instagram advertising

Instagram Advertising: The essentials

Here at Magic Mouse Media, we’ve previously taken a look at both Facebook Advertising and LinkedIn Advertising. In this latest edition to our social media guide, we will be taking a look at the world of Instagram Advertising, and what different options are available to you on the popular platform.

Launched on the 6th October 2010, Instagram’s feed is comprised of videos and images only. Text is restricted to commenting and messaging, and the main attraction here is the ability to post a picture or video of just about anything, and apply various filters to these images and videos in order to breathe new life into them in unique and fun ways.

Apart from being a great place to view pictures of cute dogs and drunken fails, Instagram is a powerful marketing tool, with a plethora of tools in your marketing arsenal just waiting to be used. We’ll dive into them in this Magic Mouse Media guide.

Instagram Advertising Options

First off, let’s take a look at the different Instagram Advertising options that are available to you.

  • Photo Ads
  • Video Ads
  • Carousel Ads
  • Stories Ads
  • Collection Ads
  • Standard Posts
  • Hashtags

For different ad specs for each of these options, check out this great guide from Karola Karlson!

Linking an Instagram account to Facebook Adverts

To get started with Instagram Advertising, you will need to link up your Instagram account to your Facebook account. This is because you create adverts for Instagram through the Facebook Ad manager.

To link up your Instagram account with your Facebook page, simply navigate to your Facebook, page, select Settings in the top right corner of the page, and select Instagram from the menu. From here, you will be able to link up your Instagram account to your page.

instagram account linking

From here, you can navigate to the Facebook ad creation, where you will be allowed to create an Instagram advert when creating a new campaign. You will need to choose an objective that supports Instagram. Creating an advert, selecting your target audience, and setting your budget all function as they do with Facebook Advertising, so for more details on how to set up the little details when creating an advert for Instagram, please see this page, and refer to the ‘Advert’ section of Magic Mouse Media’s guide.

For Instagram, the objectives you can choose from are as follows;

  • Brand Awareness
  • Reach
  • Traffic
  • App Installs
  • Engagement
  • Video Views
  • Conversions

Do remember that you can set the advert to run on both Facebook and Instagram at the same time, meaning you can effectively get more bang for your buck! You can toggle whether you want adverts to run on Instagram, Facebook or both at the ‘Placement’ section of advert creation. For the purpose of this guide, be sure to turn Instagram on!

instagram placements

Photo Ads

  • The first type of advert that is available for you in Instagram Advertising are Photo Ads. These appear in the feed as normal photos do, and they can be in both landscape and square format. You are allowed to attach a link below the photo (as shown from ‘Learn More’ that will take your customers elsewhere, perhaps to a page with a form or a new product you have released. You will also be able to attach a block of text below the photo.
  • Users will also be able to like, comment and send your post to other users.
  • It is best to create an appealing graphic that highlights what exactly it is you are promoting, and adding a short amount of text in the bio that explains more. Keep it short, and sweet, and try to avoid using text in the picture itself, unless you have an attractive and simple way of highlighting what it is you are offering. For example, a simple ‘50% Sale’ may be enough to catch a users attention.
instagram advert photo ad

Video Ads

  • Next up is Video Ads. These are very similar to how Photo Ads appear, and follow the same exact format, except that apart from a picture, you have a video instead. It’s often argued that video ads can be more effective than a simple photo ad, so you may want to consider prioritising one of these over a photo ad.
  • Video ads can be up to 60 seconds long, but it is found that people will only really want to watch the first 10 seconds of a video. Based on if it is interesting enough, they then may decide to watch the whole video. Make sure to make the first 10 seconds of your video as eye grabbing as possible, and include what the consumer needs to know in this time as well if possible.
instagram video ads

Carousel Ads

  • Carousel Ads are a fantastic, interactive way to advertise your product, and when crafted right, could tell a story with each picture as you scroll along.
  • Essentially, Carousel Ads allow you create a series of up to 10 images or videos on Instagram, inviting users to scrolls along to see the next part of a ‘story’, or another new product you have released. Consider using carousel ads to advertise a new product in a fun, interactive way.
  • For example, if you were advertising a new car, you could have the first portion of the car in the first image, the second portion of the car in the second image, and the final part of the car in the last image. Alternatively, they are a great way for advertising multiple products in one advert, so if you are releasing a new batch of products, consider using Carousel ads.
instagram carousel ad 1
instagram carousel ad 2

Stories Ads

  • The next option you have available to you are stories ads. Stories can be viewed at the top of your Instagram feed, and enable you to add photos or videos (up to 10 seconds long) on your feed. You can have multiple stories active at once, and enable you to interact with your users in a different way.
  • They are great for highlighting if you are present at a current event in your followers local area, or if you are wanting to highlight a brand new ‘Deal of the Day’ offer that has went live on your website. You can also considering using them as a way of running a competition (see the example below!), or to run a poll or ask questions of your followers.
  • You can also use your location and hashtag stickers in these posts, which enable you to be found by a wider audience, no longer restricting you to just your followers! You can also add links in your stories, which is a great way to redirect traffic and see how well stories can perform.
  • Please note that attaching stickers, hashtags and other interactive features is not possible through the ad creation, and must be done as regular post through Instagram. These features will only be accessible through your followers, or people who search for a hashtag in your story.
instagram story

Collection Ads

  • Collection ads are not often used in Instagram Advertising, however, they offer a viable way to advertise a collection of products, as the title suggests.
  • They essentially allow you to advertise a whole catalogue of products on Instagram, and take it one step further by allowing your customers to purchase and browse more products directly from the link provided on the Instagram advert.
  • They are a great way of advertising to your followers that a sale is currently happening for a variety of goods, or a unique and interesting way to advertise a whole new range of products that you have just released.

Standard Posts

  • Finally, don’t forget that standard posts are a viable way in their own right of advertising a product! You don’t have to put money behind a post for it to necessarily be a good advertising post. Photo posts, video posts, and even regular stories can be a great way to advertise any product, or highlight any event that you have coming up, whether it is hosted by your business or not.
  • Remember, visuals are extremely important on Instagram, so take time to craft the perfect visual for your post, and remember to make sure your descriptions are quick and to the point, but include the necessary information your customer would like to know.
  • Here’s a little tip from Magic Mouse Media! Consider using stock images. You can find a wide variety of stock images for your business use, and they can often be the most effective way at garnering likes and grabbing someone’s attention on Instagram. Sites like Pixabay and Envato hold thousands of stock images just waiting to be discovered! You are guaranteed to find an image to suit your needs on either of these websites, and there are plenty more stock image sites out there just waiting to be found!
  • While we’re at it, have another tip! You should always reply to comments on Instagram as soon as possible, and like and comment on as many relevant posts as you can (try not to be too spammy though!). Instagram has a very strict algorithm, and if they see that your account does not engage with others often, or reply to comments, they will push you further down a users feed, even if they follow you, in favour of that user being able to see other more active accounts. Delete spammy comments, but always be on your toes, and check back on your Instagram account often!


  • These don’t necessarily have to be inserted into your posts, but they can certainly help boost your reach and get a few people aware of what you can offer, and what your business does. Instagram allows you to use up to 30 hashtags in the description of the post. They work exactly like they do on Twitter. Essentially, anyone who searches for a hashtag will see all the posts that have this hashtag in the description, regardless of if the users follow that account or not.
  • The trick is to use the right hashtag for each post. There is little to gain from using a hashtag that has been used 10 million times, for example, as your post will more likely than not get lost in the sea of people using this hashtag. Rather, use hashtags that have been used from 20,000 times to 2 million times. You want hashtags that have been used a fair bit (so you can be sure someone will actually search for them), but aren’t used to often, so that if someone searches for that hashtag, you are at the top of the feed.
  • For instance, if you are advertising a stall at an upcoming Freshers’ Fair at Newcastle University, the hashtag #newcastleuniversity has been used around 40,000 times. Pair it up with this post, and increase your exposure!
  • Note that you can include hashtags in your comments, but it is not recommend, as the second you publish a post, your hashtags will take effect. Wait even a minute to include a hashtag in your comment, and your post could already be buried beneath other posts with similar hashtags.
  • To find out the top hashtags that trending, and to search for how well hashtags you would like to use are performing, click the link here to head on over to Top-Hashtags.com!
instagram hashtags
  • For a better appearance when writing your bio and hashtags, we suggest writing the description, and then using five bullet points afterwards. After the bullet points, insert your hashtags. This helps the post look neat, and just that little bit more professional. See the picture below for an example of this in practise.
bullet points

Bonus round! Bio’s and Links!

  • Surprise! We thought it would be best to inform you about your bio on Instagram, and how you can use it to redirect traffic to your company’s website, or a certain product page through simply placing a link there. You can use this to give visitors to your Instagram page a brief overview of your company and what you offer, and also a link to a website or alternative landing page. You also have the choice of using hashtags in your bio, furthering your reach and chance of reaching your target audience.
  • Do note that you can have 150 characters and one external link in your Instagram bio. However, there are ways to include multiple links in your bio through one link, as we will cover after this image!
instagram bio
  • For a great way to link your Instagram posts to certain websites, blog posts or products, we would highly recommend checking out Later. This allows you to link up every Instagram post you upload to a specific page of your choosing. For example, if you have a new offer for an out of this world burger and chips combo, you can link up that image with the page that contains the discount code for this offer. What’s more, you can do this on multiple images and videos.
  • Doing this can enable you to build a collection of different posts that when clicked, will take the user to where they want to go. To maximise effectiveness, it is recommend that you put your Linkin link in your bio, so that people can see all of your previous posts that have been linked to an external page. Perhaps Magic Mouse Media may do a guide on Later at some point soon….?

And we’re done!

We know, we know, that was a lot to take in! Hopefully this guide will have done a good job at convincing you at how powerful Instagram can be when it comes to advertising your companies latest product. If you have any further questions regarding Instagram advertising, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us through our Facebook, Twitter or Instagram pages. We will be more than happy to help!

We will see you very soon for the final addition to our social media guide, Twitter Advertising! Until next time!

The Magic Mouse Media Team