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Instagram Advertising : Complete Guide + free instagram sponsored ads

Instagram Advertising

free instagram sponsored ads

Instagram is one of the most popular social networks in the World and advertising on the social media platform provides brands with an opportunity to reach an audience of millions. If your objective is to market your business, create value and build a brand simultaneously. Instagram Advertising via Facebook, automatically gives your business a number of advantages and a number of paths to take to achieve your overall advertising goals.

What Is Instagram Advertising?

Instagram advertising is method of paying to post sponsored content on the Instagram platform to reach a larger and more targeted audience. While there are many reasons a business or individual may decide to advertise, Instagram Advertising is often utilized to grow brand exposure, website traffic, generate new leads, and move current leads down the funnel (and hopefully towards converting).

Since Instagram is such a visual platform, text ads are not a thing here. Rather you need an image, set of images, or video (which can be accompanied by text) to reach your audience with Instagram ads.

The exciting part? Instagram advertising works! In March 2017, over 120 million Instagrammers visited a website, got directions, called, emailed, or direct messaged to learn about a business based on an Instagram ad. In conclusion, 60% of people say they discover new products on the platform, and 75% of Instagrammers take action after being inspired by a post.

Similar to Facebook ads, throwing some money behind a post will lead to more exposure for your brand, as well as more control over who can see your post.


Types of Instagram Advertising

1. Photo Ads

These are obviously the most common type of ads on Instagram since photo sharing is the most prominent feature of the platform. The photo sharing option was once only a means for Instagram account holders to share pictures of their choice with people that they had followed or connected with through Instagram. Today, of course, the scenario has changed, and people are using photos to promote products, services, brands, events, and much more.

Photo ads require content that is relevant to whatever is being promoted, creative captions that give the audience more information about the product/service, tags of the brand(s) and people involved, and the relevant hashtags so that the intended audience can find their way to the post faster.

Both brands and Influencers use photo ads quite generously, so their accounts are primarily filled with photo content that is being used to promote something.


  • These can be square or landscape.
  • The recommended image size for Instagram ads depends on which format you use:
    • Square
      • Minimum resolution (600 x 600 pixels) Maximum resolution (1936 x 1936 pixels)
    • Landscape
      • Minimum resolution (600 x 315 pixels)
      • Maximum resolution (1936 x 1936 pixels)
    • Vertical
      • Minimum resolution (600 x 750 pixels)
      • Maximum resolution (1936 x 1936 pixels)


2. Use Video As Instagram Advertising

Bring your ad to life with a video! If you’ve put the time in to make a quality video content, then you should absolutely be promoting it through your Instagram feed.

While most video files are supported by Instagram, they recommend using H.264 compression, square pixels, fixed frame rate, progressive scan, and stereo AAC audio compression at 128kbps+ (PRO TIP: if your video is not meeting these requirement you can always run it through the video transcoder, Handbrake, to make these adjustments).    


  • Can be landscape or square format and up to 60 seconds.
  • Video size: Your video’s file size can be up to 4GB max.

3. IGTV ads for Instagram

IGTV is a relatively new feature on Instagram that is being used by brands and influencers to post video content that isn’t promotional but wouldn’t necessarily count as an ad. For example, when Rihanna launched her beauty brand “Fenty Beauty”, she used IGTV extensively to post video content like tutorials and real user reviews of her products, and those videos are still available for viewers to watch anytime they want, similar to YouTube.

It worked pretty well for the brand, with more and more users requesting more of such videos. On IGTV, viewers can post videos even as long as 20 minutes, so this overcomes the restriction that video posting on Instagram feeds has. Choose a wise IGTV strategy!

4. Instagram’s Multi-Photo Carousel Ads

With Instagram’s carousel ads, advertisers are able to showcase multiple photos within a single ad as well as include a link to the brand’s website or webpage.

The creativity of displaying carousel ads lies in the advertiser’s hands. You can “tell a story” with a sequence of photos, or simply display the product you are advertising using different shots.

Instagram carousel ads are beneficial for both advertisers as well as potential customers. It allows the advertiser to showcase the product in different lights and it allows the potential customers to retain more visual information on a product that they are likely interested in. With the bonus of an added link, viewers can be directed to the brand’s website.


  • Minimum number of cards: 2
  • Maximum number of cards: 10
  • Image file type: .JPG or .PNG
  • Video file type: Supported file formats
  • Maximum file size: 4GB
  • Length of video: Up to 60 seconds
  • Image maximum file size: 30MB
  • Recommended resolution: At least 1080 x 1080px
  • Carousel ratio: 1:1

5. Collection Ads on Instagram

Collection ads on Instagram is a great way to help potential customers discover your products, services or content.

Also Instagram ad type allows businesses and brands to craft a message around their story with photos, videos or both.

In other words, collection ads create value by allowing businesses to present a brand story surrounding interests, products and content.


  • Recommended number of images: 3-10
  • Image file type: .JPG or .PNG
  • Video file type: .MOV or .MP
  • Recommended image ratio of 16:9, 1:1 or 2:3

6. Story Ads

Instagram stories are a hit feature on Instagram and nearly 80% of the active users on Instagram posts stories at least 2-3 times a week. There is also a major chunk of users who post stories on a regular basis, which mean there’s a lot of traffic being generated through stories. Hence, story ads are all about clever targeting and placement.

Story ads appear typically while a user is switching between the stories of two different accounts. These ads are backlinked with a “swipe up” option. Which leads back either to the brand’s profile or to their website. This is a great way to redirect users to a brand’s page and content.

Story ads appear only for a few seconds before the next story appears, and once gone they cannot be revisited. This is probably the only drawback of the option. However, most users are aware of this, so they’re more likely to “swipe up” if they’re curious enough. We listed a few impressive Instagram story ads to inspire you.

Also Read:

Instagram Stories Stickers: Make Your Stories Stand Out!



  • All feed photo and video dimensions are now supported (from 1:91 to 4:5)
    • File type
      • .MP4 or .MOV (Video)
      • .JPG or .PNG (Photo)
    • Maximum file size
      • 4GB (Video)
      • 30MB (Photo)
    • Video Length
      • Maximum: 15 seconds
      • Images show for five seconds by default
    • Dimensions
      • Recommended resolution: 1080 x 1920
      • Minimum: 600 x 1067
    • Supported Codecs
      • Video: H.264, VP8
      • Audio: AAC, Vorbis

Is Instagram Advertising Right for Your Business?

This leads to the obvious question: Who is on Instagram? Is it just teenagers taking selfies? Or 20-somethings looking for recipes? Also what about older populations? Are they “gramming” their grandchildren?

Unfortunately for all you marketers targeting the grandparent demographic, Instagram does tend to skew towards a more youthful audience, with the largest percentage of users falling in the age range of 18-29 (55%), then between 30-49 years-old (28%). Only 11% of Instagram users are between the ages of 50-64, and just 4% are adults over 65.

According to Hootsuite, the majority of Instagram users live in urban areas (32%), 28% of users live in the suburbs, and 18% of users in the country. While there are more women on Instagram than men, the gender gap is not as large as it once was.

If this doesn’t sound like the audience you’re targeting, you still should not dismiss the social network as a useless opportunity. Similarly to what happened with Facebook, more and more adults over 34 will likely be hopping on the Instagram bandwagon as the platform continues to grow. Also, if you are working with the 4% of adults over 65, you can always target that demographic directly…

Also Read:

Native Ads : What are different types of Native Advertising ?


Instagram advertising works!

Similarly, other social advertising platforms, Instagram gives you the granular control to target specific genders, age ranges, locations, interests, behaviors, and more. You can even target a custom or lookalike audience so you’re showing ads only to your direct list of leads or those who have a similar makeup.

What advertisers should really latch onto is the fact that Instagram uses Facebook’s demographic data to serve up ads to the appropriate parties. This makes the tool super valuable for advertisers looking to target a niche audience, because Facebook already has a thorough history and thorough demographic targeting options.

Instagram advertising can be especially powerful if you’re in a visual or creative industry. Such as the restaurant business or craft marketing.


Marketing on Instagram is not just a smart idea, it’s also a convenient one. There are many options for a brand to promote their content, and with so many active users, the day-to-day audience is a considerably large number. The way things are going, there’s a high probability of more ad-friendly features being introduced on the popular social media platform, as the number of businesses on it is also very likely to increase.