Instagram Ads: Don’t F*!$ It up!

Instagram Ads are coming, whether you are ready or not. And alas, marketers will inevitably take advantage of the new channel, irritate loyal users with poor targeting and irrelevant ads and turn what I think is one of the most impactful publishing platforms out there today, into a ghost town. Sound familiar? Wait … was that Facebook?!

If I recall correctly there were screams of protest when ads were introduced on Facebook, followed by “ads will ruin [Facebook].” Well, Facebook is still one of the most visited sites in the world today and while yes, ads can seem irrelevant and intrusive, I don’t know many people who are leaving Facebook because of the ads specifically.

As digital marketers, we are responsible for developing campaigns that resonate with our target audience. The content we create can vary immensely, as can the delivery method, but one very important, “boring” and often overlooked aspect all this digital marketing stuff, are the platforms we use every day to manage [digital] campaigns. Search, social, SEO, video advertising… they all require the use of some pretty sophisticated tools; if you don’t have a clear understanding of how these work, the campaign will likely fail (and you’ll waste a lot of money in the process.)

So before you even get started with Instagram Ads, you need to understand the basics.

1. Access via Facebook Business Manager – https://business.facebook.comFacebook is doing a gradual rollout of Instagram to everyone. If you don’t see an option in Facebook Business to add it, it’s not there yet. Be patient. Or if you have a Facebook rep, reach out and tell them you want in.

instagram ads facebook

2. Power Editor is where most advertisers will go to set up their Instagram campaigns. Certain social platforms such as such as Adobe, Kenshoo, Nanigans, etc. have access as well via API. Choosing the Instagram placement is easy (almost too easy)

instagram ads

3. Creative specs:

Must be square format
File type: .jpg, .png
Min dimensions: 640×640
Max dimensions: 1936×1936
Max file size: 10MB
20% text rule applies!
Must be square format
File type: .mp4
Min length: 2.5 sec
Max length: 15 sec
Max file size: 10MB
Thumbnail required! (follow image specs)


4. Ad Formats

instagram ads formats

5. Campaign Objectives are similar to what we already have in Facebook (which is great, because they’ve streamlined the options significantly based on advertiser feedback)

instagram ads campaign objectives

6. Targeting: this is where we should all be thankful that Facebook acquired Instagram. Advertisers will have access to all the current Facebook targeting options, including custom audiences!

  • Facebook categories
  • Partner categories
  • Custom Audiences & Lookalikes

Best practices. Instagram has some great resources on what to do and not to do when creating engaging content for ads. Screenshots below can be found on their Instagram Business site




Ian Mackie About the author
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