, like OGX did, you’re more likely to leave your audience wanting more.

3.     Carousel Ads

Carousel Ads are a fantastic way to take your photos and videos to the next level with Instagram advertising. If you want to go into detail when showing your customers, the products and services that you can offer, then carousel ads could be the ideal way to do it. You can place anywhere up to 10 videos or pictures into a carousel, and your audience simply browses through the content selection to see what you have to offer.

The world’s favorite alternative travel company, Airbnb recently showed their audience how popular carousels could be with their own carousel campaign. The ads were designed to show off some of Airbnb’s most compelling available destinations and convince travelers to come and find out more about the Airbnb business strategy.

You can see a video version of the carousel posted on Instagram’s case study page here:


Remember, the key with carousel ads is to provide your customers with an immersive experience. You could introduce them to some of the different types of product you have to offer, or you could guide them through a step-by-step guide on how to use your service.

When to Use Carousel Ads

Usually, the best time to use carousel ads is when you want to get more immersive with your Instagram advertising, but you don’t have the budget or time to create an entire TV-worthy video. You’ll be able to show off the versatility of your brand in a fun and unique way while saving some cash.

💡 Related Post: How to increase your Instagram impressions with Instagram ads

4.     Story Ads

Finally, Instagram Story Ads have entirely transformed the way that businesses approach Instagram advertising. In general, Stories are one of the most popular ways to share content on Instagram, and they’re a great way to interact with your audience casually.

Because Stories only last for 24 hours (unless you add them to your Highlights reel), you’re under less pressure to make them look and sound incredible. You can also use your Story ads for time-sensitive promotions and sales if you want to, because of their ephemeral nature.

The critical thing to remember is that just because Stories are more relaxed than standard IG posts, that doesn’t mean you don’t need to be professional with them. Remember that you’re still showcasing your brand, and people can always screen-shot your content if they want to hold it against you.

A great example of a company that used Story Instagram advertising successfully is “Watcha Play,” a subscription and streaming service for South Korean entertainment. Through Stories, they reached 23% more customers and achieved 2.2 times higher return on their ad spending budget. You can see the content published on the Instagram business site here:


When to Use Story Ads

According to a post from Instagram, the most successful ads on Stories are the ones that show off products, deliver a mobile-friendly experience, and remain relevant to the needs of the audience. Our advice is to use Stories when you want to connect with your audience on a new level. Stories are immersive pieces of content, and they’re particularly useful when you have information that you only want to share for a short time.

Making the Most of Instagram Advertising

However you choose to get involved with Instagram advertising, it’s fair to say that it’s a fantastic way to improve your brand reach and extend your marketing potential. Instagram ads give brands an excellent opportunity to attract additional followers to their feed, and with advanced targeting, you can make sure that you only spend your budget on the fans that are right for you.

Just remember to keep an eye on your campaigns with Instagram Insights, so you can determine what kind of Instagram advertising is delivering the best results for your company. The more you watch your metrics, the more you’ll know how to spend your money effectively.

Need more help with your Instagram strategy? Let Upleap take some of the stress off your shoulders. We’ll handle the Instagram advertising, so you don’t have to. Sign up for your free trial today!


By Rebekah Carter

Hi! I'm Rebekah, a full-time writer specializing in the spaces of digital content, business, social media and tech.

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