The beginning of Instagram was a social media platform that is made for establishing a connection with friends based on sharing pictures and experimenting with new filters on those pictures. The usage of the website, however, has expanded in this age to be a major marketing platform for brands of all sizes and most industries.

You may have seen on your Instagram feed brands like Lululemon and Walmart on the platform and wondered if that strategy is worth implementing for a small sized business.

A citation by Instagram itself, around 60% of users actually use the platform as a way to find new products, and around 200 million users visit no less than on business profile in a day. As a small business, you can always use this platform as a way to increase your reach with potential customers from all over the world. However, this activity needs a strategy which will help you use the application to arrive in the feeds of customers who will actually be interested. 

What are Instagram Ads?

Instagram ads are sponsored adverts that appear in front of a specific audience on the platform. Instagram ads, like Facebook ads (which you can control through your Facebook ads manager), allow you to promote content to a very particular audience.

For example, if your selected niche market is for women within the age range of 24 – 35 years old, and are residing inside the 10 miles radius from your store, Instagram ads is a tool that you can utilize to make that choice.

Instagram ads can be targeted to people based on factors like demographics, geography, behavior, interests or previous interactions with your brand or other similar brands. 

How do Instagram Ads Differ?

Instagram ads have different types, which can make it a bit scary to start, but it is much simpler then how it seems.

Following is a list of different types of Instagram ads: 

  1. Stories ads: Stories appear at the top of readers’ newsfeed for 24 hours before disappearing. Stories are more creative than standard Instagram posts and have a higher rate of engagement.
  2. Photo ads: Photo advertising display in the main Instagram feed with a “sponsored” tag, the tag being its only variation from a normal Instagram post. They are effective for enhancing brand recognition because they mix in with other material.
  3. Video ads: Similar to photo advertising, however instead of a photo, it’s a video. These are usually more appealing to the eye and have a higher chance of being viral.
  4. Carousel ads: Users can swipe through multiple images in this type of advertising. It’s ideal for showcasing product collections or displaying multiple perspectives of the same item.
  5. Collection ads: Advertisements with three product photos and a cover image (or video). These advertisements direct users to a full-screen landing page dubbed “Instant experience.”
  6. Explore ads: Instagram’s Explore page curates content based on users’ previous app activity. Businesses can now target individuals based on their specific interests. This gives a chance for the business posts to be related with their specific interest.
  7. IGTV and Reels ads: Video ads that get displayed with other engaging content that is compatible with it.
  8. Instagram Shopping ads: Businesses can use shopping advertising to tag physical objects in their adverts. Users can purchase the things on a website by clicking on them.

The first step to engage with Instagram ads is to have a business Instagram account. You need to make sure that the account has sufficient information about your brand for the audience to understand what it sells and how to interact with it. You can then start to manage your ads using the Ad Center of the platform.


There is a high variation in Instagram ads that is based on multiple factors like the type of audience you are trying to reach and the industry that you operate within. High category ads can reach a rate of $5/click, as for small businesses, specifically ones in an industry with less competition, the rates can be around ¢20/click. The best method is to set a predetermined budget to make sure that you do not overspend.

Five Methods to Implement using Instagram Ads to increase your Reach

After the ads help you increase your reach, the question that you have to ask yourself, what to do with that attention? How to make it count? First you will need to decide on the end goal of your Instagram ad.

Following are the methods that will help you utilize the ads as a tool for your business growth: 

  1. Create new products: Make sure that when the targeted audience visits your page, you have something to show for it.  
  2. Drive brand awareness: Make sure that the posts you use in your ads are contributing to your brand image.
  3. Build your email list: Email lists allow you to communicate directly with your target audience. To collect email addresses and establish an email marketing campaign, use ads or promote a contest. 
  4. Drive sales: Small businesses can be used by small businesses to stimulate the users to visit their websites and start making sales.
  5. Local events: Instagram ad allows you to target audience from a specific geographical location. Increase posts and start using Instagram stories and highlights, and use this increased reach to promote an event that can be physically attended. 

Optimize Instagram Ads

The aforementioned steps are the first step to knowing the nature of Instagram ads, how can they be utilized, and how to formulate them. However, you have to note that optimization is a process that never stops, the constant upgrading of ads is an actual must. Following are primary ways that you can follow to increase the clicks you get while keeping your costs at a minimum. 

  • Use Detailed Ad Targeting: You may target people on Instagram based on their location, demographics, interests, or actions. Lookalike audiences are another option, as they target people who are similar to your current client base. Try out different targeting settings and see which ones produce the greatest results.
  • Test Different Photos and Copy: A/B testing can be used to determine which photographs and copy your audience reacts to. This process does not need a specific tool as Facebook offers a built-in testing tool for the ads posted on Facebook and Instagram.
  • Use Retargeting to Reach Warm Leads: Businesses can use retargeting to show advertising to those who have previously interacted with their brand. They might have liked a post or visited your website, for example. These people are more likely to convert because they already know who you are.


Instagram advertisements are an effective marketing tool that can aid in the growth of your small business. To engage a larger audience, combine them with additional strategies such as hosting contests. 

Optimize Instagram Ads by: 

  • Using detailed ad targeting
  • Testing different images and copy 
  • Leveraging retargeting to reach people who already know your brand 
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