Here Are the Instagram Ads Strategies That Are Actually Working

Strategies for Instagram ads comin’ atcha.

Selecting the Creative

  • Most businesses are highlighting their top performing content to use in their ads. Strong engagement usually transpires with lifestyle imagery versus straight up product stock photos. While it might be tempting to use those in a sponsored post capacity to differentiate your paid content from your organic one, this is a bad idea for 2 reasons.
  • First, it might reflect poorly on your brand because people will get annoyed to see a very clear advertising in the feed they’ve been carefully curating for months/years — you will stick out in a bad way. And second, Instagram is about discovery: showing your followers and potential audience members how your product can fit within their existence, not bombarding them with items devoid of context.
  • Think about who your audience is. What resonates with it. What your brand image is and why that appeals to those followers. When you’re promoting posts on Instagram, you shouldn’t all of a sudden change your content branding strategy to try and scoop up other types of people in an effort to grow. If your new followers aren’t keen on the same things as the audience you’ve spent years cultivating, it’ll result in people ditching you, which is a lose-lose. Go deep, not wide.
This creative highlights Airbnbn’s community ethos. Was this ad a win for them?

Technical Components

  • The sweet spot for many businesses is running a new add on a weekly basis. Depending on your targeting, spending $100 will garner an approximate reach of 10k, give or take.
  • Most of the brands we spoke with are running new ads every week, and those with over 100K followers are spending above $2,000 per month. That means a new creative every week that runs for 7 days. That same category also garners well over 1,000 clicks per ad.
  • Accounts that are spending in the hundreds per month are not seeing results that come close to those spending in the thousands, both in reach and in clicks.
  • We learned from multiple sources that spending more on a single ad yields better results than allocating smaller dollar amounts to multiple posts. That’s how to get the most out of your spend.
  • The success benchmarks on paid posts vary from engagement on the ad and driving awareness to the brand, to the actual return it generates. What we’ve observed is that companies that spend a high dollar amount per ad are more focused on ROI and sales, and the ones with smaller allotted budgets are more concerned with brand equity.
While this is a beautiful visual, this Intermix ad could potentially yield greater results if the image telegraphed more of a lifestyle context.
  1. Determining what your goals are. What is it you’re looking to achieve with running ads? More brand awareness, higher engagement, growing your Instagram audience, driving traffic, broader reach, direct sales? There are so many objectives brands can play and experiment with, and they are not mutually exclusive. But remember to stay realistic! Paying for exposure doesn’t automatically translate to miracle results.
  2. Carefully selecting your creatives and format (single photo, video, carousel post, etc.).
  3. Determining frequency and budget, aka how many ads per month to run for how many days, and how much per ad total.
  4. Targeting: the more specific you get, the greater conversion rate you’ll have. This is where knowing your audience and your customer demographic becomes absolutely crucial: as an expert of your own brand, this is something you should know!



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Dash Hudson

Dash Hudson


A modern social marketing software empowering global brands to move at the speed of social.