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A Beginner’s Guide to Creating Instagram Ads for Boosting Your Brand

In the ever-evolving landscape of digital marketing, Instagram has emerged as a powerhouse for businesses to captivate their audience through visually stunning content. Therefore, understanding how to run effective Instagram ads is a crucial skill.

I am Jane from Influence, the leading marketing agency in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. In this blog, I’ll break down the steps to create Instagram ads for your businesses. No fancy jargon, just simple tips to make your brand shine. 

What are Instagram ads?

Instagram ads are special posts that promote a business’s products or services. These posts can show up in different places, like your regular Instagram feed or stories, or both. They have pictures or videos, some writing, and a link to the company’s website. The cool thing about advertising on Instagram is that it uses information Facebook users share to show your ads to specific groups of people. (Facebook and Instagram are owned by Meta.)

Instagram is super popular right now, with over 1 billion people using it every month. People are really into it, and they use it a lot.

Because Meta knows a lot about its users, businesses can create ads that target specific groups. Advertising on Instagram is also not very expensive compared to other ways, and you can adjust your ad plans based on how much money you want to spend.

Which businesses need Instagram ads?

which businesses need instagram ads

Instagram is a visual platform, making it ideal for businesses of any industry to showcase their products and services. 

Some popular industries that run Instagram ads are:

  • Fashion and Beauty Brands
  • Food and Beverage
  • Fitness and Wellness
  • Travel and Hospitality
  • Event Planning
  • Home and Decoration
  • Personal Brands and Influencers
  • Artists and Creatives

While Instagram ads are popular in diverse industries, it’s recommended for businesses with compelling visual assets. If a business lacks such assets, using Facebook ads may be a more suitable alternative.

How to create an ad on Instagram

Before you start

You have a few tools to create Instagram ads:

Choose based on your company size and the number of ads you plan to run. For most marketers, Ads Manager works well. Use Ads Manager to build ad campaigns to maximize the benefits of Instagram’s advanced ad targeting, creative options, and reporting features.

You’ll need a Facebook page to set up Instagram ad campaigns, and all the planning is done through Facebook Ads Manager. No need for a separate Instagram account.

Before you start:

  • Have a distinct brand and product that catches attention. brand awareness campaigns don’t yield fantastic results.
  • Use high-quality visuals for successful ads.
  • Set up a Facebook business page.
  • Prepare a landing page for directing traffic.
  • While you can run ads without it, having an Instagram account helps understand the platform better.

Now, let’s get started!

Step 1: Create a new campaign

After choosing Ads Manager, you’ll have the option to either see all existing campaigns or create a new one. To begin with an Instagram ad, opt to create a new campaign.

create a new campaign


Step 2: Choose your objective

You’ll observe various campaign objective options to pick from. However, for your ad to qualify for Instagram, you should choose from this short list:

  • Awareness: Reach a broad audience likely to remember your ad.
  • Traffic: Direct people to your website, Instagram Shop, or app.
  • Engagement: Boost views, likes, comments, and shares on your Instagram posts.
  • Leads: Gather business leads through Instagram ads or encourage information-sharing for content.
  • App promotion: Boost engagement and installs for your app.
  • Sales: Target individuals likely to purchase your products or services and drive more sales.

Select the objective that aligns best with your goals and click “Continue.”

choose your objectives


Step 3: Name your campaign

Once you’ve chosen your objective you’ll be asked to provide a name for your campaign. While it may appear simple, it’s advisable to assign a specific name aligned with your campaign objective. This helps in effectively managing and monitoring your campaigns. Once you’ve settled on a name, click on the “Next” button to proceed.

Step 4: Set your budget and schedule

Select “New Ad Set” from the menu on the left. At this step, you can specify your budget and the duration of your campaign. There are two budgeting options to consider:

  • Daily Budget: Setting a maximum daily spending limit, suitable for continuous advertising.
  • Lifetime Budget: Setting an overall spending limit for your entire campaign, beneficial for ads with a defined end date.


set ad budget

Within the “Ad Scheduling” section, you have to pick the exact times your campaign begins and ends, down to the minute. You can also decide if your ad will only show at certain hours of the day or on particular days of the week

Next, you’ll come to “Optimization for Ad Delivery”. You have three choices that affect who sees your ads:

  • Link Clicks: Your ads are optimized to get the most clicks to your website at the lowest cost, using the platform’s algorithm.
  • Impressions: Your ads are shown to people as many times as possible. This is the option you’d choose if you’ve ever seen the same ad on your feed all day.
  • Daily Unique Reach: Your ad is shown to people up to once a day. People might see your ad multiple times, but not more than once a day.

After selecting your delivery method, you need to determine your bid amount, which influences how effectively your ad is delivered. Behind the scenes, you’re in competition with other advertisers in a constant auction to reach a similar audience.


ad delivery

You can choose between “Manual” or “Automatic” bidding. “Automatic” lets Facebook’s algorithm handle ad delivery, aiming for the most clicks at the lowest cost. “Manual” allows you to set a price for link clicks. If a click is valuable to you, consider setting a higher bid than suggested to outcompete others.

You can pay based on impressions or link clicks, depending on your preference.

Then, you schedule your ads. Your options are:

  • Standard: Shows your ads throughout the day.
  • Accelerated: Helps you reach an audience quickly for time-sensitive ads. Note: this option requires manual bid pricing.

Lastly, give your ad set a name so you can easily identify it in Ads Manager later on.

Step 5: Identify your audience

Now it’s the moment to select your target audience. You have the option to use “Saved Audiences” from previous data or campaigns, such as custom audience data or successful past audiences. If you don’t have one, you can create a new audience based on various factors:

  • Location
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Language
  • Relationship
  • Education
  • Work
  • Financial Status
  • Home
  • Ethnic Affinity
  • Generation
  • Parents
  • Politics
  • Life Events
  • Interests
  • Behaviors
  • Connections


choose your target audience

You can make a custom audience to reach those who have interacted with your business before, or a lookalike audience to connect with new people on Facebook who resemble your most valuable audiences.

Facebook offers an “Audience Definition” in the right-hand column to show you the scope of your chosen audience. This provides instant feedback on how specific or broad your audience is, along with an estimated reach for your ad. 

Step 6: Choose your ad placements

In the “Placements” section, you can determine where your ads will be displayed. There are two choices:

  • Advantage+ Placements: Ads will be shown to your audience wherever they are likely to perform best.
  • Manual Placements: You can specifically choose where your ad will appear (and where it won’t). For instance, if you want your ads limited to Instagram and not on Facebook, you can make this selection using Manual Placements.

ad placements

For those new to Instagram advertising, it is recommended to opt for “Advantage+ Placements.”

If you decide on manual placements, Ads Manager will provide technical requirements for each option. To ensure your visual assets are optimized for each format, refer to the notes below.

File type: 

  • JPEG
  • PNG


  • Recommended: 125 characters
  • Maximum: 2,200 characters

Square image or video ad: 

  • Recommended size: 1080 x 1080 pixel
  • Minimum resolution accepted: 600 x 600 pixels
  • Aspect ratio: 1:1

Landscape image or video ad: 

  • Recommended size: 1200 x 628 pixels
  • Minimum resolution accepted: 600 x 600 pixels
  • Aspect ratio: 1:1

Step 7: Create and publish your Instagram ad

Select “New Ad” from the menu on the left, which will open a screen for customizing your ad. In this space, you can modify your ad name, choose from various Instagram ad formats, and incorporate creative elements like images, videos, headlines, and CTAs (Call to actions). Additionally, you can include copy, website links, and tracking parameters.

To monitor conversions from your ad, it’s crucial to choose the Facebook Pixel in the “Tracking” section. Once connected to your website or app, the Facebook pixel enables you to gain insights into how your audience engages with your business after clicking on your ad.

After completing all the necessary details, click “Publish” in the bottom right-hand corner of your screen. Your Instagram ads will then run based on the designated budget and timeline. Regularly check your Instagram Analytics to assess the performance of your ads.

Step 8: Report on the performance

After launching your ads on Instagram, it’s essential to monitor their performance. You have the flexibility to revisit and adjust various elements of the ad. If you spot any errors or if your image isn’t performing as well as desired, you can make necessary modifications.

To assess your ad results, use Ads Manager. Within Ads Manager, there’s a comprehensive dashboard offering an overview of all your campaigns. Without customizing settings, you’ll find data on reach, cost per result, and total amount spent.


instagram ads metrics

In the upper right-hand corner, you’ll find a “Columns: Performance” button. Clicking the dropdown menu allows you to customize columns, enabling you to select specific data you wish to view. The available metrics cover a range of categories such as:

  • Performance (reach, results, frequency, etc.)
  • Engagement (post likes, post comments, post shares, etc.)
  • Videos (video views, average percent of video viewed, etc.)
  • Website (checkouts, payment details, adds to cart, etc.)
  • Apps (installs, engagement, cost per app engagement, etc.)
  • Events (event responses, cost per event response, etc.)
  • Clicks (unique clicks, social clicks, CTR, CPC)
  • Settings (start date, end date, ad set name, delivery, bid, ad ID, and objective)

Regularly reviewing these metrics provides valuable insights into the performance of your Instagram ads.

Tips for Instagram ads

Create ads with a mobile-centric approach

With over 4 billion users accessing social media through mobile devices, it is crucial to tailor your creative content for mobile viewing rather than desktop. Consider the following tips for designing ads with a mobile-first perspective:

  • When shooting video content, opt for a vertical (9×16) format, as it is easier to crop to 4×5.
  • Limit the amount of text in your ads. If text is necessary, choose large font sizes that are easily readable on mobile screens.
  • Incorporate animations and motion graphics in videos to swiftly capture viewers’ attention.
  • Keep videos concise, ideally lasting 15 seconds or less.

Ensure the prominent presentation of your message and brand

The first seconds of your ad are important in deciding whether a viewer will pause scrolling and view the entire content. Therefore, make sure to put your main message and brand at the beginning of your ad within the first 3 seconds. 

Incorporate sound for a delightful user experience

Many people watch social media without sound. So, it’s essential to create ads that make sense without sound. If your ad does have sound, it should be a pleasant surprise for those who have it turned on. Here’s how:

  • Use pictures and videos to share your story and main message without relying on sound.
  • Put captions on any spoken or scripted words in your ad.
  • Add text on the screen to convey your main message, even if the sound is off.

Use an active strategy: Present, Explore, Engage

Create a mix of different types of content that complement each other to capture attention and satisfy curiosity:

  • Present: Use brief content to quickly convey the campaign idea and grab attention.
  • Explore: Create content that encourages a bit of exploration and interaction for those who are interested.
  • Engage: Develop immersive content that lets people delve deeply into your campaign concept.

Diversify ad formats for maximum impact

There are lots of Instagram ad formats, so try different combinations of pictures and words to see what your audience likes best.

Also, be creative with your content. Try making meme ads, custom drawings, or GIFs to share your message. Your Instagram ads should match your brand’s look, but it’s okay to try new things to keep your audience interested.

Use analytics to understand how well you’re doing

To find out if your Instagram ads are doing well, use analytics. Instagram’s own reporting tool gives you information on important things like how many people saw your ad, how many clicked on it, how engaged people were, and the return on investment (ROI). 

You can also use other tools from outside Instagram to get more detailed information on your campaign performance. This way, you can make smart decisions based on data to make your future ad campaigns better.

Instagram ad formats

Instagram offers various ad formats to cater to different marketing goals and creative preferences.

  • Stories ads
  • Photo ads
  • Video ads
  • Shopping ads
  • Carousel ads
  • Collection ads
  • Explore ads
  • IGTV ads
  • Reels ads

Advantages of advertising on Instagram

instagram ads benefits


  • Grow your brand’s followers: Instagram ads can help more people find and follow your brand. When your posts get shared or go viral, lots of people can see them, which helps your Instagram account attract more followers.
  • Connect easily with followers: Since people often check social media, Instagram is a good way to talk with your followers. You can use different ads to tell them about new things your brand is doing.
  • Affordable advertising: Instagram ads might take a bit to learn, but they don’t cost much. It’s a good way to get a lot out of your marketing budget.
  • Target the right people: With smart targeting, you can aim your ads at specific groups of customers. This works well if you want to reach a particular audience interested in your product or service.

Instagram ads cost

On average, running Instagram ad campaigns can range from $6.7 to $7.9 per one thousand impressions (CPM) and $0.7 to $1 per click (CPC). It’s important to note that these averages may vary depending on the campaign objective.

Payment methods and how to add a payment method to your account

In Cambodia, you have the option to use MasterCard and Visa to pay for Instagram ads.

If you want to pay for boosted posts on Instagram, you can do so through the Instagram app by adding a payment method. Alternatively, you can link a Facebook Page to your Instagram professional account and use your ad account to pay for boosted Instagram posts.

To add a payment method, you might need to switch to an Instagram professional account and link it to a Facebook Page, of which you should be an admin. Here’s how you can add a payment method to your account:

  • Go to your profile and tap the three lines icon in the top right-hand corner.
  • Tap “Settings and privacy”
  • Tap “Business”
  • Tap “Ad payments”
  • Tap “Payment methods.” From this section, you can choose a payment method linked from Facebook.

Please note that if you update the primary payment method on your ad account, this change will apply to both Facebook and Instagram.

Final notes

In conclusion, mastering the art of running Instagram ads is important for businesses. The diverse range of ad formats, coupled with Instagram’s extensive user base, offers a unique opportunity to connect with potential customers in a visually compelling way.

As you embark on your Instagram ad journey, consider exploring the Instagram ads services offered by Influence, the leading marketing agency in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. With our expertise, we can be your trusted ally in crafting impactful campaigns on Instagram.

Head office: 1st Floor. KVBC Business Center, Keo Chenda St Phum 3, Sangkat Chroy Changvar, Khan Chroy Changvar, Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Hotline: (+855) 67 74 00 00

Email: [email protected]